Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The highest court says it’s okay for Biden’s team to talk freely with social media companies

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On Friday, the Supreme Court allowed the Biden administration to freely communicate with social media companies while a lawsuit over combating online misinformation unfolds. This decision puts a hold on previous rulings that restricted the government’s ability to talk to platforms about Covid-19 and election-related content considered as misinformation.

Earlier, a federal judge in Louisiana had issued an order blocking various federal agencies from discussing “content containing protected free speech” on social media platforms. The Supreme Court, by pausing these rulings, also indicated that it would eventually address the case but did not specify when.

Not all justices agreed with this decision. Justices Alito, Gorsuch, and Thomas expressed dissent, arguing that it gives the government too much power in controlling news dissemination on dominant media platforms. The lawsuit itself, filed by Missouri and Louisiana’s attorneys general and individual plaintiffs, claims that the government’s actions against online misinformation violate the Constitution by suppressing free speech.

In September, a three-judge panel at the 5th US Court of Appeals modified the injunction, narrowing its focus to specific agencies like the White House, the surgeon general, the CDC, and the FBI. When the Biden administration appealed to the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs requested expanding the injunction, and the court granted part of that request by including the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the restrictions.

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