Trump DOJ tried to force Twitter to unmask identity of Devin Nunes parody account

California congressman has filed nine lawsuits against online critics

Republican Devin Nunes lists off conspiracy theories in opening remarks of Trump impeachment hearing
Leer en Español

The Trump administration tried to force Twitter to unmask the user behind a parody account that mocked GOP congressman Devin Nunes.

Mr Trump’s Justice Department served the social media giant with a subpoena on 24 November 2020 demanding the name of the person behind the @NunesAlt account.

They also issued a gag order preventing the company from talking about the request, according to a newly unsealed court filing.

Mr Nunes was a vocal supporter of Mr Trump during his one term in the White House but was often a target of social media mockery.

A federal judge unsealed a motion from Twitter filed in March to quash the subpoena that was issued last November.

In the court filing Twitter had raised concerns that the federal government was helping Mr Nunes in his legal fights with his online critics.

Over the past two years Mr Nunes and his campaign committee have filed nine lawsuits against those critics, which include two other Twitter accounts, @DevinCow and @DevinNunesMom.

“It appears to Twitter that the Subpoena may be related to Congressman Devin Nunes’s repeated efforts to unmask individuals behind parody accounts critical of him,” the motion stated.

“His efforts to suppress critical speech are as well-publicized as they are unsuccessful.”

It is not clear if Twitter ever complied with the subpoena or if Joe Biden’s Justice Department ever worked on it.

In its court filing Twitter had argued that the subpoena violated the US Constitution’s First Amendment.

“Twitter is committed to protecting the freedom of expression for those who use our service,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.

“We have a strong track record and take seriously the trust placed in us to work to protect the private information of the people on Twitter.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in