The revelations that followed Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter and release of company files relating to the connection between the Biden administration and big tech, including the censorship of all conservative voices on Twitter regarding the pandemic and the COVID-19 virus, challenged law and morality.
The impending court case will establish a precedent for the boundaries of partnership between the government and major communications media companies.
In the twenty-first century, social media has come to define personal news, and recent incidents demonstrate the manipulative power of censorship.
In Missouri v. Biden, the states of Louisiana and Missouri allege that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube banned particular opinions and users on their platforms at the direction and under coercive pressure from senior Biden administration officials and numerous federal government agencies.
The defendants, including the Biden administration, argued that the states lacked the legal standing to file the lawsuit. The states, however, maintained that a prior court had already established standing.
The states contend in the case that the government’s purported encouragement of Big Tech to participate in censorship exceeds its legal power, violates the Administrative Process Act (APA), and infringes on First Amendment rights.
A federal judge in Louisiana refused the Biden administration’s plea to dismiss the historic lawsuit alleging conspiracy between the federal government and Big Tech to suppress disfavored users and ideas relating to COVID-19.
Judge Terry Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana denied the Biden administration’s move to dismiss the lawsuit.
“The Court finds that the Complaint alleges significant encouragement and coercion that converts the otherwise private conduct of censorship on social media platforms into state action, and is unpersuaded by Defendants’ arguments to the contrary,” Doughty wrote in his ruling (pdf).
Doughty remarked that he was “unconvinced” by some of the government’s arguments, which sought to dismiss the coercive threats as “isolated episodes in which federal officials engaged in rhetoric about misinformation on social media platforms.”
Such attempts to downplay the threats by claiming no single defendant had the unilateral authority to carry through on them “is clearly contradicted by the overwhelming weight of authority,” the judge added.
“Further, while the Government may certainly select the messages it wishes to convey, this freedom is limited by the more fundamental principle that a government entity may not employ threats to limit the free speech of private citizens,” Doughty wrote.
The states have asked the court to declare that the censorship actions violated the U.S. Constitution and states’ constitutions, and requested an injunction to put a stop to the alleged unlawful conduct. According to the court filing, the court ultimately found that the states had “plausibly alleged state action under the theories of joint participation, entwinement, and the combining of factors such as subsidization, authorization, and encouragement.”
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
“Plaintiffs have clearly and plausibly alleged that Defendants engaged in viewpoint discrimination and prior restraints,” the judge wrote. CONTINUE READING…