A federal judge issued an injunction Tuesday ruling that the Biden administration likely violated the First Amendment when it worked with social media companies to censor opposing views.
Calling the censorship “Orwellian,” Judge Terry A. Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, stated that Republican attorneys general of Louisiana and Missouri “have produced evidence of a massive effort by Defendants, from the White House to federal agencies, to suppress speech based on its content,” the Washington Post reported.
Breaking News: A judge limited Biden administration officials from contacting social media sites, a ruling that could curtail efforts to fight disinformation.https://t.co/y9jmV0BU7d
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 4, 2023
Doughty barred members of the Biden administration — including officials with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation — from communicating with social media companies for “the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech,” The New York Times reported. (RELATED: ‘State-Sponsored Thought Policing’: Matt Taibbi Tells Congress About Vast Online Censorship Network)
While this preliminary injunction does not allow officials to communicate with social media agencies for the purpose of censoring opposing viewpoints, government agencies are still allowed to notify platforms regarding crime, foreign propaganda or threats to national security, the outlet noted.
The lawsuit alleged that Biden administration officials “went too far” in their efforts to curtail discussions of topics like vaccines and election integrity, the Washington Post reported. The lawsuit described the censorship as “the most egregious violations of the First Amendment in the history of the United States of America,” the outlet stated.
Though Doughty has not made a final ruling in the case, this injunction could halt the years-long coordination between government and social media companies that Biden administration officials say is necessary for national security.