The attorneys generals of Louisiana Jeff Landry, Eric Schmitt and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a complaint against 54 individuals, including President Joe Biden and White House Chief Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci, who work in 13 federal agencies. According to the lawsuit, these officials "threatened, cajoled and colluded" with Big Tech to censor messages that upset or embarrassed the Administration on issues such as Covid's origin and restrictions or the 2020 election. Technology companies do not appear as defendants in the lawsuit.
The FBI is among the agencies included in the lawsuit. Prosecutors are asking to investigate the blocked posts on social media regarding incriminating evidence against Hunter and Joe Biden, which was found on the computer of the president's son in the middle of the election campaign.
"Sub-citizens and non-citizens"
In the brief, Landry and Schmitt state:
These federal bureaucrats leveraged their influence and pressure on social media platforms to become deeply embedded in a joint venture with social media companies to pursue censorship of private citizens' speech on social media. When the federal government colludes with big tech to censor speech, the American people become subjects rather than citizens.
Senior White House officials indicted
The plaintiffs' investigation led them to note that "the discovery provided so far demonstrates that this Censorship Enterprise is extremely broad and rises to the highest levels of the U.S. Government, including numerous White House officials."
Although the lawsuit indicates that the Executive may have coerced Big Tech through direct or suggested threats, such as pushing antitrust legislation, increasing privacy regulation, or removing platforms' protections on liability for content posted by users, the friendly exchanges between the Administration and company officials demonstrate that intimidation was unnecessary.
Biden accused FB of "killing people"
The Washington Times echoes several examples of this in the complaint. In 2021, Biden claimed that Facebook was "killing people" by allowing posts with what he considered "misinformation" about coronavirus vaccines. Shortly thereafter, a Meta executive contacted Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to "find a way to de-escalate and work together collaboratively."
Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, acknowledged that at least 32 people, including senior White House and Food and Drug Administration officials, contacted the company to remove content. YouTube, meanwhile, received instructions from 11 officials, including senior State Department officials.
Twitter and Meta acknowledge censorship
The lawsuit includes statements from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg about Facebook's deletion of posts related to Hunter Biden following an FBI tip. In an interview with podcaster Joe Rogan, Zuckerberg acknowledged that they kept this information out of the news because the FBI said it might be Russian manipulation.
Twitter also censored information about Biden's laptop. Details about Hunter Biden's intimate relationships and business dealings appeared on the laptop, which weren't entirely clear, according to critics. The social media platform admitted that it blocked tweets that shared this news. The reason given was that it "violated the company's policy on sharing hacked materials."