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US Drops Effort to Force Twitter to Reveal Anti-Trump Account

It was also not immediately known whether the government had closed an investigation it said it was conducting into the Twitter account.

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April 11, 2017: The U.S. government on Friday dropped its effort to force Twitter to identify users behind an account critical of President Donald Trump, the social media company said.

In response, Twitter said it was dropping a federal lawsuit against the U.S. government that challenged the request to unmask the users.

Twitter had sued just a day earlier, claiming the government overstepped its authority in issuing a summons to reveal the account owners.

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The lawsuit said that the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection had sought the identity of the users of Twitter handle @ALT-USCIS.

‘Alternative’ handles

The account describes itself as “immigration resistance.” Its creators told media outlets the account is run by current and former employees of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security.

It is one of several “alternative” handles purportedly created by current federal employees unhappy with the Trump administration.

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It was not immediately clear why the government withdrew its effort to identify the Twitter users. It was also not immediately known whether the government had closed an investigation it said it was conducting into the Twitter account.

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The American Civil Liberties Union praised the government’s decision to withdraw its request, saying in a tweet, “Big victory for free speech and the right to dissent.”  VOA

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U.S. Library of Congress will not collect every tweet on twitter

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FILE - The Twitter app is seen on a mobile phone in Philadelphia, April 26, 2017
U.S. Library of Congress will not collect every tweet on twitter. VOA

US, Dec 31, 2017: The U.S. Library of Congress says it will no longer collect every single tweet published on Twitter as it has been doing for the past 12 years.

The library said this week that it can no longer collect everything across the entire social media platform because of recent changes Twitter has made, including allowing longer tweets, photos and videos.

It said in a blog post this week that its first objective with collecting and archiving tweets was “to document the emergence of online social media for future generations.” The library says it has fulfilled that objective and no longer needs to be a “comprehensive” collector of tweets.

FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2013 file photo, the Library of Congress is seen in Washington.
FILE – In this Dec. 19, 2013 file photo, the Library of Congress is seen in Washington. VOA

The Library of Congress said it will still collect and archive tweets in the future, but will do so on a more selective basis. It said going forward “the tweets collected and archived will be thematic and event-based, including events such as elections, or themes of ongoing national interest, e.g. public policy.”

The library said it generally does not collect media comprehensively, but said it made an exception for public tweets when the social media platform was first developed.

The library said it will keep its previous archive of tweets from 2006-2017 to help people understand the rise of social media and to offer insight into the public mood during that time. “Throughout its history, the Library has seized opportunities to collect snapshots of unique moments in human history and preserve them for future generations,” it said.

“The Twitter Archive may prove to be one of this generation’s most significant legacies to future generations. Future generations will learn much about this rich period in our history, the information flows, and social and political forces that help define the current generation,” it said. (VOA)

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