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HRdialogue

Since well before he was a candidate, Donald Trump utilized the @realdonaldtrump Twitter account as a sword and a shield, a tool to taunt and to preen.

Having followed him into the White House, that private-citizen account has morphed into an official communications channel. He routinely announces personnel and policy decisions there. And he does it not only with his own two plump thumbs, but with aid of on-the-clock government staffers.

As such, the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals rightly ruled, Trump can’t willy-nilly block Twitter users who disagree with him.

When an individual is blocked, as one member of this Editorial Board is, he can’t even see the president’s tweets, short of going through frustrating workarounds. Nor can the blockee reply to the blocker.

When the originating account includes official pronouncements bearing on the future of the country, that adds up to an infringement on constitutional speech rights.

(We sympathize with politicians’ need to tune out truly awful trolls who engage in ad hominem attacks. That can be done through another Twitter tool, called muting, that doesn’t effectively stop those individuals from engaging.)

This isn’t just about Trump: No sooner did the decision come down than former Assemblyman Dov Hikind (hypocritically, as he blocked followers himself when in office) cited it in his own push to get Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to stop blocking him.

The rule fits in far less than 280 characters: If an official uses a Twitter account to do public business, everyone gets to see it.

-- New York Daily News

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