US government gives up forcing Twitter to hand over users' info

  • 08/04/2017
ALT Immigration Twitter account
The account has 155,000 followers (Newshub.)

Twitter has dropped a lawsuit it filed against the US government, saying the government has withdrawn a summons for records about who is behind an account critical of President Donald Trump.

A lawyer for the social media company, Mark Flanagan, wrote in court papers that a US Justice Department lawyer told Twitter about the withdrawal of the summons on Friday and that the demand "no longer has any force or effect".

It was not immediately clear why the government had withdrawn the summons. A representative for the Justice Department could not immediately be reached.

Twitter cited freedom of speech as a basis for not turning over records about the account, @ALT_uscis.

The people behind the account have not disclosed their identities, but the use of "ALT" with a government agency acronym has led many to assume government employees are behind such tweets.

ALT Immigration Twitter
The account has tweeted more than 8000 times (Newshub.)

The lawsuit on Thursday said the account "claims to be" the work of at least one federal immigration employee.

The acronym US CIS refers to US Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the account describes itself as "immigration resistance".

Trump has vowed to build a wall along the US border with Mexico and has promised to deport millions of illegal immigrants.

Following Trump's inauguration in January, anonymous Twitter feeds that borrowed the names and logos of more than a dozen US government agencies appeared to challenge the president's views on climate change and other issues. They called themselves "alt" accounts.

A Twitter spokesman declined to comment beyond the court papers.