The Biden administration has come under fire from federal judges who accuse them of pressuring social media platforms to censor content, potentially leading to a major clash in the Supreme Court regarding free speech. This criticism was reported by The New York Post.
In New Orleans, federal judges dealt a blow to the Biden administration’s approach to censorship, increasing the likelihood of a significant legal battle that could redefine freedom of speech in today’s era. The case of Missouri v. Biden, which sparked widespread discussions about freedom of expression, was being reviewed by a federal appeals court.
Federal Judge Terry Doughty expressed his alarm over what he perceives as “the most extensive attack on free speech in the history of the United States.” Doughty’s 155-page opinion outlined allegations of federal pressure and manipulation of social media companies to limit content.
To address this, Doughty issued an injunction that prohibits federal authorities from engaging in any activity that encourages the removal or suppression of content containing protected free speech.
The Biden administration swiftly acted in an attempt to postpone the enforcement of the injunction, while framing their actions as a form of public service. The Justice Department argued in court filings that there is a clear distinction between persuasion and coercion, criticizing Judge Doughty for equating legitimate persuasion with illicit coercion.
The department denied any claims of forcing social media companies to suppress information, suggesting that their interactions were mere requests for “content moderation,” specifically regarding Covid-related content. However, tens of thousands of these “requests” resulted in the suppression of millions of posts and comments by American users.
The Biden administration seems to hold the position that unless explicit threats were made, their actions cannot be classified as censorship.
During the hearing, Judge Don Willett, known for his principled stance and insightful opinions, argued that federal agencies have the right to criticize false or dangerous ideas in the public domain. However, he pointed out that the administration’s approach used secretive and veiled pressure tactics.
Willett illustrated this by saying, “That’s a really nice social media platform you’ve got there, it would be a shame if something happened to it.” This issue raises crucial questions about the extent of government influence over private online platforms and the protection of free speech rights in the digital age.