SCOTUS Pauses Order Prohibiting Gov. Social Media Contact

    SCOTUS Pauses Order Prohibiting Gov. Social Media Contact
    Last updated Sep 15, 2023
    Image credit: Unsplash


    • On Thursday, SCOTUS put a lower court’s order that limited the Joe Biden administration’s ability to communicate with social media companies regarding posts it believes to be misinformation on hold until Sept. 22.
    • The lower court’s order was scheduled to take effect Monday, but the administration requested the hold while it prepares its appeal. The court gave plaintiffs until Wednesday to respond.
    • The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals previously issued the order as part of litigation against the administration from Republican attorneys general from Missouri and Louisiana and a group of social media users.
    • The plaintiffs echo a conservative allegation that the administration has coerced social media companies to censor right-wing postings in violation of the First Amendment right of freedom of speech.
    • Many of the posts in question are related to COVID and several political topics that include claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election and the Hunter Biden laptop story. The Justice Dept. has denied the allegations, saying there's a fine line between "persuasion and coercion."
    • The original injunction from a Louisiana judge blocked all communication between the administration and social media platforms that urged content removal, with the 5th Circuit softening the injunction while still upholding it.


    Republican narrative

    For too long, the American people have been suffering under pervasive government-led censorship, and SCOTUS is now giving the administration the green light to continue that campaign. Luckily, this is just a temporary hold, and SCOTUS will have a chance to end this massive violation of free-speech rights when it hears the full case.

    Democratic narrative

    The idea that an administration working with social media companies to stamp out misinformation and disinformation violates the First Amendment is an overreach by the courts. Content moderation is the only way to stop the country from being overrun by falsehoods, and the government has a right to participate in that effort.

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