AGs sue Biden administration for claiming it colluded with social media giants to censor speech | national news

(The Center Square) – As states push back on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ plan to fight “disinformation,” two attorneys general have sued him, President Joe Biden and other top responsible for claiming they colluded with social media companies to censor speech.

The Missouri and Louisiana attorneys general filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Monroe Division. They sued Biden, former press secretary Jen Psaki, surgeon general Vivek Murthy, HHS secretary Xavier Becerra, Dr. Jankowicz, and others.

Attorneys general said Biden and his officials colluded with big tech companies, including Meta, Twitter and Youtube, to censor truthful information about a range of issues – including the coronavirus, election integrity and the Hunter Biden’s laptop – under the guise of fighting ‘misinformation’. .”

Biden and his officials “have coerced, threatened and pressured social media platforms to censor disadvantaged speakers and viewpoints using threats of adverse government action,” and are “now directly colluding with social media platforms.” social media to censor disadvantaged speakers and viewpoints,” the AGs argue. This violates the First Amendment, the Administrative Procedure Act, and exceeds legal authority, the AGs claim. The creation of a disinformation committee by DHS also violates federal laws, according to the complaint filed Thursday.

“In direct violation of the First Amendment and freedom of speech, the Biden administration has engaged in a malignant campaign to pressure social media giants to censor and suppress speech and work directly with those platforms to achieve this censorship in a misguided and Orwellian campaign. against ‘misinformation,'” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said.

“Big Tech has become an extension of Biden’s Big Government, and neither protects American freedoms; instead, they suppress the truth and demonize those who think differently,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said. “Ripped from the playbook of Stalin and his ilk, Biden colluded with Big Tech to censor free speech and propagandize the masses. We fight back to ensure the rule of law and stop the government from unconstitutionally banning, chilling and stifling speech.

They cite examples of then-presidential candidate Biden seeking to have speeches censored by social media companies. In a Jan. 17, 2020, interview with the New York Times editorial board, Biden said Section 230 should be revoked because social media companies weren’t doing enough to censor information. It also “suggested that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg be subject to civil and even criminal prosecution for failing to sufficiently censor political speech,” the brief states.

He also cites examples of Psaki and Murthy saying at press briefings that Facebook and social media platforms should do more to combat health “misinformation.” Schmitt posted excerpts of their remarks on Twitter.

“We’re saying we expect more from our technology companies,” Murthy said. …. We ask them to monitor disinformation more closely. We call on them to consistently take action against superspreaders of misinformation on their platforms,” the complaint states.

PSAKI also told reporters: “‘[W]We are in regular contact with these social media platforms, and these engagements usually happen through members of our senior staff, but also members of our COVID-19 team, given, as Dr. Murthy, that this is a big misinformation issue, especially about the pandemic.’ She added, “We flag problematic posts for Facebook that spread misinformation.”

Last February, following Spotify’s decision to add advisory disclaimers to Joe Rogan’s podcast, PSAKI said, “…we want every platform to continue to do more to expose…misinformation and misinformation while providing accurate information”.

The lawsuit also says Facebook censored the posts after Fauci, “in coordination with others, orchestrated a campaign to discredit the lab leak hypothesis in early 2020,” the complaint states. “At the same time as he was orchestrating a campaign to falsely discredit the lab leak theory, Dr. Fauci was exchanging emails with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg regarding the control and dissemination of COVID-19 information. 19.”

Facebook has partnered “with government experts, health authorities, and researchers to take ‘aggressive action against misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines to protect public health,'” according to Facebook statements cited in the complaint.

AGs point to Twitter’s policy of labeling and deleting posts from anyone claiming face masks don’t prevent the spread of coronavirus, and Youtube censoring U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after questioning the mask’s effectiveness.

The lawsuit was filed after she joined 18 other AGs in demanding that the Mayorkas immediately disband the DHS Disinformation Committee. Schmitt was also alarmed by the comments made by his new director.

She “called for more aggressive censorship of election-related speech by social media platforms, and suggested that social media censorship of election-related speech should never relent or be reduced,” he said. declared.

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