Biden Admin to Appeal Judge’s Ruling on Censorship Efforts

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The Biden administration is set to appeal a lower court’s ruling that administration officials cannot contact social media companies regarding in “any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction” of content on the platforms containing “protected free speech,” according to The Hill. The decision by U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty was an upset to the Biden administration as it interferes with their efforts to stop the spread of “disinformation.” 

Republican attorneys challenging the Biden administration’s censorship strategy were weary of the violation of First Amendment rights. The case involves many references to the government’s interference with the COVID-19 pandemic and information about it that was being shared on social media. 


Lawyers for the Biden administration are referencing Judge Doughty’s language that could be interpreted to prohibit “virtually any government communication directed at social media platforms regarding content moderation.” Brian Boynton, principal deputy assistant attorney general, argued this point and added that district court is trying to act as “the arbiter of which government communications are permissible,” which he says has “no basis in law or fact.” The appeal also references the implications of the Judge’s wording on social media issues such as suicide prevention with lawyers noting that the ruling would “significantly harm the government and public interest.”

Still, attorneys in favor of the Judge’s decision praised his move to put an end to an “egregious campaign” of censorship. Republicans argued, “this campaign of federal censorship was so effective that it fundamentally distorted online discourse in America on great social and political questions, rendering entire viewpoints virtually unspeakable on social media.” 


The Hill reports, “the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear 30 minutes of oral arguments from each side Thursday afternoon.”


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