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Biden administration violated First Amendment over COVID-19 content on social media, court of appeals rules

The Biden administration “ran afoul” of the First Amendment by trying to pressure social media platforms over controversial COVID-19 content, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans ruled Friday. 

In its 75-page ruling, the appeals court panel, made up of two George W. Bush nominees and one Trump nominee, said that President Biden, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FBI and the surgeon general cannot “coerce” social media platforms to remove content it deems problematic. 

However, in its ruling, the court threw out language from a Louisiana judge in July who had ruled that the government could not contact social media platforms to urge them to take content down.

Under the new ruling, the administration has 10 days to seek a Supreme Court review. 

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency and the State Department were removed from the order.

“This Administration has promoted responsible actions to protect public health, safety, and security when confronted by challenges like a deadly pandemic and foreign attacks on our elections,” a White House official spokesperson told the Washington Post. “Our consistent view remains that social media platforms have a critical responsibility to take account of the effects their platforms are having on the American people, but make independent choices about the information they present.”

Fox News Digital has reached out to the White House for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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