SCOTUS skeptical of federal, Big Tech collusion despite new report

by ian

Has the Biden administration gone too far in pressuring social media companies to censor certain content? It’s a question we’ve explored via different reports and updates, but now the question is formally before the Supreme Court.

The original case, titled Murthy v. Missouri, was filed in May 2022. In that case, the plaintiffs accused the Biden administration of coercing social media platforms to censor talking points that did not align with Democrat preferences. They allege the platforms violated the First Amendment, as expressed by Louisiana Solicitor General Benjamin Aguinaga.

The Biden administration countered that it was exercising its right to request the removal of what it believed to be content that harmed public health.

But both liberal and conservative justices seemed skeptical. Each side raised concerns that restricting contact between the government and social media platforms could hinder officials’ ability to remove harmful content.

Chief Justice John Roberts remarked that the government is “not monolithic,” while liberal Justice Elena Kagan questioned any future ability to take down “terrorist speech.”

A ruling is expected in June. Interestingly, this case coincided with a report issued this week on how many times Google purposefully meddled in U.S. elections.

Media Research Center Free Speech America researchers unveiled their findings on Monday. MRC documented 41 times that it said Google had interfered in U.S. elections. Since 2008, MRC says that “Google has utilized its power to help push to electoral victory the most liberal candidates, regardless of party, while targeting their opponents for censorship.”

MRC also notes that Google’s actions have had an effect. For example, while pushing Hillary Clinton in 2016, Google’s biased algorithm “likely shifted at least 2.6 million votes” to the Democratic candidate.

Google denies any wrongdoing. But MRC founder and president Brent Bozell urged Congress to act on the report.