The provocative and controversial comments came as Twitter banned former President Donald Trump from the platform for violating rules on incitement to violence and some conservatives have called for regulation. More in the tech world to combat what they see as political bias on social media.
Thomas̵7;s stance will raise concerns from critics who have pointed out that in the past, social media platforms were not subject to such content regulations. Instead, he was left to be a policy maker himself.
Justice Thomas’ comments represent the first time we’ve seen a Supreme Court justices seem to endorse a more widespread view among conservatives that private social media platforms should be subject to major government regulations, despite The first revision was followed, ”said Steve Vladeck, CNN, analyst and professor of the Supreme Court of Texas University School of Law.
But Thomas said the problem had him thinking about. “The main legal issue that surrounds” digital platforms, especially the concentration of power in the hands of few social media company owners He took the opportunity to suggest further exploration that could lead to a maritime transformation for the technology platform if it gets traction.
Thomas said that today’s digital platforms “It provides an avenue for speaking a lot like never before,” but he said it also emphasized control. “A lot of talking is in the hands of some people.”
In particular, he pointed out that Twitter can remove any person from the platform – “even the President of the United States”.
“According to Twitter, it is clear that the right to cut the speech is the most authoritative in the hands of a personal digital platform,” Thomas said.
“The extent to which that power is important for the purposes of the First Amendment and the extent to which that power can be legal resolved raises some interesting and important questions,” he added.
“We are fortunate in many instances where we see only improper rule changes, not fraud. But the observation provided little comfort, ”Thomas said, disagreeing as the court rejected the long-pending challenge to Pennsylvania’s postal voting process.
On Monday, Thomas stressed that Facebook, controlled by Mark Zuckerberg, had nearly 3 billion people using it and that Google earned $ 182.5 billion last year with net income of 40.3 billion.
The conservative judge said the court would soon “There is no choice,” but it addresses the way the legal doctrine applies. “Private data infrastructures such as digital platforms”
Utilities and ‘General carrier’
He questioned whether platforms should be viewed as Are “conventional carriers” such as train services and phone companies ever subject to government regulations due to their essential services to the public?
Katie Fallow, the Knight First Amendment Institute expert at Columbia University, said the group was concerned about Thomas about the power over speech concentrated in the hands of few people. “But we think that giving the same authority in the hands of government regulators is not necessarily a solution to social media companies,” but she worries that it might exacerbate the problem.
“So, even if the platform is viewed as a” generic provider, “she said, any efforts to curb the content of the platform’s content. “This will raise significant First Amendment concerns.”
Vladeck noted that none of the judges joined Thomas in his thoughts on Monday, and the real question is, will they accept this stance in the future?
“Of course, this is not the first time Judge Thomas has offered a strange view of the First Amendment,” Vladack said.