Wray Says FBI Was Meeting With Social Media Companies Until Federal Judge Stopped Them

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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FBI Director Christopher Wray testified Wednesday that the Bureau had continued to meet with social media companies about potentially censoring content until a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the practice.

U.S. District Court Judge Terry Doughty issued a preliminary injunction on July 4 banning federal officials 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 states of Missouri and Louisiana are currently suing the Biden administration over its contacts with the firms, alleging that they constitute violations of the First Amendment. Federal officials met with social media companies in the run-up to the 2020 election, warning them about so-called “disinformation.”

“I don’t know if weekly meetings occurred prior to the injunction, but certainly we’ve been very open in this, engaged with social media companies,” Wray told Republican Wyoming Rep. Harriet Hageman.

The Biden administration appealed Doughty’s injunction and filed an emergency order to pause it while their appeal is ongoing. The Justice Department lost its  request for the emergency order. (RELATED: Judge’s Injunction On Biden Censorship Operation Is More Far-Reaching Than Initially Reported)

Republican Attorneys General Eric Schmitt of Missouri and Jeff Landry of Louisiana filed the lawsuit in 2022. They alleged frequent interactions in which federal agencies asserted to big tech companies that social media posts were disinformation violated First Amendment prohibitions against government censorship. Documents obtained during discovery revealed that the FBI, CDC, and other agencies interacted with Facebook, Twitter, and other tech companies about COVID-19 and the 2020 election.

Former Twitter executive Yoel Roth informed the Federal Election Commission that FBI agents alerted Twitter to a possible Russian hacking operation targeting Hunter Biden in the run-up to the 2020 election. Going off of that information, Twitter censored a New York Post story that used information from his laptop. However, FBI officials authenticated Hunter Biden’s laptop in 2019, IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley testified to the House Ways and Means Committee in June.