Written by Justin Culetu
Conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas recently declared that big tech companies have obtained too much power to remain as a low-regulated institution. His comments come after the SCOTUS declared President Trump’s appeal of a Second Circuit Court ruling which stated that it was unconstitutional for the former president to block critics on Twitter as moot.
Justice Thomas called out the hypocrisy of the case, stating that Twitter had the power to kick the former president off their platform on baseless claims that he incited the Capitol riot. “As Twitter made clear, the right to cut off speech lies most powerfully in the hands of private digital platforms,” Thomas wrote in a concurring opinion.
Other social media companies followed the lead of Twitter as well. Facebook employees made it clear that any content containing the voice of President Trump will not be allowed on their platform. YouTube also stated that they would ban uploads from President Trump’s speech at CPAC 2021 unless the uploader provides “countervailing viewpoints” to the speech.
In addition, Justice Thomas made the argument that private companies like Facebook and Twitter are unique businesses in the sense that they resemble common carriers. Therefore, they do not have the same protections under the First Amendment and do not have the “right to exclude.”
Social media is a luxury that 80% of Americans use. Although it allows people to connect with people they are not able to in person, it has become an entity that creates echo chambers that discourage diversity of thought. The blatant censorship of conservative viewpoints and figures block normal users from hearing the messages and thought process of the right. Moreover, the algorithms of these social media sites ensure that people will receive news based on their political likings, rather than exposing them to opposing news sources.
One of the most important protections Americans have is the right to freedom of speech. It allows citizens to call out irregularities among the government, private institutions, and even other citizens. The first amendment gives America a freedom that is so unique from other countries. Unwarranted restriction of this right can only do harm to a nation, as governments that usurp this right can have the power to take away any other right they wish from their citizens.
Photo via New York Post