Twitter on Friday withdrew a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after government officials withdrew a summons seeking to identify an anonymous user. File Photo courtesy Twitter Inc./Aaron Durand
April 7 (UPI) -- Twitter on Friday withdrew its lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after the agency abandoned efforts to identify a user who's been highly critical of the government.
The social media company pulled its suit in U.S. District Court in California a day after it was filed. Twitter pursued the legal action claiming federal authorities were trying to pressure it to identify the user behind the account @ALT_USCIS.
Twitter said agents with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol had made attempts to unmask the anonymous user, who has claimed in posts to be an employee of the federal government. In recent months, @ALT-USCIS has made a number of posts critical of Trump's administration and U.S. immigration officials.
Thursday, the lawsuit said the federal officials had issued a summons ordering the user's identity and threatened to take Twitter to court if it failed to comply.
"Because the summons has now been withdrawn, Twitter voluntarily dismissed without prejudice all claims against defendant," the company said in its court filing Friday.
Dismissal of a case or legal complaint "without prejudice" means it can be re-filed at a later date, meaning Twitter can again raise its objection in federal court if a similar clash emerges in the future.
"Trump administration backs down from unconstitutional push to unmask @ALT_uscis. Big victory for free speech and right to dissent," the American Civil Liberties Union, which had been ready to join the legal fight, tweeted.
"We want to thank Twitter and ACLU for standing up for the right of free anonymous speech. Thank you resistance for standing up for us," the ALT-USCIS account tweeted Friday afternoon.
Twitter, which has long been an advocate of Internet privacy, refused the government's request to identify the user, who posted an image of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution after the suit was filed Thursday.