CHICAGO - Attorney General Kwame Raoul, with 20 attorneys general, today opposed a decision from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana prohibiting dozens of federal officials and agencies from communicating with social media companies about harmful online content, including financial scams, misinformation meant to undermine elections and harassment.
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Raoul and the coalition filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit urging the court to reverse the lower court decision. The coalition noted that the district court’s order sets a dangerous precedent that undermines the ability of federal, state and local governments to keep Americans safe and secure online.
“Federal officials and agencies should be allowed to communicate with social media companies, especially during emergencies, to protect our public health and safety,” Raoul said. “I remain committed to protecting all users of social media by teaching healthy interactions while warning of potential scams or false information.
“Federal officials and agencies should be allowed to communicate with social media companies to protect the public’s health and safety,” Raoul said. “I remain committed to protecting all users of social media by promoting healthy online interactions and educating the public about the hallmarks of potential scams or false information.”
In May 2022, Missouri, Louisiana, and several individuals brought a lawsuit against dozens of federal officials and agencies, alleging efforts to pressure social media companies to remove or suppress certain speech. In July 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted a request for a preliminary injunction. The resulting order effectively stops any communication between many federal government officials and social media companies concerning content moderation policies.
Raoul and the coalition note in the amicus brief that the lower court’s order blocks an important tool that federal leaders utilize to share information and policy views on how social media platforms can keep Americans safe online, potentially undoing years of mutually beneficial dialogue. The brief highlights examples of productive communication with social media platforms, and that social media companies have welcomed the input of state governments and federal agencies on topics critical to the public interest, such as protecting children from online harassment and preventing the spread of misinformation designed to undermine election security and integrity.
Joining Raoul in in filing the amicus brief are the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.
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