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De-Platforming as a Positive Tendency

Introduction

Social media and web resources are significant sources of information and considered places where any opinion can be shared with the community. It is a widespread issue that some platforms users utilize their accounts to promote ideas that can be regarded as offensive and unacceptable or even extremism. One of the regularly implemented methods of combating controversial speakers is de-platforming. This approach implies banning account that promotes and share violent views or restricting the ability of some users to communicate (Honigberg, 2021). This essay will examine the necessities for de-platforming and its expected consequences to display the implementation of this approach as a positive tendency. A discussion of the viability of the method as a solution to an issue with an increased level of toxicity in social media will be provided.

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The Discussion of De-Platforming as a Positive Tendency

Reasons for the Implementation of De-Platforming

It is possible to outline a set of reasons that reveal the significance of measures that would prevent social media from becoming a source of violence that can potentially be harmful to society. According to Ali et al., “Over the past years, toxic activity on social media like hate speech, cyberbullying, and harassment, has become an increasingly important problem” (187). It implies that there is a tendency that some users violate a platforms’ terms of service, and their illegal behavior’s manifestations make a community more vulnerable to antisocial events and ideas. De-platforming is also seen as an attempt to end sharing of disinformation through social media, which often occur. For instance, there are many controversial influencers on such mainstream media sites as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, which contribute to the discussion of social and other events, confusing readers with unapproved information (Shagun et al.). Therefore, there is a substantial issue nowadays: a high level of toxicity on the Internet. Contributing to an opportunity to share ideas freely on web resources, such a tendency makes it justified to utilize de-platforming to combat the controversial users.

The Expected Consequences of De-Platforming

Implementation of de-platforming has a clearly defined goal that is to reduce the level of toxicity in social media by restricting or banning users whose behavior is considered to be violent and inappropriate. The desired outcome of de-platforming is the substantial decrease in the number of social posts that promote or provoke toxic behavior. For instance, the research conducted by Shagun et al. reveals the efficiency of de-platforming. The analysis of activity regarding the banned influencers because of the tweets that contain offensive ideas shows that the number of users tweeting about those persons reduced by 90% approximately.

The other examples of consequences de-platforming may bring are revealed in the article by Ali et al., where the behavior of banned influencers is investigated. The scientific work provides evidence that most of the restricted users created a new account on another platform, still contributing to the issue. Moreover, influencers that were de-platformed continue to create posts with the same level of toxicity, and their activity has not been changed despite the banning (Ali et al., 191). However, it is revealed that the number of followers who support offensive ideas is reduced significantly after each act of de-platforming (Ali et al., 191). It implies that the expected outcomes can be achieved, and the implementation of de-platforming is proved to be useful, but it does not eliminate inappropriate behavior entirely.

Can De-Platforming be Considered a Solution

Considered the above-mentioned evidence, it is possible to examine if de-platforming is the solution to the issue. Banning controversial speakers proved to be effective in the short term, as most influencers create new accounts on other platforms after being restricted (Crews; Rogers). The policy of de-platforming can assist in managing a community with an increased level of toxicity for some time, but it is more likely that his approach cannot improve the situation independently eventually (Sprague). At the same time, making content posting rules stricter can be considered censoring and a violation of individuals’ rights. Moreover, the migration of influencers to privacy-focused platforms can be associated with a deterioration of the harmful online behavior issue. Therefore, despite being an effective short-term solution intended to prevent the sharing of violent ideas and extremism, de-platforming is not proved to be a universal method of managing inappropriate behavior and requires additional approaches implementation.

Conclusion

De-platforming is a widespread approach to manage the situation with an increased level of toxicity in social media by banning accounts of influencers who promote and share controversial ideas. It is expected from the method to reduce the number of users supporting extremism and sharing disinformation as it is considered a severe issue in the contemporary world. It is proved, by scientific researches, that de-platforming can substantially reduce inappropriate activity and reduce the number of controversial influencers’ followers. However, it is not possible, with this approach, to prevent the toxicity level from rising entirely, as banned users tend to created new accounts on other platforms and continue posting and sharing illegal ideas. Therefore, de-platforming is a necessary short-term approach, and its implementation is a positive tendency, which should be contributed by other means of toxicity prevention.

Works Cited

Ali, Shiza, et al. “Understanding the Effect of Deplatforming on Social Networks”. Web Science, 2021, pp.187-195.

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Crews, Clyde, W. “The Case against Social Media Content Regulation: Reaffirming Congress’ Duty to Protect Online Bias, ‘Harmful Content,’ and Dissident Speech from the Administrative State”. Issue Analysis, vol.4, 2020, pp.1-34. Web.

Honigberg, Brad. Why Deplatforming Just Isn’t Enough. CSIS, 2021.

Jhaver, Shagun, et al. “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Deplatforming as a Moderation Strategy on Twitter”. Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact, vol.5, no.2, 2021, pp.380-210.

Rogers, Richard. “Deplatforming: Following extreme Internet celebrities to Telegram and alternative social media”. European Journal of Communication, vol. 35, no.3, 2020, pp.213-229.

Sprague, Robert. Normalizing De-Platforming: The Right Not to Tolerate the Intolerant. 2021. Phd Dissertation. The University of Wyoming.

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