23:24 GMT +321 January 2019
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    In this Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, file photo, a woman holds up her cell phone before a rally with then presidential candidate Donald Trump in Bedford, N.H.

    US Justice Department: Trump Shouldn't Be Ordered to Unblock Twitter Users

    © AP Photo / John Locher, File
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    The US Justice Department announced Wednesday that it disagreed with a judge's ruling that the president must unblock users he has blocked from seeing his feed.

    A New York federal judge had ruled earlier in the day that President Donald Trump was violating the free speech rights of Twitter users in blocking them from seeing his feed. Shortly later, the DOJ said in a statement that "We respectfully disagree with the court's decision and are considering our next steps."

    US District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald didn't order Trump to unblock users, saying she didn't want to enter the "legal thicket" of using court powers to control the president's actions. She instead said she expected Trump or his social media director to make the changes, given her ruling. 

    The suit against the tweeting president had been filed in July by the Knight First Amendment Institute of Columbia University and a handful of Twitter users. The president tweets prolifically, using the platform as he did throughout his campaign to speak directly to the American people — often to the chagrin of his lawyers and advisers. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit claimed that by being shut out of such discussions in a public forum, their First Amendment Rights were being violated. 

    Among those rumored to be blocked by Trump are comedian Rosie O'Donnell, with whom Trump carried out a scathing feud in years past, as well as writers Stephen King and Anne Rice, Yahoo reports. 

    Twitter has not commented on the ruling. 


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