Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul, along with 22 attorneys general, filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the government’s ability to work and communicate with social media companies to address the spread of dangerous content on their platforms.
Raoul and the coalition filed an amicus brief with the court in the case of Murthy v. Missouri, urging the Supreme Court to reverse a recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit that prevents the important exchange of information between the federal government and social media companies about harmful content on their platforms.
“Federal officials and agencies can help protect our public health and safety, particularly during emergencies, when they are allowed to communicate with social media companies,” Raoul said. “I will continue to advocate for the healthy use of social media to protect users during an emergency, while also warning 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.
In a September ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit largely upheld the district court’s sweeping injunction, preventing the federal government and social media companies from exchanging information about harmful content on their platforms.
As the coalition argues, state officials and online platforms have mutually beneficial relationships built on voluntary exchanges of information, recommendations, and guidance. Upholding the 5th Circuit’s ruling would set a dangerous precedent that could hinder states’ abilities to encourage social media companies to limit content that often violates the platforms’ own content-moderation policies, including scams that target vulnerable populations, violent images or videos, or dangerous public health misinformation.
Joining Raoul in filing the amicus brief are attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.