Less than 24 hours after suing the White House for ordering the unmasking of a specific user, Twitter pulled the lawsuit Friday and said the summons from the government had been withdrawn.
On Thursday, the social media website filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California stating that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had demanded on March 14 to know the identity of a Twitter account that was critical of President Donald Trump.
The account in question has the Twitter handle @ALT_USCIS and is operated by anonymous critics of Trump’s immigration and deportation policies. Describing itself as “immigration resistance” in its profile, the account claims to be an “alternative” to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS is a division of the DHS.
A day later, Twitter pulled the suit and said that the Trump administration had backed down. The company’s lawyer Mark Flanagan wrote in court papers that the summons “no longer has any force or effect”.
The lawsuit created a wave of anxiety from advocates of free speech. Some Trump critics worried that the @ALT_USCIS summons was the first volley in a war against criticism of the young administration.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) applauded the results of Twitter’s suit, calling the dropping of the summons a “big victory for free speech and right to dissent” in a statement Friday. (Anadolu Agency)