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Twitter drops lawsuit against U.S. after government ceases probe of Trump critic

Twitter Inc. on April 7 dropped its lawsuit challenging the U.S. government's efforts to identify who was behind an account criticizing the administration of President Donald Trump, according to a court filing.

The company's decision came after lawyers for the Justice Department contacted Twitter, saying that U.S. Customs and Border Protection had withdrawn the summons seeking information from Twitter about the account holders behind the @ALT_USCIS account.

On April 6, Twitter filed suit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, CBP and several officials in what it said was an effort to stop the government from attempting to "unmask" the identity of the users behind the account.

The account holders purported to be employees of the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security and had criticized the U.S. government. The company had argued that efforts to identify the account holders of one of a series of "alternative agency" accounts on the site that said they were run by employees of government agencies would infringe on the free speech rights of the account holders and Twitter itself.

In a tweet noting Twitter had dropped the suit, @ALT_USCIS thanked Twitter and the American Civil Liberties Union, which had promised its own court challenge, "for standing up for the right of free anonymous speech."