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Judge rules White House pressured social networks to “suppress free speech”

The Twitter account of US President Joe Biden displayed on a smartphone screen.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Christopher Furlong )

A federal judge yesterday ordered the Biden administration to halt a wide range of communications with social media companies, siding with Missouri and Louisiana in a lawsuit that alleges Biden and his administration violated the First Amendment by colluding with social networks “to suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content.”

The Biden administration argued that it communicated with tech companies to counter misinformation related to elections, COVID-19, and vaccines, and that it didn’t exert illegal pressure on the companies. The communications to social media companies were not significant enough “to convert private conduct into government conduct,” Department of Justice lawyers argued in the case.

But Judge Terry Doughty, a Trump nominee at US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, granted the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction imposing limits on the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, the US Census Bureau, the State Department, the Homeland Security Department, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and many specific officials at those agencies. The injunction also affects White House officials.

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