A lower court ruling involving former President Donald Trump that was dismissed has caused the increased scrutiny of Big Tech and how their unchecked power must be stifled in the face of political unrest.
On Monday, a lower court ruling that said former President Trump violated the First Amendment rights of his critics that he blocked on Twitter, was dismissed. Lawyers for Trump's critics argued that the former president illegally silenced their viewpoints and a federal appeals court ruled in their favor.
However, since Trump's Twitter has been deactivated, the Supreme Court decided to dismiss the case and instead focus on how Big Tech censorship is affecting the political climate in the United States.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' concurrence in the ruling took aim at Big Tech censorship, saying, "the more glaring concern must perforce be the dominant digital platforms themselves."
Justice Thomas, who is the second African American to serve on the Court and the longest-serving member of the Court, pointed out how Twitter's banning of the former president showed that the "right to cut off speech lies most powerfully in the hands of private digital platforms."
According to NPR, Justice Thomas pointed out how "in assessing whether a company exercises substantial market power, what matters is whether the alternatives are comparable." He concluded that nothing is quite comparable to Big Tech companies such as Facebook and Google, who have monopolized the game.
Justice Clarence argued that while Big Tech's digital platforms provide ways for "historically unprecedented amounts of speech," the other side of the coin is "concentrated control of so much speech in the hands of a few private parties." So the challenge now is how to regulate these Big Tech companies, who for the longest time had hid behind Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which was passed in 1996 and provides immunity to Big Tech for third-party user content.
It was Trump's ban that truly exposed just how much power Big Tech companies had over their users, even if that user was the President of the United States.
Big Tech companies, namely Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon, have enormous power over free speech as Google's search engines can deindex, downlist, or eliminate websites from showing up in search results, just as with Facebook as a social media platform. Justice Thomas pointed out that the same can happen with Amazon, which can hide listings of books which content opposes their collective beliefs. He also believes that the "free market of technology" is no longer free.
According to CBN News, Justice Thomas' rally for legal action against Big Tech censorship has caught the attention of Ryan T. Anderson, the president of the Ethics & Public Policy Center. He had also been a victim of Big Tech censorship when Amazon banned his best-selling book "When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment," which the online retail giant claimed violated their hate speech policy.
Backing the justice's calls for legal action against Big Tech censorship, Anderson tweeted, "We need more legal thinkers like Justice Thomas."