US Appeals Court temporarily halts restrictions on government officials’ contacts with social media companies

Biden’s administration receives a stay of Doughty’s rule, which will be heard by a three-judge panel.

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A US appeals court temporarily blocked a lower court order that had limited Biden administration officials’ and agencies’ contacts with social media companies. Previously, US District Judge Terry Doughty ruled on 6 July 2023 to stymie government officials’ efforts to limit what they consider misinformation on social media. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeal announced that a three-judge panel would air the appeal later.

Doughty’s order was handed down in a case brought before the courts by a Republican attorney general in Louisiana, Missouri and several individuals. The lawsuit claims that government officials within this and the previous administration had indiscriminately censored Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube posts. With the order in place, certain government agencies would be barred from coercing the CEOs of the above-mentioned companies relative to content on their platform, termed protected free speech.