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Judge Restricts Biden Administration’s Collaboration with Social Media Companies

by Andrew Wright
14 comments
social media censorship

In a significant development, a judge has issued a ruling that prevents various federal agencies and officials within the Biden administration from engaging with social media companies concerning “protected speech.” This decision, hailed as a blow to censorship, emerged as a result of a lawsuit filed in 2022 by attorneys general from Louisiana and Missouri. Their legal action claimed that the federal government had overstepped its bounds by pressuring social media platforms to address content related to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and electoral influence.

U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty of Louisiana justified the injunction by citing compelling evidence of an extensive censorship campaign. In his written statement, he described the situation as resembling a dystopian reality, drawing parallels to an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth” during the COVID-19 pandemic, a period marked by widespread skepticism and uncertainty.

Republican Senator Eric Schmitt, the former Missouri attorney general, celebrated the ruling as a resounding victory for the First Amendment and a setback for censorship via Twitter. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry emphasized that the injunction safeguards the core political expression of ordinary Americans on social media platforms, preventing the administration from curtailing their freedom of speech.

Landry further expressed his shock and outrage at the revelation that senior federal officials believed they had the authority to dictate what Americans could or could not say about COVID-19, elections, government criticism, and other subjects on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

The White House, through an anonymous official, stated that the Justice Department is currently reviewing the injunction and evaluating its legal options. While acknowledging the responsibility of social media platforms to consider the impact of their content on the public, the official maintained that independent choices regarding information presentation should be made by these companies.

The court order specifically identifies various government agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI, that are restrained from engaging in discussions with social media companies aimed at influencing the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.

Exceptions to the injunction include the notification of social media platforms about criminal activities, conspiracies, national security threats, and other related dangers present on their platforms.

Individuals such as Jim Hoft, the owner of a conservative website, were among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The legal action accused the administration of leveraging regulatory actions to compel social media platforms to suppress what it deemed misinformation about masks, vaccines, election integrity, and stories involving Hunter Biden’s laptop, the son of the president.

The administration’s legal team argued that social media companies had the discretion to determine what constituted misinformation and how to combat it. They likened the lawsuit to an attempt to silence the federal government under the pretext of protecting the speech rights of others, characterizing it as a legal gag order on government officials. The administration maintained that the proposed injunction would significantly impede its ability to combat foreign influence campaigns, prosecute crimes, ensure national security, and provide accurate information on crucial public concerns like healthcare and election integrity.


Reporting from O’Fallon, Missouri, contributed by Salter. Additional contributions from journalists Kevin McGill in New Orleans and Cal Woodward, Colleen Long, and Ellen Knickmeyer in Washington, D.C., for Big Big News.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about social media censorship

What is the significance of the judge’s ruling regarding the Biden administration and social media companies?

The judge’s ruling prohibits several federal agencies and officials of the Biden administration from collaborating with social media companies on matters related to “protected speech.” This decision is considered a blow to censorship and comes as a response to a lawsuit filed by attorneys general from Louisiana and Missouri.

What were the allegations made in the lawsuit against the federal government?

The lawsuit alleged that the federal government had exceeded its authority by pressuring social media platforms to address content related to vaccine hesitancy during the COVID-19 pandemic and potential electoral influence.

How did the judge justify the injunction?

The judge cited substantial evidence of a widespread censorship campaign, describing the scenario as resembling an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth” during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ruling aimed to prevent the government from assuming a role that curtailed freedom of speech.

How have Republican officials and attorneys general responded to the ruling?

Republican officials, including Senator Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, hailed the ruling as a victory for the First Amendment and a blow to censorship. They believe the injunction safeguards the core political speech of ordinary Americans on social media.

How does the Biden administration view the ruling, and what are their next steps?

The Biden administration is reviewing the injunction and evaluating its options in the case. They maintain that while social media platforms have a responsibility to consider the impact of their content, independent choices about information presentation should be made by these companies.

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14 comments

DemocracyDefender July 5, 2023 - 1:22 am

this ruling seems like a slippery slope, what abt harmful misinformation, can social media giants self-regulate?

Reply
freedomlover22 July 5, 2023 - 1:37 pm

abt time! the govt shudnt dictate what we can say online, protect our rights! #FirstAmendment

Reply
SocialMediaQueen July 5, 2023 - 3:16 pm

finally, someone is standing up against censorshi, this ruling is a big win for free speech!

Reply
InfoWarrior55 July 5, 2023 - 3:24 pm

kudos to the attorneys general for fighting govt overreach, we need more ppl defending our freedom of speech!

Reply
JohnSmith18 July 5, 2023 - 4:11 pm

wow, the judge stops Biden admin from working with social media, no censorship, blow to the first amendment, gr8 news!

Reply
newsjunkie123 July 5, 2023 - 5:54 pm

interesting ruling, wonder how it will impact social media giants like FB, Twitter, & YouTube.

Reply
truthseeker99 July 5, 2023 - 9:30 pm

bout time some1 calls out the govt for playing “Ministry of Truth,” hope this sets a precedent against censorship. #FreedomOfSpeech

Reply
freedomlover22 July 6, 2023 - 8:32 pm

abt time! the govt shudnt dictate what we can say online, protect our rights! #FirstAmendment

Reply
DemocracyDefender July 6, 2023 - 9:56 pm

this ruling seems like a slippery slope, what abt harmful misinformation, can social media giants self-regulate?

Reply
SocialMediaQueen July 6, 2023 - 10:13 pm

finally, someone is standing up against censorshi, this ruling is a big win for free speech!

Reply
JohnSmith18 July 7, 2023 - 1:01 am

wow, the judge stops Biden admin from working with social media, no censorship, blow to the first amendment, gr8 news!

Reply
truthseeker99 July 7, 2023 - 8:38 am

bout time some1 calls out the govt for playing “Ministry of Truth,” hope this sets a precedent against censorship. #FreedomOfSpeech

Reply
InfoWarrior55 July 7, 2023 - 10:41 am

kudos to the attorneys general for fighting govt overreach, we need more ppl defending our freedom of speech!

Reply
newsjunkie123 July 7, 2023 - 12:40 pm

interesting ruling, wonder how it will impact social media giants like FB, Twitter, & YouTube.

Reply

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