President Joe Biden’s administration has been hit with a class-action lawsuit over how the president and other top officials pressured Big Tech to censor users.
Lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., his group Children’s Health Defense, and Louisiana resident Connie Sampognaro brought the suit in U.S. court in Louisiana against Biden and top officials like Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and White House assistant Rob Flaherty.
The pressure the officials and their agencies brought to bear against Twitter and other Big Tech companies to crack down on alleged mis- and disinformation, including targeting Kennedy personally, violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, according to the new suit.
“It is well established that the government violates the Constitution if it uses coercive threats to induce private parties to censor protected speech or if it engages in collusive joint action with private parties to violate the First Amendment,” the suit states.
The legal action rests in part on evidence that has been uncovered by litigation in the same court brought by the attorneys general of Louisiana and Missouri.
That lawsuit has produced documents from the government and Big Tech companies showing repeated efforts by U.S. officials to get the companies to take action against users.
The efforts paid off, with companies regularly telling officials they were working on restricting information. That included any content that purportedly discouraged vaccines even when the content was true, one Facebook employee told the White House. In some cases, though, the government itself provided misinformation that was cited to take action against users, the documents show.
The censorship efforts are “responsible even now for the online suppression of facts and opinions about the COVID vaccines that might lead people to become ‘hesitant’ about COVID vaccine mandates … depriving Americans of information and opinion on matters of the highest public importance,” the new suit states.