A lawsuit accuses the Biden administration of illegally pressuring Big Tech companies to censor disparate COVID-19 information.
The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) filed the suit in federal court on behalf of Mark Changizi, Michael Senger, and Daniel Kotzin, who allege they were unfairly targeted by Twitter over the health “misinformation” they shared on the platform.
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called on Big Tech on more than one occasion to do more to censor COVID-19 health information that contradicts federal agencies’ guidelines for masking, vaccination, and treatments for the virus and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki revealed last year he flags “problematic posts” for Facebook.
The lawsuit notes that President Joe Biden has also pointed to the potential use of “anti-trust” action on the Silicon Valley information giants if they do not do more to quell dissident information spreading through social media.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra followed up these statements with an “advisory” to the major platforms to suppress the targeted content.
“The White House began a coordinated and escalating public campaign to stop the flow of alleged ‘health misinformation’ related to COVID-19 in May of 2021,” the lawsuit reads, as LifeSiteNews reported.
The administration’s statements “clearly conveyed a thinly veiled threat that, if tech companies refused to censor, there would be unwelcome consequences,” it noted of Biden’s past comments. “Logically, plans to launch this intimidation campaign must have begun prior to this initial public statement on the subject.”
Changizi, Kotzin, and Senger have all faced suspensions from the platform over their posts, while Senger has been permanently banned.
“Twitter began to suspend more and more accounts, some permanently, following this initiative. Between May and December 2021, after the May and July announcements by Murthy and the White House, all three Plaintiffs were suspended from Twitter at least once for, inter alia, tweeting that the vaccines do not stop transmission of COVID-19 (i.e., are not sterilizing vaccines) and that masks do not work and are harmful,” the suit also alleges.
The court filings accuse Murthy and Becerra of illegally aiming to suppress speech with their statements to social media companies.
These officials “are not simply colluding with, but instrumentalizing Twitter and other technology companies to effectuate their goal of silencing opinions that diverge from the White House’s messaging on COVID-19. That commandeering transforms the Surgeon General’s initiative into government action,” it states.
Meanwhile, HHS violated the Administrative Procedures Act with the de facto establishment of new regulations for Big Tech companies without the proper legal process, the suit also alleges.
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