Banning Trump from Social Media Could Have a Downside
Colarossi, J. (2021, January 8). Banning Trump from social media makes sense. But beware the downside. Boston University. https://www.bu.edu/articles/2021/trump-banned-from-twitter-facebook/
After an angry mob attacked the US capitol, Twitter and Facebook suspended Trump from using their platforms. Whereas Twitter went ahead to ban Trump permanently, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that he would be banned from their platform until at least the end of his term on January 20. The author mentions that the events at the Capitol were a direct reaction to words repeatedly shared by Trump on social media such as claims about election fraud. A Boston University College of Engineering assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, Gianluca Stringhini, said that although banning Trump’s account was the right call, he thought that it could have unforeseen consequences. The professor has been studying online disinformation, hate speech and radicalization. In one of his works studying what can unfold after online platforms ban radical platforms, the findings show that banning the groups significantly decreased posting activity, caused a reduction in number of posts, reduced active users, and new users/signups. The findings also concluded that those social media users that migrated to the donald.win as a result exhibited signs of increased toxicity and radicalization. The professor felt that the research findings paint a nuanced image of the aftermath of moderation and should be used to help inform decisions that social media platforms and government officials make when dealing with hateful and false messages. When asked if banning Trump was a good idea, the professor stated that many people supporting Trump will feel like they are being censored. Also, if Trump happens to migrate to another platform, there are increased chances that a large group of his supporters will follow him. He said that they noticed a huge migration to Parler after continued flagging of Trump's election fraud related posts after the 2020 elections.