The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has enjoyed a 50 percent success rate in getting speech censored from the internet, according to a September court filing by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The filing is part of an ongoing lawsuit regarding free speech. In the filing, DOJ Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar stated that the FBI successfully persuades social media platforms to remove online speech half the time.
This information came to light as part of the Biden administration’s request for the Supreme Court to extend its stay on a federal injunction that prevents the government from encouraging platforms to censor online content. The DOJ argues that the idea of large, wealthy companies with high-quality legal counsel being coerced by general answers to questions about potential legislative changes is far-fetched.
Furthermore, the DOJ argues that the fact that these platforms often choose not to remove content flagged by the government refutes any claims of coercion. The filing states, “Respondents apparently view the FBI’s 50-percent rate as evidence of coercion because ‘any major-league slugger would envy’ a .500 batting average.”
The Supreme Court extended the stay on the injunction to September 27 after Justice Samuel Alito temporarily froze it. This followed the Fifth Circuit of Appeals’ partial affirmation on September 8 of a lower court’s broad injunction against the Biden administration for violating the First Amendment by coercing social media platforms to censor speech.
On Monday, the Fifth Circuit agreed to the plaintiffs’ request to re-hear the case and consider expanding its injunction. The plaintiffs argue that officials from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the State Department should be included in the injunction. They also want the injunction to prevent government officials from coordinating with private-sector partners such as the Election Integrity Partnership and Virality Project.