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Justice Clarence Thomas Takes Aims At Tech And Its Power 'To Cut Off Speech'

Posted By: RumorMail
Date: Monday, 5-Apr-2021 15:07:04
www.rumormill.news/169480

BUT, they wait till After Trump leaves office to say this.

Convenient. ...
**************************************

April 5, 2021
Bobby Allyn

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a lower court ruling that former President Donald Trump violated the First Amendment rights of critics he blocked on Twitter, now that Trump is a private citizen.

Lawyers for those Trump blocked on Twitter argued that the former president's Twitter account functioned as an official source of information about the government, leading a federal appeals court to rule that Trump's blocking amounted to illegally silencing their viewpoints.

But Trump is no longer in office, and Twitter has permanently banned him from its platform over glorifying violence. So the lower court's ruling from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals should be tossed, the Supreme Court ruled, instructing the court to dismiss the case as "moot," or no longer active.

While the case can no longer be cited as precedent, other courts have held that an elected official's social media accounts can be treated as public forums. And so the dismissal "is unlikely to affect the development of the law," said Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which sued Trump over his blocking of critics.

The decision from the high court did not surprise court watchers, but a concurrence in the ruling from Justice Clarence Thomas has drawn intense attention in technology circles.


Twitter Permanently Suspends Trump, Citing 'Risk Of Further Incitement Of Violence'

Technology

Twitter Permanently Suspends Trump, Citing 'Risk Of Further Incitement Of Violence'

In it, Thomas took broad aim at social media networks, attacking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the landmark law that protects technology companies from lawsuits and also provides platforms wide latitude in patrolling speech on their sites.

To Thomas, Twitter's ban of Trump exposed the potential abuses of this legal protection, noting how "applying old doctrines to new digital platforms is rarely straightforward."

Thomas went on: "As Twitter made clear, the right to cut off speech lies most powerfully in the hands of private digital platforms. The extent to which that power matters for purposes of the First Amendment and the extent to which that power could lawfully be modified raise interesting and important questions," Thomas wrote.

Big Tech companies Facebook and Google, Thomas pointed out, have vast and largely unchecked control over online marketplaces.

"It changes nothing that these platforms are not the sole means for distributing speech or information. A person always could choose to avoid the toll bridge or train and instead swim the Charles River or hike the Oregon Trail," Thomas wrote. "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."

In Thomas' view, social media companies are "sufficiently akin" to a common carrier, such as a public utility, like a telephone company and should be "regulated in this manner," he wrote.

The remarks from Thomas are not the first time he has written that Section 230 should be reined in. He wrote in October 2020 that it "behooves" the justices to narrow the scope of the law.

https://twitter.com/NewsAlternative/status/1379095828594225152?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw


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