Community Issues

Study Raises Questions on the Best Way to Fight Hate Online

ADL: Censoring hate speech can lead to unintended consequences


The consequences of banning users who spread hate speech from platforms like Twitter are complicated.That's according to a new study from the Anti-Defamation League.

In fact, the ADL found that when Twitter forces out hateful extremists it often leads them to other platforms, notably Gab. Gab is a social media platform that claims to celebrate free speech, but critics argue has become a safe haven for white supremacists and other extremists to publish their views. The alleged shooter in the Tree of Life massacre was active on Gab, posting in the hours leading up to the shooting that left 11 dead at the Pittsburgh synagogue .

The ADL says that Twitter de-platforms a group of users, Gab often treats those moments as recruitment opportunities...While there are benefits to others on Twitter not seeing hateful content, we also should be concerned about the impact on those who migrate to another platform that is even more hateful.

The study does not offer a conclusion on whether de-platforming is the best approach to combating hate online, but says that unintended consequences need to be considered by tech companies

You can read the complete study here .

On Monday night, Duquesne University will host a symposium and panel discussion on anti-Semitism and free speech in the United States .

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