Murthy v. Missouri Supreme Court Decision Signals End of Baseless Social Media “Censorship” Claims

Decision closes the path for groundless claims.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in Murthy v. Missouri, a lawsuit arguing that the Biden administration improperly coordinated with social media companies to censor conservative viewpoints under the guise of anti-misinformation campaigns. The Court sided with the Biden administration, finding that the plaintiffs lacked standing in their allegations of government coercion and censorship.

Public Knowledge previously commented on this case, arguing that communication between social media companies and specialized government agencies with distinct expertise is needed to ensure informed content moderation in the public interest. While we must ensure that social media platforms are not under undue or inappropriate pressure from the government, decisions that restrict informed, independent, and responsible content moderation will likely lead to the further deterioration of our information ecosystem.

The following can be attributed to Lisa Macpherson, Policy Director at Public Knowledge:

“The Supreme Court dismissed this specious case for lack of standing, in part because neither the states nor the individual social media users were able to prove – or even allege – that government agencies’ or officials’ actions caused them any injury. They weren’t even able to prove the alleged government coercion ever happened: The Court found no traceability or causation between government communication and platforms’ content moderation of the plaintiffs’ posts. 

“We applaud this decision, which also closes the path for other plaintiffs to make similar baseless claims. We hope that it will help spell the end of the orchestrated effort to equate government communication with platforms with ‘censorship,’ with the aim of chilling platform content moderation and preserving the ability to use disinformation as a political strategy.”

You may view our recent blog post, “A Supreme Court Ruling in Murthy v. Missouri Could Help – or Hinder – Democracy,” for more information.

Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at or 405-249-9435.