Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Calls for Regulations on Big Tech Companies, Social Media Giants

Milton Quintanilla | Contributor for | Tuesday, April 6, 2021
social media apps on a phone, Clarence Thomas calls for Big Tech and social media regulations

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Calls for Regulations on Big Tech Companies, Social Media Giants

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is calling for regulations on big tech and social media giants due to their unchecked power in the suppression of free speech.

According to CBN News, Thomas's comments were made during a Supreme Court case on Monday about former President Donald Trump's efforts to block critics from his personal Twitter account. Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sued Trump for blocking his critics.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Trump violated the First Amendment rights of his critics on the social media platform, as their lawyers contended that Trump's account served as an official source of information about the government.

However, the Supreme Court dismissed the case calling it "moot" since Trump is no longer in office and has been permanently banned from Twitter.

In a statement delivered by Justice Thomas, he suggested that today's digital platforms must be held accountable because they have "concentrated control" over free speech.

"Today's digital platforms provide avenues for historically unprecedented amounts of speech … also unprecedented, however, is the concentrated control of so much speech in the hands of a few private parties," Thomas wrote. "We will soon have no choice but to address how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated, privately owned information infrastructures such as digital platforms."

"The Second Circuit feared that then-President Trump cut off speech by using the features that Twitter made available to him. But if the aim is to ensure that speech is not smothered, then the more glaring concern must perforce be the dominant digital platforms themselves," he argued.

Clarence also noted that Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter can suppress information against its users and that there are no alternative platforms that compare to the social media giants.

"It changes nothing that these platforms are not the sole means for distributing speech or information," he wrote. "A person always could choose to avoid the toll bridge or train and instead swim the Charles River or hike the Oregon Trail. But in assessing whether a company exercises substantial market power, what matters is whether the alternatives are comparable. For many of today's digital platforms, nothing is."

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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.