Federal officials likely coerced social media platforms to censor specific content online during the Covid emergency, a U.S. appeals court disclosed in a troublesome yet groundbreaking ruling for free speech.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey announced that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his free speech case in Missouri v. Biden. The case alleged that the executive branch pressured social media platforms with intimidating messages and threats regarding acceptable content.
During COVID-19 lockdowns, Americans witnessed intense control of messaging online, with many experiencing censorship first-hand. Through social media platforms, the government sought to control the information permissible to the public.
"We find that the White House, acting in concert with the Surgeon General’s office, likely (1) coerced the platforms to make their moderation decisions by way of intimidating messages and threats of adverse consequences, and (2) significantly encouraged the platforms’ decisions by commandeering their decision-making processes, both in violation of the First Amendment," the court wrote.
Federal officials not only issued direct threats but also leveraged the power of the President's office. Their inflammatory accusations, including charges of "poisoning" the public and "killing people," were accompanied by calls for the platforms to assume greater responsibility and take immediate action. Additionally, the FBI went beyond the other agencies. Not only did the agency moderate content and moderation policies, but it also urged the platforms to take down content.
The ruling effectively prohibits the executive branch from further infringing upon the First Amendment rights of Americans online. The decision reinforces the importance of protecting Americans' fundamental rights in the digital age, but it also brings about legitimate suspicions as we head into the 2024 presidential election.
Will the current administration abide by today's ruling, or will it continue to work with social media platforms to enhance its own, desired narrative? News in the digital age is easy to come by but hard to trust when it's likely been altered for political purposes.
The government isn't an honest and transparent news source, and its proven record of working with Big Tech is cause for concern. Today's ruling is a victory for our rights as Americans, but it's not the end of invasions on the First Amendment. The people must rein in the federal government permanently so these misuses of authority can't continue. It starts with an Article V convention.
To keep the optimistic news coming, spread the word on Convention of States and sign the petition below if you haven't already.