Biden officers are prohibited from connection with social media companies by the U.S. federal judge

July 10, 2023: On Tuesday, the U.S. federal judge denied some agencies and officials of the administration of President Joe Biden from gathering and communicating with social media companies to moderate their content, according to a court filing.

The injunction came in response to a lawsuit brought by Republican attorneys general in Louisiana and Missouri, who alleged that U.S. government officials went too far to encourage social media companies to address posts they worried could contribute to vaccine hesitancy during the COVID-19 pandemic or upend elections.

The ruling said government agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI could not talk to social media companies for “the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech” under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

A White House official said the Justice Department reviewed the order and will evaluate its options.

In its restrictions, the order was also mentioned by name officials, including Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Jen Easterly, who heads the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

In an order filed with the District Court of U.S. for the Western District of Louisiana, Judge Terry Doughty made some exceptions for communications between state officials and the companies, including to warn about risks to national security and criminal activity.

The injunction was first reported by the Washington Post.

Tuesday’s order marks a win for Republicans who had sued the Biden administration, saying it was using the coronavirus health crisis and the threat of misinformation to curb views that disagreed with the government.

U.S. officials have said they aimed to stop misinformation about COVID vaccines to curb preventable deaths.

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