Biden Admin Asks For Emergency Order Stopping Ban On Big Tech Censorship Coordination

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The Biden administration requested an emergency order Thursday night to pause the preliminary injunction issued by a federal judge to prevent officials from communicating with social media platforms to censor protected speech.

The administration asked to immediately halt the injunction, issued by Western District of Louisiana Judge Terry A. Doughty on Tuesday, or to issue a seven day administrative stay while their appeal to the Fifth Circuit, which was filed on Wednesday, is pending. Doughty’s injunction bars federal officials in the Department of Health and Human Services, FBI and other agencies from communicating with social media platforms for “the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.”

Under the injunction, the Biden administration is also barred from “collaborating, coordinating, partnering, switchboarding, and/or jointly working with” research groups and projects that advocate for censorship, including the Election Integrity Partnership, the Virality Project and the Stanford Internet Observatory.

The State Department already canceled its Wednesday meeting with Facebook to go over hacking threats and 2024 election preparations, and all future monthly meetings “pending further guidance” following the injunction, according to The Washington Post.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said “we disagree with the decision” in response to a question about the judge’s ruling during a press conference Wednesday.

Doughty found that the plaintiffs in Missouri v. Biden, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, had produced “evidence of a massive effort by Defendants, from the White House to federal agencies, to suppress speech based on its content.” (RELATED: Here’s What A Federal Judge’s Blocking Of Biden Admin Censorship Efforts Signals For The First Amendment Going Forward)

“Although this case is still relatively young, and at this stage the Court is only examining it in terms of Plaintiffs’ likelihood of success on the merits, the evidence produced thus far depicts an almost dystopian scenario,” Doughty wrote. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, a period perhaps best characterized by widespread doubt and uncertainty, the United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’”

Landry and Bailey argued in their March filing for an injunction that internal government documents they obtained through the lawsuit revealed a vast amount of government censorship activities, including Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) “switchboards” intended for state and local election officials to flag misinformation and officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) flagging social-media posts for removal.

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