One Day After Free Speech Ruling, State Department Reportedly Cancels Facebook Meeting About 2024 Election

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James Lynch Contributor
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One day after a federal judge ruling limited the Biden administration’s ability to pressure social media companies into censoring posts online, the State Department reportedly canceled its Wednesday meeting with Facebook officials about the 2024 election.

State Department officials told Facebook that all future monthly meetings were “canceled pending further guidance,” an anonymous source at the company told The Washington Post. Judge Terry Doughty’s injunction Tuesday barred members of the Biden administration from communicating with social media platforms and nonprofits for “the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.”

The State Department’s meeting with Facebook would’ve also discussed hacking threats, The Washington Post reported. Warnings from intelligence agencies about “hack-and-leak” operations ahead of the 2020 presidential election influenced Twitter’s decision to censor the New York Post’s reporting about Hunter Biden’s laptop, according to “Twitter Files” documents. The Daily Caller News Foundation, The New York Times, The Washington Post and CBS News have since verified the contents on Biden’s laptop. (RELATED: Facebook Suppressed Tucker Carlson Video That Did Not Violate Content Policy After White House Demanded It, Judge Says)

Doughty called the federal government’s suppression of speech “Orwellian” in an injunction that the Biden administration is appealing to the Fifth Circuit. Republican Attorneys General Jeff Landry of Louisiana and Andrew Bailey of Missouri filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in March after obtaining documents purporting to show White House officials engaging in censorship activities with various social media platforms.

“The Plaintiffs have presented substantial evidence in support of their claims that they were the victims of a far-reaching and widespread censorship campaign. This court finds that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their First Amendment free speech claim against the Defendants,” Doughty wrote in his injunction.

The State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) has funded nonprofit organizations that censor conservative Americans for spreading “disinformation” and target conservative media outlets for demonetization. The GEC also flagged Twitter accounts for promoting the lab leak COVID origin theory, according to the Twitter Files. Judge Doughty cited the GEC’s apparent censorship efforts in the “State Department Defendants” section of his injunction.