The federal government cannot reach out to social media and tell them what to censor, according to an injunction out of federal court on Tuesday. This is the case that came from the Attorneys General from Louisiana and Missouri in which they accuse the federal government of censoring important information about the Covid pandemic.
The case has not been decided yet but the judge granted an injunction in a 155-page ruling that states that parts of the government, including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 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.”
They can still reach out to social media about posts pertaining to crimes, national security threats or foreign attempts to influence elections. Recall that when the federal government told Twitter that Russia was influencing the 2020 election, Twitter investigated and found nothing? But the government can still suggest it.
This is a kneecap to the government’s assertion that it needs to counter misinformation and needs a direct line to social media censorship to do so.