Supreme Court ruling may allow officials to coordinate with social platforms again

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in a controversial effort by two states, Missouri and Louisiana, to limit Biden administration officials and other government agencies from communicating with social media companies about misinformation, election interference and other policies. Rather than establish new guidelines for acceptable communication between these parties, the Court held that the plaintiffs lacked standing to raise the issue at all.

In Murthystates (as well as five individual social media users) alleged that in the midst of the COVID pandemic and the 2020 election, officials from the CDC, FBI and other government agencies “pressured” Meta, Twitter and Google to censor them. speech in violation of the First Amendment.”

The court wrote in an opinion authored by Judge Barrett that “plaintiffs must show a substantial risk that at least one platform will restrict access to at least one plaintiff in the foreseeable future in response to the actions of at least one. The government defendants must demonstrate here, at the preliminary injunction stage, that they will succeed in carrying that burden.” He went on to describe it as a “tall order.

Although the District Court of Louisiana order the blocking of communications between the social media companies and Biden Administration officials was lifted, the case still significantly affected the relationship between the parties. Last year, Meta announced that security researchers not anymore they receive the usual briefings from the FBI or CISA (Cyber ​​Security and Infrastructure Security Agency) on foreign election interference. FBI officials also warned that there were cases where they detected attempts to interfere in the elections did not warn Due to public media companies, additional legal investigations were applied after the lawsuit. With today’s ruling, such contacts may be allowed to continue.

In part, it seems, the Court was reluctant to rule on the case because of the potential for broad First Amendment implications. Among the arguments advanced by the plaintiffs was the “right to listen” theory, which claims that social media users have a Constitutional right to engage with content. “This theory is surprisingly broad,” Barrett wrote, “which would give all social media users the right to sue.” someone else’s censorship.” The opinion was joined by Justices Roberts, Sotomayor, Kagan, Kavanaugh and Jackson. Justice Alito dissented, joined by Justices Thomas and Gorsuch.

The lawsuit was one of several free speech and social media cases to reach the Supreme Court this term. The court will issue a decision two is connected cases involving Texas and Florida laws that could improve the way social media companies handle content moderation.

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