- The Washington Times - Monday, November 4, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez settled a lawsuit brought by a former Brooklyn lawmaker after blocking him from her Twitter account where she has nearly six million followers, according to multiple reports.

Dov Hikind, a former state Assemblyman, criticized the millennial socialist after she compared migrant detention centers to concentration camps. As a result, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez blocked him on Twitter.

He filed a lawsuit in July claiming she violated his First Amendment rights.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez issued an apology in accordance with the settlement, testifying in court last week, according to the New York Post.

“I have reconsidered my decision to block Dov Hikind from my Twitter account,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said. “Mr. Hikind has a First Amendment right to express his views and should not be blocked for them.”

“In retrospect, it was wrong and improper and does not reflect the values I cherish. I sincerely apologize for blocking Mr. Hikind,” her statement said, according to the Post. “Now and in the future, however, I reserve the right to block users who engage in actual harassment or exploit my personal/campaign account, @AOC, for commercial or other improper purposes.”

Earlier this year, a federal appeals court ruled President Trump’s practice of blocking people on Twitter violated the First Amendment. The president’s lawyers have petitioned to have his case reconsidered by the full appeals court.

Katie Fallow, an attorney with the Knight First Amendment Institute, which brought the action against Mr. Trump, said public officials create a public forum when they use social media accounts for work.

“We applaud Rep. Ocasio-Cortez for recognizing that she was wrong to block critics from her Twitter account,” Ms. Fallow said. “We hope that other public officials who are blocking critics from their social media accounts take Ocasio-Cortez’s lead.”

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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