NEW YORK—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced today that she has settled a lawsuit with a former Brooklyn lawmaker in which he challenged her for blocking him from her Twitter account, @AOC. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sent a letter to Ocasio-Cortez’s lawyers earlier this year, urging her to unblock any Twitter users who were blocked from the @AOC account because of the viewpoints they expressed.

The following can be attributed to Katie Fallow, Senior Staff Attorney, Knight First Amendment Institute.

“We applaud Rep. Ocasio-Cortez for recognizing that she was wrong to block critics from her Twitter account. As the courts have affirmed, when public officials use their social media accounts to carry out official duties, they create a public forum and can’t prevent people from participating simply because they don’t like what they are saying. We hope that other public officials who are blocking critics from their social media accounts take Ocasio-Cortez’s lead.”

The Knight Institute letter to Ocasio-Cortez can be found here.

In July, in a case brought by the Knight Institute, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that President Trump’s practice of blocking critics from his Twitter account violates the First Amendment. The Knight Institute filed the case on behalf of seven people who were blocked from the @realDonaldTrump account after they criticized the president and his policies. The government has petitioned for a rehearing by the full court. Read more about Knight Institute v. Trump here. 

For more information, contact: Lorraine Kenny, Knight First Amendment Institute, [email protected], 646-745-8510.