Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Deplatforming Might Work

Jason Koebler, writing for Vice in 2018:

There’s not a ton of research on this, but the work that has been done so far is promising. A study published by researchers at Georgia Tech last year found that banning [Reddit’s] most toxic subreddits resulted in less hate speech elsewhere on the site, and especially from the people who were active on those subreddits.

Early results from Data and Society sent to an academic listserv in 2017 noted that it’s “unclear what the unintended effects of no platforming will be in the near and distant future. Right now, this can be construed as an incredibly positive step that platforms are making in responding to public complaints that their services are being used to spread hate speech and further radicalize individuals. However, there could be other unintended consequences. There has already been pushback on the right about the capacity and ethics of technology companies making these decisions. We’ve also seen an exodus towards sites like Gab.ai and away from the more mainstream social media networks.”

I linked to this two years ago when Facebook cracked down on extremist public figures using its platforms, but I figured I would re-up it today.

This is a significant test of deplatforming. It seems to work for media personalities and toxic average users, but will it work for someone who — let’s face it — is still the president of the United States? Will it have significant blowback? I have concerns that it will embolden die-hard followers to commit further acts of violence, but I also think that is a problem for law enforcement and American society as a whole.

I do not think national healing is hastened by broadcast media of any type continuing to permit reckless lies about election fraud from influential figures.