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Public Records Reveal Who Politicians Block on Twitter 

Wednesday, Sep 2 2015

Usually, public officials are chastised for looking at porn at work, not for blocking it.

But thanks to Angela Greben's crusade to get California public officials to "unblock" Twitter accounts, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and District Attorney George Gascón find themselves under unusual scrutiny.

A self-described "1st Amendment fan" with 462 Twitter followers at press time, Greben files public records requests to expose "unlawful Twitter blocking by public officials," including Herrera and Gascón.

Most of the accounts Gascón has blocked sound like @KJHobss1985, who tweeted, "To all illegal alien felons, please proceed directly to San Francisco! Ask for George Gascon!"

Gascón also "mistakenly" blocked Examiner reporter @jonahowenlamb and Chronicle columnist @debrajsaunders.

Herrera's office, meanwhile, blocked mostly porn accounts, including @imabottom, @sexyeyes34dd, @REALTHICKANSEXY, @nakednewz, and @ClassyLingerie.

"This is not how democracy is supposed to work," Greben wrote on her blog. And while blocking risqué Twitter accounts isn't democracy under attack, the block lists produced an interesting outcome.

After Greben's request, the City Attorney's office sid that it recognizes work-related social media accounts and private messages from those accounts as subject to government public records requests.

That's new.

Journalists and citizens play a game of cat-and-mouse in uncovering politicians' secrets. When work emails fell under public record laws, officials moved their communications to private emails and text messages. As those become accessible, social media may be the new frontier of communication in the shadows.

Greben might've scored one for democracy after all.

About The Author

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez


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