Judge Blocks Biden Officials From Pushing Big Tech to Censor Dissent

On Tuesday, a federal judge enacted a provisional injunction that prevents agencies under President Joe Biden’s administration from reaching out to social media firms to ask for the silencing of certain users, as reported by The Washington Post.

The temporary injunction, issued by Chief United States District Judge Terry A. Doughty of the Western district of Louisiana, was in response to a lawsuit brought forward by the Republican attorneys general of Louisiana and Missouri. The attorneys general argued that the administration overstepped its boundaries by encouraging social media platforms like Twitter to take action against posts believed to escalate COVID-19 vaccine skepticism or cause election disturbances.

In his Tuesday judgement, Judge Doughty noted that the plaintiffs “have furnished proof of a substantial attempt by the Defendants, ranging from the White House to federal agencies, to stifle speech on the basis of its content.”

The lawsuit alleged that the Biden administration had set up a wide-ranging federal ‘Censorship Enterprise,’ pressuring these companies to delete posts that did not align with its political narratives. This had significant consequences for conservatives and other groups by limiting their speech, constituting what the lawsuit called “the most severe breaches of the First Amendment in the United States of America’s history.”

The preliminary ruling permits communications between government officials and tech companies in cases related to criminal activities or threats to national security.

In February, NPR reported that former Twitter executives rejected allegations that the platform conspired with government agencies or the White House to suppress free speech, specifically concerning the Hunter Biden laptop story, which the White House labeled as Russian misinformation.

Yoel Roth, former Twitter head of trust and safety, said during a House Oversight Committee hearing that Twitter had “made a mistake in this case because we wanted to avoid the errors of 2016.”

However, Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., contended that Twitter collaborated with government officials to suppress that story and counter posts that diverged from the administration’s “sanctioned” narratives.

According to NPR, Comer stated during the hearing, “Twitter, under today’s witnesses’ management, was a private entity used by the federal government to achieve what it constitutionally could not: restrict free speech. Following the story’s release, we saw a concerted effort by social media companies, mainstream news outlets, and the intelligence community to suppress and question the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s laptop and its contents.”