But Twitter said that demand had been withdrawn after it filed a lawsuit.
The original summons from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency demanded “all records regarding the twitter account @ALT_USCIS to include, user names, account login, phone numbers, mailing addresses, and IP (computer) addresses”.
But the law cited by the agency – which is part of the Department of Homeland Security – is typically used to obtain records about imported goods.
Twitter went to court in San Francisco to block the move, saying the CBP was “abusing a limited-purpose investigatory tool” and stifling freedom of speech.
The micro-blogging service was backed by the American Civil Liberties union (ACLU), which said it would join the court battle.
“We want to thank @twitter and @aclu for standing up for the right of free anonymous speech,” the @ALT_USCIS account tweeted. “Thank you resistance for standing up for us.”
Many claimed to be controlled by current of former staff members.
Twitter said this is “a new and innovative class of American speakers” who need anonymity because they could face retaliation or lose their jobs.
“Permitting the CBP to pierce the pseudonym of the @ALT _UCCIS account would have a grave chilling effect on the speech of that account in particular and on the many other ‘alternative agency’ accounts that have been created to voice dissent to government policies”, it said.
The “alternative” departments sprung up on Twitter following the gagging of the official National Parks Service Twitter account.