Justice Thomas Wonders When Supreme Court Will Have To Consider Social Media’s Private Deplatforming Power – By Scott Shackford (Reason) / April 5 2021
A moot case about Trump blocking tweets leads to concerns that tech companies have too much control over speech.
Justice Clarence Thomas this morning suggested that the Supreme Court is on a collision course with online platforms like Twitter and search engines like Google about how much power companies have to decide who may speak.
The context was a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court to order the dismissal of a lawsuit by the Knight First Amendment Institute against former President Donald Trump over whether Trump was unconstitutionally censoring people when he blocked them from tweeting at him. Now that Trump is no longer the president and has been banned from Twitter, the Supreme Court determined the case to be moot.
Thomas, concurring with the decision, decided to write separately to raise questions about the power of Twitter to eject Trump from the platform. He noted the oddness of the concept that a public official’s Twitter feed might be considered a “government forum” when interacting with the public, but “a private company has unrestricted authority to do away with it.”