Trump Administration Revokes Demand That Twitter Unmask Critic’s Account

(Los Angeles Times/TNS) -

The Trump administration Friday rescinded a demand that Twitter share information about a user who has criticized the president, the social-media company said in a court filing.

Twitter received an administrative order to turn over records nearly a month ago, but said it refused to do so without evidence that the information was crucial to a criminal investigation. After the government reportedly did not to provide such justification and refused to drop the demand, the San Francisco company Thursday sued the administration. Twitter sought a court ruling that the demand was unconstitutional.

That won’t be necessary now, the company said. Free-speech advocates claimed victory. And the targeted user — @ALT — USCIS — thanked Twitter and attorneys at the American Civil Liberties Union for “standing up for the right of free anonymous speech.”

The user, claiming to be a rogue member of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has condemned President Donald Trump’s introduction of travel and migrant bans. It’s among several accounts that appeared in January purporting to be dissident federal staffers after the administration eliminated critical posts from official government Twitter pages. None of the authors appears to have provided evidence that they are government staffers.

Twitter declined to comment on legal maneuvers, including why it took the unusual step of going to court before facing a lawsuit from the government.