Donald Trump just scored a victory at the Supreme Court.
Trump and his supporters were waiting for this moment.
Clarence Thomas just gave Donald Trump the one ruling that is bad news for Democrats.
As Big Tech implemented their censorship regime to silence conservative voices, the social media companies’ apologists—both Republicans and Democrats—claimed Twitter and Facebook had every right to ban Donald Trump and his supporters because as private companies the First Amendment right to free speech did not apply to the Silicon Valley giants.
That argument’s days are numbered thanks to Justice Clarence Thomas.
Thomas authored a historic opinion in a case dismissing a lawsuit against President Trump for blocking users on Twitter as moot.
Justice Thomas used his ruling to lay out a road map for regulating social media companies and putting a stop to left-wing tech platforms from suppressing conservative speech.
Thomas took aim at the historic concentration of power held by tech companies.
Last year Google became the third tech company—Apple and Microsoft were the other two—to obtain a total worth of over one trillion dollars.
“The petitions provide avenues for historically unprecedented amounts of speech, including speech by government actors. Also unprecedented, however, is the concentrated control of so much speech in the hands of a few private parties. We will soon have no choice but to address how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated, privately owned information infrastructure such as digital platforms,” Thomas began.
Thomas argued that tech companies were more like “common carriers” such as the phone company that exist as regulated utilities as opposed to private entities.
“In many ways, digital platforms that hold themselves out to the public resemble traditional common carriers. Though digital instead of physical, they are at bottom communications networks, and they ‘carry’ information from one user to another. A traditional telephone company laid physical wires to create a network connecting people. Digital platforms lay information infrastructure that can be controlled in much the same way,” Thomas added.
Thomas outlined the power of tech companies to act as gatekeepers for information available to Americans, and cited Google as an example of how a tech company can block or restrict Americans from accessing information that Google does not approve of.
“When a user does not already know exactly where to find something on the Internet—and users rarely do—Google is the gatekeeper between that user and the speech of others 90% of the time. It can suppress content by deindexing or downlisting a search result or by steering users away from certain content by manually altering autocomplete results,” Thomas continued.
Once upon a time, Americans would have found it absurd if they tried to look up a company’s phone number and the phone book decided not to publish its information or refused to give it out on the grounds that the phone companies considered it dangerous to allow that company to speak to their customers.
Thomas added “digital platforms like places of public accommodation” which would eliminate their right to freedom of association.
Justice Thomas explained that these tech companies are the number one threat to free speech.
“If the aim is to ensure that speech is not smothered, then the more glaring concern must perforce be the dominant digital platforms themselves. As Twitter made clear, the right to cut off speech lies most powerfully in the hands of private digital platforms,” Thomas wrote.
Donald Trump and his supporters have long argued that tech companies censoring conservative speech is unlawful censorship.
Now the most senior justice on the Supreme Court is signaling that the justices could be open to taking up cases to rein in Big Tech and change the very nature of free speech and content moderation by ruling that once and for all, the terms of service of Twitter and Facebook are not more powerful than the Constitution.
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