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Judge blocks Biden administration officials from communicating with social media companies



A federal judge on Tuesday ordered certain Biden administration agencies and senior officials not to communicate with social media companies about certain content, handing a victory to GOP states in a lawsuit accusing the government of going too far in its efforts to combat Covid-19 misinformation.

In a preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, the judge ordered scores of federal agencies and more than a dozen senior officials not to communicate with social media companies about the removal of “content containing protected freedom of expression” that is posted on the platforms.

The injunction notes that the government can still communicate with companies as part of efforts to curb illegal activity and address national security threats.

The order applies to agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Justice and the FBI as well as officials such as US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and White. Press officer of the Chamber Karine Jean-Pierre.

Agencies and officials are prohibited, Doughty said, from “specifically flagging content or posts on social media platforms and/or forwarding them to social media companies urging, encouraging, pressuring or inciting in any way.” manner whatsoever to remove, remove, delete, or reduction of content containing protected freedom of expression.”

Doughty, a Donald Trump appointee, noted in the lawsuit that social media companies “include Facebook/Meta, Twitter, YouTube/Google, WhatsApp, Instagram, WeChat, TikTok,” along with a number of others. online platforms.

A White House official said the Justice Department is “reviewing the court injunction and will assess its options in this case.”

“This administration has promoted responsible actions to protect public health, safety and security when faced with challenges such as a deadly pandemic and foreign attacks on our elections. Our consistent view remains that platforms Social media companies have a critical responsibility to consider the effects of their platforms on the American people, but make independent choices about the information they present,” the White House official said.

Meta declined to comment. CNN has also reached out to Twitter, Google and TikTok for comment.

The lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana in 2022 represents a new way to pursue “censorship” claims accusing the Biden administration of effectively silencing conservatives by relying on private social media companies.

Although Doughty has yet to rule on the merits of the two states’ claims, his order on Tuesday represents their most significant victory to date in the ongoing lawsuit. The judge previously ordered the administration to produce documents identifying government officials and the nature of their communications with social media platforms.

This story has been updated with additional details.

The-CNN-Wire & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. company. Discovery. All rights reserved.


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