Pols Unblocking Twitter Users After Trump Ruling

London Breed and Gavin Newsom have unblocked some of their least favorite Twitter critics since a court ruled Trump’s blocks are unconstitutional.

Image: SF Board of Supervisors, Office of the Lieutenant Governor of California

Some local ramifications to last week’s federal ruling that President Trump is violating the First Amendment by blocking people on Twitter, as a couple of San Francisco’s best-known politicians have unblocked some previously blocked Twitter accounts. Mayoral candidate and District 5 Sup. London Breed‘s office tells SF Weekly she no longer blocks anyone on Twitter, and we’ve confirmed multiple unblocks on her account. We’ve also discovered some unblocking on the Twitter account of Lieutenant Governor, former mayor, and gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom in the eight days since the federal judge’s decision.

 

In addition to the above report that the SF League of Pissed Off Voters Twitter account was “magically unblocked” by Newsom, SF Weekly surveyed a handful of users who’d been blocked by Sup. Breed. The majority — but not all — report similar magical unblocking from Breed’s sometimes notorious Twitter feed.

A spokesperson for Breed tells SF Weekly that the mayoral candidate no longer blocks anyone. “Board President Breed does not have anyone blocked on her Twitter,” a staff spokesperson told us today. “She has unblocked people from time to time; the most recent occasion happened to be several days before the court ruling came down on May 23.”

Several Twitter users confirm this is the case. “She still blocked me the week before the Trump Twitter court case came down. The day after the decision I noticed I wasn’t blocked for the first time since I tweeted this while covering a protest,” said one previously Breed-blocked Twitter user.

“How funny, I guess London decided to unblock all of us who she wants to vote for her,” another blocked Twitter user responded.

A Jan. 2016 public records request from the blog Govt Access Project found Sup. Breed had blocked 20 accounts at that time. Among her blocks was alt-right hate grifter Milo Yiannopoulos, and we absolutely respect the supervisor’s call on that one.  

Longtime local activist and gadfly Michael Petrelis, who operates the Govt Access Project blog, insists to SF Weekly via email that he’s still blocked from Sup. Breed’s Twitter interactions. Petrelis has had a long-running Sunshine Ordinance public records request dispute with Breed’s office over requests for the supervisor’s Twitter block lists.

Mission Local reported last month that the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force asked the District Attorney to intervene on these block list requests. But the Task Force tells SF Weekly that complaint “was concluded,” making it unlikely the D.A. will get involved.

Breed has had a noteworthy history on Twitter, even deleting her account in 2013 after tweeting out some amusing gems like “if you pay my salary, I want a raise to listen to your bullshit” and “stay off my personal Twitter where I refuse to be professional.” She revived her account in 2015, though it’s been a far more subdued and professional feed ever since.

We’ll see if that stands now that some of her more critical users have been unblocked. If you’ve been blocked on Twitter by any local elected officials, we’d love to hear more about it in the Comments section.

UPDATE: This post has been updated with comment from Sup. Breed’s office.

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