Justice Clarence Thomas suggested on Monday that Congress should consider whether laws should be updated to better regulate social media platforms that, he said, have come to have “unbridled control” over “unprecedented” amounts of speech.
The provocative and controversial opinion comes as Twitter banned former President Donald Trump from its platform for violating its rules on incitement of violence and some conservatives have called on more regulations in the tech world to combat what they view as political bias on social media.
“If part of the problem is private, concentrated control over online content and platforms available to the public, then part of the solution may be found in doctrines that limit the right of a private company to exclude, ” Thomas wrote in a 12-page concurring opinion Monday.
Thomas’s stance will raise concerns from critics who point out that social media platforms have not historically been subject to such content regulation, but instead have been left to devise their policies on their own.
“Justice Thomas’s opinion represents the first time that we’ve seen a Supreme Court Justice appear to endorse the view increasingly prevalent among conservatives that private social media platforms should potentially be subject to significant government regulation notwithstanding the First Amendment,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.
No other justice joined Thomas’s opinion, that came as he agreed with the court’s decisi