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Statement on Lindke v. Freed Amicus Brief

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — July 6, 2023 — Washington, DC

Can government agencies and officials block people on social media whose views they don’t like? Woodhull Freedom Foundation says No! Joining Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University in a brief filed June 30th, Woodhull asked the Supreme Court to protect the First Amendment rights of people to access and comment on the communications elected officials post on social media.

The Supreme Court brief filed with our partners argues that to determine whether an official’s use of social media is state action subject to the First Amendment, courts must employ a functional test that looks at how an account is actually used. If the postings on a personal account include government business, then the right to “block” is forfeited, and the First Amendment obligations for governmental purposes must be applied.

“Social media has become an essential part of modern civic engagement,” said EFF Civil Liberties Director David Greene. “Public officials and agencies use social media for a wide variety of governmental functions, including providing the public with critical public safety information. Our First Amendment rights to get this information and to interact with our public officials shouldn’t be so easily negated by our officials using preexisting ‘personal’ accounts rather than accounts specific to the public office.”

Failure to protect the right to respond to and express opinions of government offices and officials would, further, be a human rights violation. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to see, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

“Woodhull is proud to join EFF and the Knight First Amendment Institute in presenting these important arguments to the Court, as viewpoint discrimination by government officials often impacts those expressing non-conforming positions on matters involving sexual freedom,” Ricci Levy, Woodhull Freedom Foundation President & CEO said.

As noted by the EFF, “The Supreme Court should clear up once and for all the question of whether elected officials using social media in furtherance of their official duties can sidestep their First Amendment obligations because they’re using a nominally “personal” or preexisting campaign account. The answer is no.”


About Woodhull:

Established in February 2003, The Woodhull Freedom Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization devoted to education and public advocacy supporting sexual freedom as a fundamental human right. Our work builds on the affirmations of individual rights contained in the United States Constitution, including the Bill of Rights and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Media Contact

Ricci Levy
President & CEO
[email protected]

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