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Blocking Twitter critics: Trump finds a friend in Chinese media

By Shubham

A day after a federal judge in the US ruled that US President cannot block users on his Twitter feed, China's Global Times said in an op-ed that the laws of the United States proved to be backward about regulating online speech.

Blocking Twitter critics: Trump finds a friend in Chinese media

The judge, Naomi Reice Buchwald, said in her ruling that Trump violated the American Constitution by barring certain Americans from viewing his tweets posted under the handle @realDonaldTrump. She did not buy the Justice Department's argument that Trump had the right to block Twitter followers because of his "associational freedoms", CNBC reported.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed in July 2017 by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and some other complainants who Trump blocked on Twitter.

The Global Times piece said online freedom has caused much controversy in the US. It cited the example of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who recently faced the UC Congress over the data theft scandal where he was accused of not protecting the privacy of his platform's users.

"Despite Zuckerberg's efforts to develop Facebook into a neutral platform for all voices, the magnate has repeatedly run into legal troubles for lax regulation of racist speech, online bullying and promotion of counterfeit goods," the op-ed said.

It said America's legal system focuses more on real problems like anybody shouting racist remarks of making malicious personal abuse at President Trump would be stopped by the police but when it comes to the virtual world, "people seem to savour the "paradise of freedom", making any remarks they wish," it said taking an indirect dig at the world's oldest democracy.

It also backed Trump saying even if he did something illegal by blocking the Twitter users, the ruling did not look convincing and felt Trump had a strong chance of winning the appeal against the ruling.

"Freedom of speech has its boundaries. Hate speech and other inflammatory comments with an intention to split society and create unrest must be put under effective control. How to regulate online speech is a challenge for many countries. Although social media platforms have unveiled policies to address the threat of violence with some starting to bar controversial voices, the current regulations and laws have failed to strike a balance between freedom of speech and the need to prevent online remarks from exerting negative effects on society," the Global Times piece said.

China is known to be one of the least tolerant countries for online freedom.

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