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State Department officials have reportedly canceled a meeting with Facebook after a federal judge ordered that the Biden administration limit its communications with social media companies after describing an “Orwellian” relationship between the two.
A Facebook employee told the Washington Post that the social media company’s weekly Wednesday meeting with government officials had been canceled in light of U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty’s decision to grant an injunction in a lawsuit brought by Louisiana and Missouri over alleged collusion between the federal government and social media companies to censor “disfavored” speech in violation of the First Amendment.
The meeting would have covered topics like the 2024 election and potential hacking problems. Facebook was informed that the meetings had been “canceled pending further guidance,” according to the Facebook insider.
Another meeting between Facebook and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency could also face cancellation due to Doughty’s ruling.
In his July 4 ruling, Doughty said that opposition to COVID vaccines, opposition to masking, criticism of the 2020 election, true statements about the Hunter Biden laptop, and opposition to other government policies were all “suppressed” by the government.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, a period perhaps best characterized by widespread doubt and uncertainty, the United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth,’” he wrote.
The White House has moved to appeal Doughty’s injunction, which will be in place as the case makes its way through the judicial process. A spokeswoman for the White House characterized the administration’s communications with social media companies as necessary for national security.
“But we’re not going to apologize for promoting responsible actions to protect public health, safety, and security when confronted by challenges like a deadly pandemic or foreign attacks on our elections,” Sharon Yang said. “We’re also not going to apologize for believing that social media platforms have a responsibility — a critical responsibility — to take account of the effects their platforms have on the American people.”
Doughty, a Trump-appointed judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, said that many of the actions taken by the Biden administration amounted to political discrimination.
“It is quite telling that each example or category of suppressed speech was conservative in nature. This targeted suppression of conservative ideas is a perfect example of viewpoint discrimination of political speech,” he said.
The ruling still allowed the government to warn of foreign election interference, cyberattacks, and criminal activity.