Biden officials can’t talk to social media companies as much as they used to.
A federal judge in the US has put limits on how much the Biden administration can talk to social media companies about moderating their material.
Judge Terry Doughty said on Tuesday in a 155-page decision that White House officials and some government agencies can’t talk to businesses about “content that contains protected free speech.”
It’s a win for Republicans who have said that the government limits speech.
Democrats said that the policies did not do enough to deal with false information.
The case was one of the most watched fights over the First Amendment in US courts. It started a debate about how the government should handle content that it thinks is false or hurtful.
The White House said that the US Department of Justice was looking over the decision and figuring out what to do next.
The White House said in a statement, “Our consistent view is that social media platforms have a very important duty to think about how their platforms affect the American people.”
It also said that sites should “make their own decisions about what information to show.”
This week, the owner of Instagram plans to start a service similar to Twitter.
Social media companies have deleted proof of war crimes
In a lawsuit, the Republican attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana said that US officials had put pressure on social media sites to take down posts about things like Covid-19 policies and election security. The decision came after the Republican attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana filed the lawsuit.
Judge Doughty, who was picked by former US President Donald Trump, said the plaintiffs “presented substantial evidence to support their claims.”
In his decision, Mr. Doughty said, “The evidence we have so far shows a situation that is almost dystopian.”
He also said, “During the Covid-19 pandemic, a time when doubt and confusion were common, the United States Government seems to have taken on a role similar to Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth.”
The Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI couldn’t talk as much as they wanted to because of the decision.
It also put limits on US leaders like Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and Jen Easterly, who is in charge of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
But there were ways to get in touch with businesses to warn them about threats to national security and criminal behavior.
Judge Doughty also talked about a number of emails between White House officials and social media companies.
This included an email sent to Google employees in April 2021 by Rob Flaherty, who used to be the head of digital strategy at the White House.
In the email, Mr. Flaherty said that YouTube, which is owned by Google, was “funneling” people into not wanting to get vaccinated.
“This is a worry that is shared at the highest (and I mean highest) levels of the White House,” he wrote.
When the BBC asked Google for a reaction, Google did not answer right away.
Elon Musk, who is worth a lot of money, owns the social media site Twitter, which did not directly answer a request for comment.
Meta, who owns Facebook and Instagram, chose not to say anything about the decision.