Over the course of 2019, there’s been controversy over the idea of elected officials blocking various users on social media, namely Twitter. Some people have made the case that anyone with a social media account reserves the right to block individuals as they please; others have made the case that elected officials have a duty not to block anyone on Twitter, due to their inherent influence as a politician.
While this matter has largely involved President Trump, now House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is at the center of attention. According to reports from Fox News, The Knight First Amendment Institute is asking the congresswoman to refrain from blocking people on her @AOC Twitter account. The institute furthermore maintains that Ocasio-Cortez’s account is a “public forum.”
A Review of AOC and Twitter Blocking
Since her time as a congresswoman, Ocasio-Cortez has had about two lawsuits against her for blocking individuals on Twitter. Apparently, however, The Knight Institute maintains that she doesn’t have the right to do this; the group took a similar stance with President Trump when the issue of him blocking certain accounts came up. Although, now that Ocasio-Cortez is the one under fire, she has a problem with what’s being said.
An excerpt from The Knight Institute’s statements to the congresswoman reads as follows:
“You use the account as an extension of your office to share information about congressional hearings, to explain policy proposals, to advocate legislation, and to solicit public comment about issues relating to government. The @AOC account is important to you as a legislator, to your constituents, and to others who seek to understand and influence your legislative decisions and priorities.”
Ocasio-Cortez then took to Twitter claiming that she has only blocked people for “harassing” her on social media:
To Block or Not to Block
It’s interesting that Ocasio-Cortez believes she should be able to block people on Twitter, now that she’s the one facing heat from The Knight Institute. When the president faced a similar situation, people on the left had no issue saying that Trump shouldn’t be allowed to block abusive accounts, although this is a privilege which Ocasio-Cortez believes she should have.
This can’t go both ways. Either elected officials are allowed to block accounts which they deem as harassment, or they simply have to suck it up. There can’t be one set of rules for the president on this matter and then a completely different set of rules for politicians like Ocasio-Cortez. It seems as though the decision has been made, at least for now.
What do you think about elected officials blocking people on social media? Sound off in the comments section below!