In a significant development that could have extensive First Amendment implications, Judge Terry Doughty of the US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana has limited the ability of the Biden administration to communicate with social media platforms about a range of content. This ruling might restrict efforts to counter misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic and other issues.
The judge’s order prevents parts of the government, such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, from urging social media companies to remove or suppress content containing protected free speech. This includes prohibiting these agencies from flagging specific posts to social media platforms or requesting reports about their actions to remove content.
Furthermore, the ruling prevents government agencies from interacting with outside groups such as the Election Integrity Partnership, the Virality Project, and the Stanford Internet Observatory, aimed at inducing the removal of protected speech online.
However, the ruling still allows the government to notify platforms about posts involving crimes, national security threats, or foreign attempts to influence elections. “If the allegations made by plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history,” Judge Doughty stated.
This ruling marks a victory for Republicans, who have repeatedly accused social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube of disproportionately removing right-leaning content, sometimes in coordination with the government. Conversely, Democrats argue that these platforms have inadequately regulated misinformation and hate speech, leading to harmful consequences, including violence.
Information for this briefing was found via the State of Missouri. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.