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US Judge Imposes Restrictions on Biden Officials’ Communication with Social Media Companies
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A US federal judge has issued an injunction restricting specific agencies and officials within President Joe Biden’s administration from holding discussions or exchanging communications with social media companies regarding content moderation. The ruling was made in response to a legal action initiated by Republican attorneys general from Louisiana and Missouri. These attorneys general alleged that government officials were excessively involved in pressuring social media platforms to take action against posts that could potentially contribute to vaccine hesitancy during the COVID-19 pandemic or disrupt elections.

The court ruling explicitly states that government agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are prohibited from engaging in discussions with social media companies with the intent of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech. This restriction is in line with the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause of the United States Constitution.

In response to the injunction, a White House official confirmed that the Department of Justice is currently reviewing the order and evaluating the available options. The lawsuit was originally filed by former Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. Schmitt, who has since been elected to the US Senate, welcomed the injunction on Twitter and hailed it as a victory for free speech.

  
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The court order also specifically identifies government officials, including Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Jen Easterly, the head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, among those subject to the restrictions outlined in the ruling.

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Judge Terry Doughty, in the order filed with the US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, made certain exceptions allowing communications between government officials and social media companies in cases involving national security risks and criminal activities.

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This landmark injunction represents a significant legal victory for Republicans who accused the Biden administration of exploiting the COVID-19 health crisis and the menace of misinformation as a pretext to suppress viewpoints that diverged from the government’s stance. Government officials argued that their intention was to counter misinformation surrounding COVID vaccines and mitigate preventable deaths.

Social media giants Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram (Meta Platforms), Twitter, and Alphabet’s YouTube have refrained from commenting on the court order and its implications.



A US federal judge has placed restrictions on Biden administration officials, limiting their ability to engage with social media companies for content moderation purposes. This ruling, prompted by a lawsuit filed by Republican attorneys general, brings into focus the balance between free speech rights and government influence over online platforms. The decision has far-reaching implications and underscores the ongoing debates surrounding the regulation of social media and the role of government in controlling online discourse.

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