Ken Paxton Forced to Face Twitter Haters After Lawsuit
Turns out you don't get to pick and choose who follows you on social media when you're a political figure. Which makes sense, if your account deals in official matters of the government, your constituency should have the ability to access that information. Transparency makes democracy work.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is in a powerful position. In Texas, our constitution makes our AG arguably more powerful than our governor because they have abilities "like controlling the flow of legislation and the appointments of House and Senate members to legislative committees." If Ken Paxton is the highest law in the land, it's only appropriate that he is subject to criticism on social platforms, the method whereby many modern political figures make announcements to the public.
The lawsuit brought forth by nine Twitter users alleged that Ken Paxton blocked them based on their opinions of his policy:
The users blocked by Paxton included college students, a journalist, a U.S. Army veteran and the leader of a progressive political group. All said in a lawsuit filed last month that Paxton denied them access to his tweets after they criticized his policies.
If these Twitter members had been abusive or inappropriate, Twitter would have likely dealt with them because those acts are violations of their terms of service. But not being able or willing to deal with the opposition is not a good reason to block someone from seeing your tweets.
Ken Paxton isn't the first, or most famous, politician to be legally forced to unblock Twitter users:
A federal appeals court ruled in 2019 that former President Donald Trump's tweets were overwhelmingly official in nature and that he violated the First Amendment whenever he blocked a critic to silence a viewpoint.
As an individual, the ability to block people from your socials is a great tool for minimizing the stress and drama of using those platforms. But when you are in a position of power in the government and use those social to communicate, it's important to keep that information open, even to the haters.
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