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See you in court

Twitter suing the government over order to reveal user behind anti-Trump account

In response to a summons sent to Twitter by the Department of Homeland Security that demanded the company disclose the identity of the user behind the anti-President Trump @ALT_USCIS account, Twitter filed a lawsuit against the agency, saying the request violates the user's free speech.

"Alternative" accounts started popping up right after Trump's inauguration, when the National Park Service re-tweeted an image that showed the much larger crowd at President Obama's first inauguration compared to Trump's. Trump was reportedly angry about the tweet, and the park service apologized. This led users who claimed to be either current or former federal employees to launch accounts like @ALT_USCIS and @alt_labor, which tweet their often critical opinions on Trump's policies and actions, with @ALT_USCIS often condemning Trump's stance on immigration.

On March 14, Twitter received a faxed summons from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent, who used a customs statute for the examination of books and witnesses to demand the company reveal the identity of the person behind @ALT_USCIS, Bloomberg reports. The letter threatened Twitter with legal action if they did not comply. Twitter says users can remain anonymous unless they violate the law, and the government did not show any evidence that this user committed a crime that would warrant the release of their personal information.