Twitter has dropped a lawsuit against the US government after the administration withdrew its demand for user data of an account critical of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. “Because the summons are now withdrawn, Twitter voluntarily dismisses without prejudice all claims against Defendants in the above-captioned matter,” the company said in a court filing on Friday. Twitter filed the suit on Thursday with a US district court in San Francisco, Efe news reported. The summons, issued on March 14 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), sought to force the social media giant to reveal the identity of the person or persons using the anonymous account @ALT_USCIS.
The account features criticism of Trump administration policy from a purported current employee of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (Uscis), an agency within DHS. Besides attacking immigration measures, the account highlighted waste and mismanagement in Uscis and in DHS as a whole.
@ALT_USCIS is one of a number of “alt-gov” accounts to arise since Trump’s January 20 inauguration and the new administration’s clampdown on career government employees’ use of agencies’ official social media accounts. Such accounts have been established by dissidents at the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service, among other elements of the government.
In the now-withdrawn suit, lawyers for the company said that the government could not compel Twitter to turn over the information unless several conditions were met. This included “demonstrating that some criminal or civil offence has been committed.” Absent evidence of wrongdoing, the summons could be seen as “motivated by a desire to suppress free speech,” Twitter said.