6 votes

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Deplatforming as a Moderation Strategy on Twitter [PDF]

5 comments

  1. [4]
    mtset
    Link
    This is not accurate, and given that it's the first sentence of the abstract, we're not off to a great start. Deplatforming refers to a diverse collection of tactics including banning people from...

    Deplatforming refers to the permanent ban of controversial public figures with large followings on social media sites

    This is not accurate, and given that it's the first sentence of the abstract, we're not off to a great start. Deplatforming refers to a diverse collection of tactics including banning people from social media, but its origins are older than that; even in the realm of social media, some of the most effective deplatforming efforts were by the Tumblr userbase, who during the time I was on Tumblr had an almost blanket rule against interacting in any way with people who espoused transphobic views. This was highly effective in removing TERFs from the platform without any buy-in from the site administration.

    We contribute a methodological framework to systematically examine the effectiveness of moderation interventions

    For me, this is the most exciting part of the paper. We need a comparable way to study content moderation, because having bought into essentially unmoderated corporate social media, it's the only way to salvage any kind of productivity or safety from our communication media.

    As a moderation strategy, deplatforming has recently been on the rise. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other platforms have all banned controversial influencers for
    spreading misinformation, conducting harassment, or violating other platform policies

    Again, this is not deplatforming; this is just actually enforcing their rules. It's fine to study that - indeed it's the baseline for any other moderation strategy - but deplatforming is something else.

    While much of the moderation research on social media platforms involves removing posts that do
    not comply with their guidelines or suspending spam accounts, moderation decisions like
    banning entire communities on Reddit or deplatforming influential public figures on Facebook or
    Twitter are more delicate.

    They even tell on themselves here. They call banning accounts "banning" or "suspending" when it doesn't have to do with Alex Jones, but somehow banning an account used by a celebrity is "deplatforming"? That don't make no snense.


    I think their methodology is largely fine, I didn't dig into their statistical methods too much, but basically I think the article is a great analysis of whether or not banning influential people for breaking the rules results in fewer people idolizing those people and breaking the rules. It's just not actually studying deplatforming.

    8 votes
    1. [3]
      cfabbro
      Link Parent
      Aren't you getting way too hung up on the semantics here? Deplatforming currently has a rather broad definition, and banning prominent people from a social media platform is considered one aspect...

      Aren't you getting way too hung up on the semantics here? Deplatforming currently has a rather broad definition, and banning prominent people from a social media platform is considered one aspect of it. E.g. from Merriam-Webster:

      Definition of deplatform

      transitive verb
      : to remove and ban (a registered user) from a mass communication medium (such as a social networking or blogging website)

      broadly : to prevent from having or providing a platform (see platform entry 1 sense 3) to communicate

      7 votes
      1. [2]
        mtset
        Link Parent
        Maybe. I just think we need a term that's specific to the second thing, because we often don't have the luxury of getting the platform to intervene - and when I first heard the word "deplatform",...

        Maybe. I just think we need a term that's specific to the second thing, because we often don't have the luxury of getting the platform to intervene - and when I first heard the word "deplatform", that's what it meant.

        6 votes
        1. cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Deplatforming as a whole is basically a combination of banning (from the platform owner side) and boycotting (from the platform users side), so wouldn't "boycotting" be adequate to describe the...

          Deplatforming as a whole is basically a combination of banning (from the platform owner side) and boycotting (from the platform users side), so wouldn't "boycotting" be adequate to describe the specific side of deplatforming that you're speaking of?

          p.s. Since this study is primarily about the effects that banning those particular users had on the platform, and their former followers still on the platform, I can see the justification for using "deplatforming" rather than just "banning" in the study title. Well, that and deplatforming is also a rather trendy word at the moment too, so using it is instead of banning is more likely to draw attention to the study. :/

          1 vote
  2. cfabbro
    Link

    Abstract

    Deplatforming refers to the permanent ban of controversial public figures with large followings on social media sites. In recent years, platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have deplatformed many influencers to curb the spread of offensive speech. We present a case study of three high-profile influencers who were deplatformed on Twitter---Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Owen Benjamin. Working with over 49M tweets, we found that deplatforming significantly reduced the number of conversations about all three individuals on Twitter. Further, analyzing the Twitter-wide activity of these influencers' supporters, we show that the overall activity and toxicity levels of supporters declined after deplatforming. We contribute a methodological framework to systematically examine the effectiveness of moderation interventions and discuss broader implications of using deplatforming as a moderation strategy.