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.
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