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When Allan Fung blocked her on Twitter, she filed an APRA request



On September 14 Lindsay Crudele, a resident of Dorchester Massachusetts, discovered that she had been blocked on Twitter by the Republican candidate for Governor of Rhode Island, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.

Crudele is a professional digital strategist with extensive experience developing digital engagement programs for government, and is familiar with mayoral practice, policy and standards on Twitter. She was born in Cranston and her family still lives there.

Crudele writes:

“As my mom struggles with multiple sclerosis (MS), I closely follow local politics, as my family’s well-being is at stake. When Mayor Fung announced his run for governor, I followed closely, knowing policy reach expands at a state level. My parents are not active on social media, but I am, and I asked Mayor Fung on a number of occasions to clarify his policy (via Twitter), especially as it pertains to health care, and especially as he has appeared at my mother’s local MS events.

“MS, of course, is on a list of preexisting conditions targeted by the Trump administration, and support of the administration is one of the few stances Mayor Fung has publicly taken. He ignored every attempt, and today, I discovered I have been blocked.”

As Fung’s account is used for both official government business and campaign communications, Crudele has filed a public record request for Mayor Fung’s block list.

On March 23 a Federal Judge in New York ruled that when President Donald Trump “blocked seven plaintiffs from viewing and replying to his posts, he violated the First Amendment.”

Can we please ask a favor?

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“Elected officials who block citizens from access to government feeds pose a risk to constituents: for instance,” says Crudele. “What if I were unable to access crisis information for my senior parents – because Mayor Fung disagrees with my political views? As the founder and former director of the City of Boston’s social media program, I take this risk very seriously. As I’ve noted below, a Federal court recently ruled that Mayor Fung’s online behavior is a violation of the First Amendment.”

UpriseRI is awaiting comment from Fung’s campaign press secretary, Andrew Augustus.

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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading.