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(51,031 posts)
Wed Feb 10, 2021, 02:53 PM Feb 2021

Deplatforming the Far-Right Could Accelerate an Extremist Underground [View all]

Tweet text:
Jared Holt
“If the only collective answer to web-fueled extremism is to sweep it into the internet’s gutters, and deeper systemic issues are neglected, the far-right’s most dangerous elements will likely accelerate.“

An op-ed on the need for holistic approaches:

Deplatforming the Far-Right Could Accelerate an Extremist Underground
Deplatforming the far-right like Alex Jones isn’t a one-step solution, and often treats symptoms of radicalization rather than its causes.
9:35 AM · Feb 10, 2021


The short-term benefits of deplatforming far-right actors and extremist content presents a paradox in long-term consequences. If the only collective answer to web-fueled extremism is to sweep it into the internet’s gutters, and deeper systemic issues are neglected, the far-right’s most dangerous elements will likely accelerate.

Removing voices on social media who peddle disinformation, conspiracy theories, and extremist rhetoric can drastically reduce those voices’ prominence in national political discourse. It’s something large platforms can do quickly, and the move is usually a positive one in terms of protecting a free and open society. In some cases, this kind of action even thwarts attempts by foreign governments to exploit polarizing issues on social media in hopes of destabilizing the United States; as was the case when Facebook last year removed two networks of fake accounts linked to Iran and Russia. By removing bad actors as they flail on stage, healthy dialogue is fostered and the Democratic tradition strengthened.

However, these toxic voices—and their corresponding communities of support—don’t often disappear altogether after a banning. Instead, they migrate to platforms often smaller and less moderated. Dozens of social media platforms promising little-to-no “censorship” have existed for years on standby, ready to welcome these digital nomads in search of places to unleash their toxic beliefs and false claims. Several such platforms have explicitly advertised themselves to the far-right.

In my work as a professional researcher and reporter focused on political extremism and the internet, I often slide into the virtual shoes of an extremist-internet power user, consuming content at a rate that would put even the most dedicated fan to shame. My work does not stop after de-platforming occurs. Repeatedly, it becomes more concerning.

Some of the earliest adopters of these smaller, free-for-all platforms were extremists banned from mainstream social media in the wake of Unite the Right, the 2017 white supremacist gathering that wreaked havoc in Charlottesville, Virginia, and left Heather Heyer murdered in the street at the hands of a neo-Nazi. Then it was Proud Boys. Then it was QAnon believers. Then it was unlawful militia movement organizations. Then it was election conspiracy theorists. And so on.


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Underground to hell WA-03 Democrat Feb 2021 #1
Trump proved that a BIG platform is the way to be truly dangerous. Laelth Feb 2021 #2
They can be a fringe group Johnny2X2X Feb 2021 #4
They are already 'underground'. It's not like they were anywhere else. They have been SWBTATTReg Feb 2021 #3
Notice how much calmer things have been since Donny Dumbfuck was depatformed? SoonerPride Feb 2021 #5
Better an extremist underground than an extremist overground. Midnight Writer Feb 2021 #6
"Deplatforming" at least reduces their reach to the susceptible BumRushDaShow Feb 2021 #7
They went old school back to HAM and CB. Runningdawg Feb 2021 #8
The free market is moving them from WeAreProudNazis.com back to the gutters dalton99a Feb 2021 #9
I object to the phrase "deeper systemic issues" Cartoonist Feb 2021 #10
Valid points and evidences one of the biggest negatives Still Sensible Feb 2021 #11
You know what I hope we're risking? Mr.Bill Feb 2021 #12
you can only deal with the reality you have today. they are toxic and that needs shutting down. bullimiami Feb 2021 #13
Recommended. H2O Man Feb 2021 #14
Isn't that what the 17+ Intel agencies are for? leftstreet Feb 2021 #15
They will be splintered. LiberalFighter Feb 2021 #16
As long as the FBI and others are monitoring it. We need the Hortensis Feb 2021 #17
FBI probably could have stopped them with the current laws n/t leftstreet Feb 2021 #18
Perhaps, but no expert believes current laws are anything but Hortensis Feb 2021 #19
I agree with most replies so far - driving it underground cuts it off from most potential fuel muriel_volestrangler Feb 2021 #20
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