Twitter Withdraws Lawsuit After U.S. Government Drops Demand to Reveal Anti-Trump User’s Identity

DHS had demanded the company unmask @ALT_uscis account

Twitter filed the lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday. - Credit by Illustration: Dianna McDougall
Headshot of Marty Swant

Twitter has voluntarily ended its legal battle with the U.S. government, potentially marking a win in the company’s fight to protect free speech and user privacy.

Today, the company withdrew a lawsuit it filed Thursday in federal court against the Department of Homeland Security after the agency dropped a demand that it reveal the identity of an outspoken user who’s been critical of President Trump. The lawsuit came in response to DHS threatening legal action against Twitter if it didn’t unmask the anti-Trump account, including the user’s real name, phone number, mailing address and IP address.

In Twitter’s latest court documents, the company said U.S. Customs and Border Protection withdrew a summons it sent Twitter asking for information about the user @ALT_uscis. The account is purportedly run by one or more government employees working on immigration issues and is one of many “rogue” agency accounts that have been critical of the Trump administration since it took office in January.

Twitter declined to comment on the lawsuit. However, in its court documents filed Thursday, the company asked the court to block the government’s demands, asserting that the request was  unenforceable.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has been representing people associated with the account, tweeted on Friday afternoon celebrating the news.

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.
Publish date: April 7, 2017 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT