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Judge restricts government interaction with social media companies

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and White House Covid Response Coordinator Ashish Jha at a 2022 press briefing. Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

Judge restricts government interaction with social media companies

U.S. District of Louisiana Judge Terry Doughty issued an injunction Tuesday, barring certain government agencies and White House officials from working with social media platforms to moderate content. The ruling came out of a lawsuit filed last year by the attorneys general of Louisiana and Missouri. The lawsuit accused the government and social media platforms of censoring discussions about vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge Doughty said the government's push for censorship violated first amendment rights of free speech and likened its actions to the dystopian “Ministry of Truth” from the George Orwell novel 1984.

How will this injunction work? The injunction specifically bans both the Department of Health and Homeland Security and the FBI from meeting and communicating with social media companies for the purpose of removing or suppressing user content. The embargo also names specific officials, such as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Doughty said leaders may only speak with social media platforms to report threatening user content related to criminal activity, conspiracies, and national security threats.

Dig deeper: Read Leigh Jones’ report in WORLD Magazine on the complications around vaccine reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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