Landmark Social Media Censorship Case Before Supreme Court

Free speech and censorship are before the United States Supreme Court in a case involving the suppression of debate during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the core of the Murthy v. Missouri case is whether the Federal government violated the First Amendment by pressuring social media giants to suppress and censor posts that opposed the official narrative on the coronavirus and its vaccines.

Constitutionally protected freedom of speech only prevents criminal punishment as a consequence of one’s speech. It does not compel any private company — such as X or Facebook —to serve as a platform for any particular viewpoint. For example, a Catholic website cannot be forced on First Amendment grounds to publish Satanist views.

However, Murthy v. Missouri concerns agents of the federal government using threats and coercion to force social media platforms to censor speech. This would mean these companies were acting as agents of the government in suppressing opinions — a fact that will be central to today’s oral arguments.

In the case, the attorneys general of Louisiana and Missouri argue that the federal government engaged in censorship by using “misinformation” as a pretext.

The plaintiff’s brief states: “Defendants’ conduct fundamentally transforms online discourse and renders entire viewpoints on great social and political questions virtually unspeakable on social media, the modern public square.”

They contend that the government coercions were of a “passive-aggressive” nature, involving veiled threats of regulatory consequences or antitrust actions.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was nearly impossible to express any viewpoint other than those in compliance with the official narrative. The “approved message” asserted as incontrovertible fact that the disease was deadly to everyone, that masks were useful against transmission and that the vaccines were “safe and effective.”

Some say the government was on the side of “science” and protected the people against “misinformation.” But the question remains of who should be the referee that determines which experts participate in the debate.

Dr. Robert Malone, the very inventor of the RNA technology on which the vaccines were based, was banned from Twitter and other platforms for expressing his views that COVID-19 shots were not a safe use of his methods.

Ordinary citizens’ voices were suppressed just for suggesting that a debate should even take place regarding vaccines. Conservative actor Kevin Sorbo had his 500K-follower Facebook account deleted for expressing his hesitancy regarding the vaccines.

Furthermore, many of the opinions censored as “misinformation” were later determined to be factual. This includes the risks of COVID-19 shots and the futility of masks in preventing COVID-19 transmission.

The outcome of this case will be critical in deciding whether individuals can evaluate all points of view on an issue and decide for themselves which ones are “misinformation.”

After Elon Musk purchased the social media platform Twitter—now known as X—internal files offered proof that the Biden Administration pressured Twitter to suppress stories not only about COVID-19 and its vaccines but also other sensitive issues, including the infamous Hunter Biden laptop.

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