US Supreme Court dismisses case on Trump blocking Twitter users
The US Supreme Court decided to not hear a case originally related to Twitter users that had been blocked by the US former president Donald Trump. The case involves the second US Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found Trump by blocking critics on Twitter had violated free speech rights. The Second Circuit originally reasoned that Trump’s comment threads were a public forum and, therefore, Trump violated the First Amendment by using his control of the Twitter account to block users from accessing his comments threads. Because Trump is no longer president, the Supreme Court justices decided the dispute was moot.
Justice Clarence Thomas issued a separate opinion to highlight the difficulties to apply old doctrines to new digital platforms. Thomas stressed that the huge market share of a few online platforms gives some companies enormous control over speech. In this regard, Thomas suggested that moderation rules of online platforms should be reframed to balance the power of certain private companies over private and public speech. In this sense, a legal framework addressed to online platforms should take into consideration rules such as the Telecommunications Act that prevents phone companies from excluding specific individuals from phone service or the Public Accommodations Act that prohibits hotels and restaurants from denying their services customers based on customers’ protected aspects.