Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said the Supreme Court will soon have “no choice but to deal” with how speech is controlled by a few private social media platforms.
Judge Clarence Thomas wrote about the power of the social media company to censor people as the court decided not to review an appeals court ruling that Donald Trump violated the First Amendment by blocking some Twitter users when he was president.
BREAKING: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says social media companies do not have First Amendment right to ban protected speech and Section 230 is unconstitutional
– Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) April 5, 2021
“Today’s digital platforms offer avenues for unprecedented amounts of speech, including speeches from government actors. The control of so much speech in the hands of a few private parties is also unprecedented, ”Thomas wrote. “We will soon have no choice but to examine how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated private information infrastructures such as digital platforms.
Judge Thomas noted that Trump had 89 million followers when he was banned in January and said the owners of the platforms have too much power.
“Although both companies are public, one person controls Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg) and only two control Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin),” Thomas wrote.
Politico reports that “Thomas’ opinion amounts to an invitation to Congress to declare Twitter, Facebook, and public carriers of similar companies,” essentially requiring them to host all customers regardless of their point of view. Right now, businesses have the absolute power to delete any post and suspend or terminate any account. ”
“It seems quite strange to say that something is a government forum when a private company has unlimited power to eliminate it,” the justice wrote. “Any control Mr. Trump exercised over the account was very pale to Twitter’s authority, dictated in its terms of service, to delete the account” at any time for any reason or no reason. ” Twitter has exercised its authority to do just that. ”
The Politico Report continues to note that “Thomas also suggested that social media companies could be subject to regulation as public hosting, although they are already covered by federal and state anti-discrimination laws. Justice didn’t elaborate much on this argument, but he hinted that the platforms’ First Amendment rights might be limited to the extent that business owners can be forced to accept clients regardless of their location. race or religion.
Thomas said that major protection for Internet businesses, known as Section 230, highlights the role of social media companies as common carriers. He also argued that some courts abuse this provision to immunize “bad faith” decisions to remove content posted by third parties. ”