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U.S. Judge Restricts Biden Administration’s Ability to Stem Misinformation on Social Media

HeadlineJul 06, 2023

A federal judge in Louisiana has barred Biden administration officials from asking social media companies to remove misinformation from websites and apps. The ruling has broad ramifications for the ability of government officials to engage with the public through popular online forums. In a 155-page ruling handed down Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Terry Doughty — a Trump appointee — issued an injunction against federal officials and agencies contacting sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, siding with Republican attorneys general who accused President Biden of trying to silence his critics. Judge Doughty said several federal officials violated the First Amendment when they asked social media companies to take down misinformation about COVID-19, including false content about vaccines and the effectiveness of wearing masks. The judge also accused officials of “suppressing” free speech by battling claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. Legal observers say the sweeping ruling could end up enjoining hundreds of thousands of government employees from participating in online debate.

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