In the suit, which was filed on Tuesday, Attorneys General Eric Schmidt of Missouri and Jeff Landry of Louisiana are asking a federal judge to stop Biden officials from “taking any steps to demand, urge, encourage, pressure, or otherwise induce any company or platform for online speech.”
The preliminary injunction applies to the employees, agents and officers of online companies and platforms and seeks to stop those who “censor, suppress, remove, de-platform, suspend, shadow-ban, de-boost, or take any other adverse action against any speaker, content, or viewpoint expressed on social-media.”
Although many social media platforms have long engaged in suppressing speech that goes against their liberal ideologies, this lawsuit is considered to be at least partly in response to the efforts made by the Biden administration to have Big Tech censor speech such as information about COVID-19 vaccine safety.
The lawsuit outlines how the administration wasted no time upon taking office to embark on a censorship campaign. It states: “Once in control, Defendants promptly capitalized by leveraging these threats—which continued with increased vigor—into direct collusion with social-media companies to achieve widespread censorship of particular disfavored speakers and viewpoints on social media.”
Among those cited in the lawsuit were Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who the suit claims pressured social media companies to restrict people's access to information about COVID-19 and take action against so-called “misinformation super-spreaders” who use their services.
The lawsuit notes that Facebook’s response to Murthy’s request was that they had already been coordinating to suppress such information.
The suit also cites Dr. Anthony Fauci for convincing Facebook to censor stories related to the possibility of COVID-19 being the result of a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where coronaviruses in bats were being studied.
In a news release, AG Schmitt said that as the bedrock of our nation, free speech must be preserved and protected. He stated: “The federal government’s alleged attempts to collude with social media companies to censor free speech should terrify Missourians and Americans alike.”
Ahead of the 2020 elections, researchers revealed that the world’s most popular email platform, Google’s Gmail, was 7 times more likely to send emails from conservative candidates to users’ spam folders than emails from left-wing candidates.
Video sharing platform YouTube recently came under fire when they scrubbed a widely viewed journalistic interview by the New York Post of January 6 rioter Aaron Mostofsky outside of the Senate chamber. In the interview, Mostofsky said he went to the Capitol due to his belief that the 2020 election had been stolen from Trump. YouTube labeled it misinformation, yet footage of Hillary Clinton claiming that the election of 2016 was stolen from her and calling Trump an “illegitimate president” is still allowed on the platform.
The Post was also the subject of censorship when Facebook suppressed a 2020 opinion column from the publication suggesting COVID-19 could have come from a Wuhan lab, but these pale in comparison to the egregious censorship of the outlet’s story on Hunter Biden’s laptop in the leadup to the 2020 election.
Both Facebook and Twitter suppressed their factual stories about the laptop's contents in censorship that may have changed the results of the 2020 elections in some close states. The rest of the media has now admitted that their reporting was accurate – now that the damage has been done and the election results cannot be reversed.
Incidents like the censorship of the laptop story illustrate just how big of an influence social media censorship can have on the population and the way the world is run. As social media platforms continue to take on a central role in many people’s daily lives, Big Tech has the power to shape not just our culture but our politics, giving it an outsized influence on every aspect of our lives.
Sources for this article include: