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President Donald Trump is not allowed to block people on Twitter. The landmark ruling was decided by judges in New York. The judges said that people in government are not allowed to silence people who disagree with them. They said that social media such as Twitter is the same as talking in public.

The case was brought by seven people who had been blocked by President Trump. The judge said that blocking people online is against the First Amendment. The First Amendment says that people in America have free speech so they can say anything without being punished. President Trump’s lawyers said that his Twitter account is personal and should not have to follow the same rules. However, the judges disagreed.

The decision has created a new conversation about whether social media is the same as talking in person. Many of the rules that we have today were created long before social media and the internet were imagined. As technology has progressed, laws have had to be changed to match the world we live in now.

Difficult words

Block (v): Not accept or stop the movement.

Landmark (n): An important moment in history.

Disagree (v): To think oppositely as someone else.

Public (adj/n): Including most regular people.

Imagined (v): To think about possibilities.

Progressed (v): For something to advance, grow or get better,

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English:

American English: 

Match the Synonym!

 1. Block A. Important event
 2. Landmark B. Think
 3.  Public C. Grow
 4. Imagine D. Stop
 5. Progressed E. People

True or False?

1. President Donald Trump can no longer block people on Twitter.   T / F

2. Judges in California said it is not allowed. T / F

3. Ten people have complained about being blocked by President Trump.  T / F

4. The First Amendment allows people to say what they want without punishment. T / F

5. Laws need to change with growing technology. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. by / judges / landmark / was / New York / decided / ruling / in / The

2. people / seven / by / case / The / was / brought

3. that / free / have / speech / people / The First Amendment / America / says / in

4. judges / However, / disagreed / the

5. decision / has / The / created / a / new / conversation

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English:

American English: 

Allowed Punished Internet
Account Silence Blocked

President Donald Trump is not (1)____________ to block people on Twitter. The landmark ruling was decided by judges in New York. The judges said that people in government are not allowed to (2)___________ people who disagree with them. They said that social media such as Twitter is the same as talking in public.

The case was brought by seven people who had been (3)___________ by President Trump. The judge said that blocking people online is against the First Amendment. The First Amendment says that people in America have free speech so they can say anything without being (4)___________. President Trump’s lawyers said that his Twitter (5)____________ is personal and should not have to follow the same rules. However, the judges disagreed.

The decision has created a new conversation about whether social media is the same as talking in person. Many of the rules that we have today were created long before social media and the (6)_____________ were imagined. As technology has progressed, laws have had to be changed to match the world we live in now.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Is talking on social media the same as in real life?
5. Should government officials be allowed to block people online?
6. Can laws created 200 years ago apply to life today?
7. How can governments and laws catch up with technology?
8. Are there free speech rules in your country?
9. To what extent should free speech be allowed?
10. Does your country have a constitution?
11. Are government officials held to account in your country?
12. Is there freedom of the press in your country? If so, has it ever been threatened?
13. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is part of a new generation of politicians in the US. Is it important for young people to be involved in politics?
14. Are young people involved in politics in your country?
15. How does freedom of speech improve a country?
16. Should age affect freedom of speech?
17. Are there situations where you watch what you say?
18. What other rights should people have?
19. Is it right for governments to censor the internet?
20. What questions would you like to ask the judges who decided this case?