Judge blocks U.S. officials from contacting social media companies
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Washington Post
Posted: July 10th, 2023
A federal judge on Tuesday blocked key Biden administration agencies and officials from meeting and communicating with social media companies about "protected speech," in an extraordinary preliminary injunction in an ongoing case. The injunction came in response to a lawsuit brought by Republican attorneys general in Louisiana and Missouri, who allege that government officials went too far in their efforts to encourage social media companies to address posts that they worried could contribute to vaccine hesitancy during the pandemic. Over the last five years, coordination and communication between government officials and [social media] companies increased. Public health officials also frequently communicated with the companies during the coronavirus pandemic. The injunction was a victory for the state attorneys general, who have accused the Biden administration of enabling a "sprawling federal 'Censorship Enterprise'" to encourage tech giants to remove politically unfavorable viewpoints and speakers. The judge, Terry A. Doughty, has yet to make a final ruling in the case, but in issuing the injunction, he signaled he is likely to ... find that the Biden administration ran afoul of the First Amendment. The state attorneys general have argued that starting in 2017 ... officials within the government began laying the groundwork for a "systemic and systematic campaign" to control speech on social media. These efforts accelerated in 2020 ... amid the response to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.