The First Amendment, which protects freedom of speech and the press, may not be enough to prevent censorship and other nefarious actions by the “deep state” and Big Tech companies.
The recent release of internal communications, known as the “Twitter Files,” has exposed the close relationship between the government and social media companies, including Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, Reddit, and Pinterest, and their role in promoting propaganda and censorship.
The documents also revealed that the government used these platforms for covert online propaganda and influence campaigns in foreign countries, as well as domestically to shape public opinion and potentially influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
To truly address these issues, there needs to be a revival of the values of free speech and a free press.
The recent revelations about the relationship between the federal government and private platforms have raised concerns about potential violations of the First Amendment. However, according to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, these details do not necessarily establish a violation of the First Amendment under current jurisprudence.
Thomas explained that a private entity may be constrained by the First Amendment if the government coerces or induces it to take action that the government itself would not be permitted to do, such as censoring a lawful viewpoint. However, in the case in question, there were no allegations of government threats, leaving the issue open for future consideration.
Thomas also noted that it is currently unclear what types of threats would cause a private choice by a digital platform to be considered the action of the government.