This past July saw federal Judge Terry Doughty issue a preliminary injunction forbidding multiple federal agencies from contacting social media platforms "for the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing" censorship.
In a development that is sure to leave the Biden administration mad, a federal appeals court has opted to uphold much of Doughty's injunction.
According to Breitbart, that ruling represents the latest turn in Missouri v. Biden, a case challenging the federal government's ability to control online content.
This past Friday, justices on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the FBI, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), White House press secretary, and other administration figures should be restricted in their dealings with social media outlets.
Specifically, they may "take no actions, formal or informal, directly or indirectly, to coerce or significantly encourage social-media companies to remove, delete, suppress, or reduce, including through altering their algorithms, posted social-media content containing protected free speech."
"That includes, but is not limited to, compelling the platforms to act, such as by intimating that some form of punishment will follow a failure to comply with any request, or supervising, directing, or otherwise meaningfully controlling the social-media companies’ decision-making processes," the court's order added.
The justices recalled how during 2021 and 2022, social media companies responded to the FBI's flagging of content by removing posts in 50% of cases.
However, Breitbart pointed out that some agencies and individuals named in Doughty's original injunction were removed.
They included the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), an entity which "provides regional cyber and physical services to support security and resilience across the United States."
That move brought criticism from Mike Benz, a former State Department official who currently heads the Foundation for Freedom Online. In a tweet posted on Friday, he called the CISA's exclusion "utter insanity."
The utter insanity of CISA being exempt from the new terms of the censorship injunction under the Missouri v. Biden ruling is fully explained in this video: https://t.co/VcuGr54fic
— Mike Benz (@MikeBenzCyber) September 9, 2023
Uncover DC editor-in-chief Tracy Beanz spoke up as well, saying that carving out an exemption for the CISA was grounds for "disappointment."
"CISA and the SD (State Department) directly engaged with the platforms and discussed the tools and techniques that foreign influence actors would use," she tweeted.
This is going to be the part where my disappointment comes in…But, again, this isn’t the CASE decision, its the decision on the injunction only.. They talk about NIAID, CISA, and the State Department. NIAID and Fauci didn’t have regular contact with platforms or flag, they… pic.twitter.com/FVdw3keuoT
— Tracy Beanz (@tracybeanz) September 9, 2023