King reacts to ACLU's proposed lawsuit
NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union sent Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) a letter, last month, calling for his office to unblock dozens of social media users who were banned from commenting on his Facebook page.
The letter, which is dated Apr. 24, 2019, contained comments from several of the 70 plus constituents who the ACLU says were blocked for posting critical comments on King’s social media page. The letter also stated that the ACLU would sue the congressman if these users remained blocked.
Rep. King’s office has since created a new, official Facebook page, “Congressman Pete King”, that will not block users based on their comments. The NYCLU issued the following statement from Executive Director Donna Lieberman in response to the recent announcement.
“The Supreme Court recognizes that social media platforms are perhaps the most powerful platforms available to private citizens in making their voice heard. Regardless of their views, constituents have a right to engage in public discourse, and all official government social media pages as public forums.
“While we are pleased with Rep. King’s decision to create an official Facebook page that does not block anyone, we know that this is not an issue specific to the Congressman. Many elected officials have followed in the footsteps of President Trump dissenting views expressed on Twitter and other social media platforms.
“Their actions not only infringe upon constituents’ First Amendment protection but also completely disregard the principles that our country was founded on. All government officials allow people to share their view uncensored on government social media platforms without being silenced.”
King previously told this publication in the article “ACLU threatens lawsuit against King”, (published on May 2, 2019) that he was on “strong legal ground” when it came to blocking users who criticized him on Facebook. He reserved the right to do so because his original Facebook page is used for campaign purposes. “I don’t care what [critics] have to say about me, but I shouldn’t have to pay for it,” King said, adding that no one is blocked from his Twitter account, which is used for political office.
King’s team, according to the ACLU, will continue using his original Facebook page, “Pete King for Congress”, but only for campaign purposes.
“I am pleased to announce the launch of my government Facebook page”, King wrote on Sunday, May 21. “There, you can stay informed on my government activities and let me know your view on the important issues that face our nation and our community.”
The longtime congressman has also reportedly stated that creating a new page was the “easiest way” to resolve the issue.
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