Trump administration revokes demand that Twitter unmask critic's account

A sign at Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco, California.

Twitter said in a court filing Friday, one day after it filed the case, that the USA had withdrawn its summons to learn the identity of one of the so-called ALT handles purported to be the work of current and former federal employees who have slammed Trump's policies.

In a court filing, Twitter sought the dismissal of the lawsuit it had filed just a day earlier that claimed the government had overstepped its authority in seeking to unmask the account owner.

The account in question is purportedly run by one or more current employees of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a unit within Homeland Security. Most - if not all - of these accounts clearly aren't associated with actual federal employees, but that doesn't mean that the Trump administration can force Twitter to reveal their true identities.

The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the immigration agency and was named as a defendant in Twitter's lawsuit, didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Be Civil - It's OK to have a difference in opinion but there's no need to be a jerk. Bhandari represents the unidentified person or people behind the Twitter account. After that act of resistance was shut down, a number of "alternative" accounts - for national parks and all kinds of other government agencies - sprang up.

Twitter's filing said the summons requesting the name or names of the account holder had been withdrawn.

She said she hoped the swift withdrawal would deter other federal agencies that might target users of similar "alt" accounts. After the government reportedly failed to provide such justification and refused to drop the demand, the San Francisco company launched a preemptive strike Thursday by suing the Trump administration. It must prove that a criminal or civil offense has been committed, that it's not asking for information with the intent of suppressing free speech, and that the interests of the investigation outweigh the First Amendment rights of Twitter and its users, Twitter said.

  • Leroy Wright