The Biden Administration has been handed a legal setback after a successful lawsuit from the Republican attorneys generals in Louisiana and Missouri.

Reuters reported that a US federal judge on Tuesday restricted some agencies and officials of the administration of President Joe Biden from meeting and communicating with social media companies to moderate their content.

It comes amid Republican allegations that Biden officials went too far in efforts to encourage social media companies to address posts they worried could contribute to vaccine hesitancy during the Covid-19 pandemic or interfere with election results.

Image credit: Pexels

Political lawsuit?

According to Reuters, the US ruling said government agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI could not talk to 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” under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

A White House official reportedly said the Justice Department was reviewing the order and will evaluate its options.

The ruling comes after a lawsuit was originally filed by former Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

Eric Schmitt was elected to the US Senate in November, and he took Twitter to welcome the injunction and called it a win for free speech.

Some exceptions

Reuters reported that judge’s order also mentioned by name officials including Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Jen Easterly, who heads the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, in its restrictions.

Judge Terry Doughty, in an order filed with the US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, did however make some exceptions.

The exceptions were for communications between government officials and the companies, including to warn about risks to national security and about criminal activity.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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