Judge to Donald Trump: 'Mute, not block, Twitter followers

The masthead of US President Donald Trump's Twitter account as

Manhattan federal Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald on Thursday suggested a settlement as the preferred outcome after listening to lawyers argue whether it's constitutional for Trump to block his critics.

Seven people from around the country - including a comedian, a professor, a policeman and a singer - joined together in a lawsuit after Trump blocked them from seeing and commenting on his tweets.

"Isn't the answer he just mutes the person he finds personally offensive?" she asked. Both sides, though, indicated initial enthusiasm for the suggestion that the president mute, not block, certain users.

Katie Fallow, a lawyer for Knight, said that while muting was not a "perfect solution", it would be far less restrictive than blocking.

"It's not a flawless solution, but certainly, it is a pretty good one", said Katherine Fallow, a Knight institute lawyer.

Michael Baer, a Justice Department lawyer defending Trump's control over his account, compared the blocking to a politician, during a political convention, being free to walk away from a protestor rather than being forced to listen to them.

Ever since Trump assumed the presidency, there have been legal questions around whether it is OK for him to block users from viewing his Twitter account.

A federal judge in NY on Thursday pondered one of the most vexing dilemmas for any prolific Twitter user: why block a troll when the mute button could do?

Donald Trump is not the first United States president to use Twitter, but his rate of activity, personal voice, and controversial statements on the social media platform will all help define his legacy after he leaves office. "At the same time, the government plainly has no legitimate interest in protecting the president from criticism". In old-fashioned postal delivery terms: Blocking is when the post office returns a letter with a "delivery refused" notice; muting is when they just quietly toss it in the trash without saying a word to you. These people can be satisfied as long as they can send their messages to Trump, even though he'll never see them or read them or even remotely care about them.

"I think that would be a great solution for me", Pappas said.

The judge, however, has refused to announce her decision yet, urging both sides to settle the issue outside of court.

The government says the president can choose who he interacts with on Twitter.

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