Judge: US government prohibited from contacting social media companies

Social networks overloaded with government requests

A judge has largely prohibited several agencies of the US government from contacting social media companies. The government was accused of potentially trying to persuade these companies to remove certain content.

According to the complaint, members of the Biden administration were colluding with Meta, Twitter, and YouTube to remove “truthful information” on various topics, including COVID-19 and the US elections, as reported by The Washington Post. They allegedly asked the social media companies to remove content that encouraged vaccine refusal from their platforms. Although the judge has not yet made a final ruling, they stated that evidence has been provided indicating that government agencies have attempted to “suppress freedom of speech” on a large scale.

As a result, the judge has issued an order that prohibits a significant portion of the US government from contacting social media companies. This includes the Department of Health & Human Services and the FBI, among others. Several specific officials are also mentioned, such as Jen Easterly, the head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. However, there are some exceptions. It is still allowed to issue warnings about national security threats, criminal activity, and voter suppression.

The case was filed by Republican attorneys general in the US states of Louisiana and Missouri. They believed that the Biden administration was convincing tech companies to remove “politically unfavorable viewpoints and speakers.” The judge was appointed by Trump.

A spokesperson for the White House told The Washington Post that they are studying the order and evaluating their options. According to the spokesperson, the government has encouraged “responsible actions” to protect public health and safety during challenges such as a deadly pandemic and attacks on our elections. The White House stated that social media companies have an “important responsibility” to consider the impact they have on the public, but they also need to make “independent choices about the information they display.”

Previously, YouTube announced that it would relax its misinformation policy by removing fewer videos containing misinformation about the US elections from the platform. Meta also decided last month not to remove incorrect information about the coronavirus from its platforms in most countries.

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