Joe Biden’s officials have been temporarily banned from meeting with social media company executives due to what the judge agreed appeared to be a “massive” effort to censor dissent on Covid vaccines. The Telegraph has more.
A judge backed claims that the U.S. President’s administration, including the White House, had engaged in a “massive” attempt to stop Americans questioning the efficacy of vaccines online.
The injunction came after it was revealed last month that U.K. ministers set up a Counter-Disinformation Unit, which was used to target lockdown critics and those questioning the mass vaccination of children.
The U.K. Government used an artificial intelligence firm to monitor social media sites and flag opposition to vaccine passports.
Prosecutors in the Republican states of Louisiana and Missouri brought the case and accused the federal Government of being involved in a “censorship enterprise“.
They claimed that the Biden administration violated the First Amendment by trying to block social media users exercising their right to free speech.
Thousands of communications between Government officials and technology companies during the pandemic have been collected and presented in the court case, which is known as Missouri v. Biden.
Judge Terry Doughty, who was appointed during the Donald Trump administration, issued an injunction which stops Mr. Biden’s officials talking to social media companies about “protected speech”.
In his ruling, the judge banned Government departments from contacting social media companies for “the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression or reduction of content containing protected free speech”.
A final ruling in the case has yet to be made by the judge.
In the injunction, he said that the Attorneys General from Louisiana and Missouri had “produced evidence of a massive effort by defendants, from the White House to federal agencies, to suppress speech based on its content”.
Social media and other technology companies have in the past communicated regularly with the Government, including during elections and in the pandemic.
In his injunction, the judge said there could still be communication if the Government needed to issue warnings about a national security or criminal threat.