First Amendment Coalition obtains Gov. Jerry Brown’s Twitter, Facebook block list

After more than three months of delay, the threat of a lawsuit under the California Public Records Act prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to finally release the list of users that have been blocked from his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The First Amendment Coalition declared that Twitter and Facebook are the town square of the 21st century, and that blocking an individual from engaging in discourse with a public official violates First Amendment rights. FAC said it sought Brown’s block lists to ascertain whether the governor was engaging in widespread blocking, and to understand the scope and nature of such blocking.

FAC relied on the recent state Supreme Court decision in City of San Jose v. Smith which said that public business is disclosable, even if it is done on private devices or private accounts, if it deals with the public’s business. Attorney Karl Olson, who represented CNPA in the Smith case as amicus counsel, represented FAC on this request.

While FAC ultimately accessed the records sought, the three-month delay in production is just one of many examples of agencies failing to “promptly” disclose records. CNPA is engaged in an ongoing effort to collect information about delays and obstruction to access, and to identify ways to address this problem. If you have a request that is wrongly denied, or access is significantly delayed, email CNPA legal counsel Nikki Moore with your information.