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The gov't withdrew the summons requesting Twitter to unmask an anti-Trump account

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UPDATE April 7, 2:13 p.m.:

Twitter dropped the lawsuit it had filed against the U.S. government a day earlier after a Justice Department lawyer informed the social media company that it had withdrawn the summons, the Associated Press reported. It was not immediately clear why the government decided to drop the suit. Mark Flanagan, a lawyer for Twitter, wrote in court papers that a Justice Department lawyer informed the social media platform of the withdrawal of the summons saying it "no longer has any force or effect."

ORIGINAL STORY: President Trump's relationship with Twitter just became a bit more contentious. 

The social media company filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the U.S. government to obstruct the Trump administration's plans to reveal the identity behind an anti-Trump account, CNET reported. 

In the suit, Twitter claimed that a branch of the Department of Homeland Security invoked a "limited-purpose investigatory tool" in an effort to unmask the user(s) behind @ALT_uscis, an account that condemns the administration's management of US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The lawsuit brings the First Amendment into question.

On March 14, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection--another branch under DHS--issued a summons demanding that Twitter release records that would lead to the unmasking of the account's owners. The company claims that the order is unlawful.

"Permitting CBP to pierce the pseudonym of the @ALT_uscis account would have a grave chilling effect on the speech of that account in particular and on the many other 'alternative agency' accounts that have been created to voice dissent to government policies," Twitter wrote in its suit.


@ALT_uscis is one of multiple Twitter accounts that sprouted following the inauguration of the 45th president. Others include @AltUSNatParkService and @RogueNASA. Some of those behind the accounts claim to be government employees. Twitter argues that disclosing identities would lead to harassment and retaliation. 


Twitter also claimed that the government's order that summoned them to reveal the user(s) are typically used in cases in which the Customs Service believes something is suspicious with merchandise being imported.

"CBP's investigation of the @ALT_USCIS account plainly has nothing whatsoever to do with the importation of merchandise in the United States," Twitter said.

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