Actually AOC Shouldn’t Block Bigots Online, Free Speech Group Says

Photo: Patrick Semansky (AP)

A free speech rights group desperately wants Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to not block racists and bigots online. She should, in fact, allow them to spew their hate in order to support free speech under the First Amendment, according to a letter from the Knight First Amendment Institute sent to the freshman representative on Wednesday.

“We understand from news reports that you may be blocking some Twitter users from your @AOC account because of the views they have expressed. This practice is unconstitutional,” Jameel Jaffer, Katie Fallow, Alex Abdo, Carrie DeCell, and Jake Karr of the Institute wrote. “And we are writing in the hope of dissuading you from engaging in it.”

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The letter goes on to detail pending litigation about blocking on social media. (I hate that that every word in that sentence makes sense in this context.) Read the full letter here, via the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

In the letter, they offer to help Ocasio-Cortez develop a First Amendment-friendly social media policy. They also acknowledge the abuse experience by women and minorities online, of which she is both.

Still, Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t having it.

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“People are free to speak whatever classist, racist, false, misogynistic, bigoted comments they’d like,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Thursday evening. “They do not have the right to force others to endure their harassment and abuse.”

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