Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) does not like it when people criticize her, so she often blocks them on social media. But while the New York Post reports that AOC recently unblocked one critic — Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind — she still has others on lockdown, which is quite possibly illegal.
After Hikind sued her for attempting to silence him, and she issued a formal apology admitting that her actions were “wrong and improper” just in time to avoid testifying in a federal court. But even after that episode, several individuals have come forward and charged her with continuing to block them for their political views, the Post reports.
Legal or Illegal?
AOC believes that she can block whoever she wants on her personal Twitter account, but that may not be true. While she has an official congressional account, she rarely uses it.
Furthermore, AOC regularly pushes policy on her personal account, making it her de facto official account. This is not some random claim, either; other politicians have been in similar situations and taken to court only to find their personal accounts are no longer considered private and personal.
The biggest precedent would be that of Donald Trump, who blocked several trolls on his Twitter account and was taken to court over it. The court ruled that because he discussed so much policy on his personal account, he could not block anyone — even those with dissenting opinions who regularly trolled him.
If that same precedent holds true for AOC, she is stifling the First Amendment rights of her critics by blocking their accounts.
Who Is She Blocking?
While we do not have a complete list of those she is blocking, we do know a few of the names — and they are not your ordinary internet trolls.
For instance, Daily Wire reporter Ryan Saavedra was blocked after calling out AOC for using a fake accent during an appearance at the National Action Network.
Another individual blocked by AOC is Liz Wheeler, a reporter for the One America News Network (OANN). Wheeler called out AOC for some of her actions but she has also defended AOC on occasion.
Ocasio-Cortez has also blocked Rep. Niraj Antani, a conservative state lawmaker from Ohio. And these three individuals are not the only ones Ocasio-Cortez has conveniently scrubbed from her social media — Ocasio-Cortez herself admitted that she had blocked almost 20 accounts back in August.
Conservative news organization the Daily Caller was also blocked by AOC for ripping her on the “cow farts” aspect her infamous Green New Deal. Daily Caller editor-in-chief Geoffrey Ingersoll declared afterward: “I honestly don’t think that elected officials should be able to block people on Twitter if they’re going to use it to disseminate information.”
Ocasio-Cortez has conveniently remained silent about the accusations, hiding behind the claim that her personal account is not subject to the same rules as an “official” account. But she’ll have to wait and see if the courts agree.