The Supreme Court will hear case on government’s contacts with social media companies

A lower court order preventing Biden officials from talking to social media companies will remain on hold, for now.

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As expected, the Supreme Court will weigh in on a controversial case attempting to limit contact between federal officials and social media companies. The case could have sweeping implications for how social media companies make policy and content moderation decisions.

The case stems from a lawsuit, brought by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana, that alleges Biden Administration officials, the CDC and FBI overreached in their dealings Meta, Google and Twitter as the companies responded to pandemic and election-related misinformation. A lower court previously issued an injunction that severely limited government officials’ ability to communicate with social media companies, though some restrictions were later relaxed.

Now, with the Supreme Court agreeing to hear the government’s appeal in the case, the entire lower court order remains on hold. As The New York Times notes, three justices, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, dissented, calling the decision to allow the lower court order to remain paused “highly disturbing.”

It’s not the only case involving free speech and social media on the Supreme Court docket this term. The court will also take on two landmark cases that could reshape how social media platforms enforce content moderation rules. Those cases involve two state laws, in Texas and Florida, that would prevent social media companies from removing certain types of posts.