Six Million, Donald Trump, Amazon discussed on Consider This from NPR


Back to those bands put in place by social media sites in the following. The president's widespread d platforming on january eighth a company called signal labs found that misinformation across a few big social sites including facebook and twitter. Dropped seventy three percent. I think we just need to add some context to that university of washington. Professor kate star bird she researches misinformation on the what signals ups did was they took a measure of misinformation that was essentially just looking at keywords related to claims of election fraud and they looked at one week compared to the week before and A couple of things happened. That were different from one week to the next and that the suspension donald trump's account probably made a difference but it's hard to attribute all of that difference to just that one suspension because seventy thousand other accounts were taken out of the system. Now that doesn't mean she thinks d platforming isn't effective in slowing the flow of misinformation. At least in the short-term we spoke about whether it can work in the long term as well. I have a sense that that will have short term impact for sure what happens in the long term. I think is something we don't yet know. The answer to my expectation will be that if those suspensions stay in place if that vacuum isn't filled by other spreading misinformation and if the platforms can do a better job of not letting those networks build themselves back in that there will be a long-term benefit to the platforms. That did the d platforming. I'm asking because we're also seeing those who promoted The the violent uprising And new promoted q. On conspiracies flocked to other sites gab telegram me we is the solution to deeply form these people kind of everywhere they go or is it whack-a-mole there's a too big to get under control. I'm using this technique. I think we're going to find that there are other platforms that don't mind those kinds of conversations and in fact are designed for those conversations and if you consider sort of our values of freedom of speech and how those things work as long as they're within the law and those platforms want support that kind of speech that'll be a choice they make and perhaps we will see people that are that are d- platforms elsewhere find these other platforms as a place where they can move to but what that also does that means that the conversations that are happening on these larger more popular platforms where in the last few years. We've seen recruiting into these conversations. That recruiting won't be able to happen because those conversations won't be happening there. If this is a turning point what are you going to be listening for. That will give you the sense that it's a meaningful turning point. This is actually a really hard question because the research that we've been doing historically has been focused on publicly available data and what's what would happen if this is a turning point is our research methods aren't gonna be useful anymore because the content is going to go into other places and so f- for me it's actually to see you know in our research community the folks that are studying these sort of long tail platforms that are you know edgier the altech platforms. Are they the ones that are busiest right now. And and when that happens we can see that a turning point happened and what that means for society. I don't think we know yet. We're still gonna have struggle with some of these technology based toxicity is but they're gonna shift where they're at home. That's kate star bird at the university of washington as we mentioned new alternatives to facebook and twitter companies like gab telegram and me we are gaining new users by the millions but those companies have less experience moderating content than their larger more established competitors. Npr tech correspondent shannon. Bond has been looking into how one of those platforms is responding to the new attention and the new challenges. It's a social network called me. We bats me and we get it and in the past few weeks. Millions of people have signed up in twenty twenty. We went from six million to twelve million. And now we're already. It's the middle of january and we're already over fifteen half will mark weinstein launched me. We back in two thousand sixteen as an alternative to facebook focused on privacy. That means me. We doesn't harness users data to sell ads or decide what content to show them but privacy is not the only reason people are flocking to meet me right now along with other smaller social networks like gab and messaging apps like telegram it's become popular with trump supporters who are disillusioned with facebook and twitter. Cindy otis tracks online disinformation at the aletha group people are splintering off into us more fringe platforms that essentially have no content moderation or threat monitoring capability whatsoever when facebook banned groups for spreading false claims about election fraud and organizing. Stop the steel rallies. Some sent their members to me. We gab and parlor another alternative. Social app parlor recently went down after amazon refuse to host it because there was too much violent content. Weinstein says me. We is not parlor or gap for one thing. He says he's serious about putting limits on what people can say. I'm a firm believer moderation idol like sites or anything goes i've been quoted saying i think they're disgusting good people right and left and middle. Can't handle anything goes. We don't want to be around hate speech. We don't want to be around violence insiders. Mimi does have rules. But they're more lax than facebook and twitter the big platforms have banned the cunanan conspiracy for example. A step me. We has not taken in. Fact weinstein accuses facebook and twitter of political censorship which the companies deny. And i should note. Facebook is among npr's financial supporters me. We says it removes content accounts that violate its policies but journalists and researchers have found things like right wing militias and discussions of shooting people in a stop the steel group on me. We yes. you're right now. The influx of people like social media is messy. Some bad actors getting all over the place look at facebook and twitter. I think we're much more. Nimble than they are weinstein is hiring more moderators for his trust and safety team currently under one hundred people but experts say all social networks. Have to get much more serious about addressing harm by setting clear rules and making sure they can enforce them. Megan squire of elon. University studies online extremists. I think we all still treat social media companies like they're this inexpensive startup but they need to be treated more like starting in an airplane. Company urged company that makes cars. I mean you gotta think about seatbelt. She says the risk of not having strong online protections is clear. Just look at the insurrection. At the capitol. It's npr's shannon bond and additional reporting in. This episode came from npr. Business reporter bobby allen. You're listening to consider this from npr. I'm audie cornish. Consider this is a partnership between npr and wmu to help you understand the news that is happening around the world and here in the washington region. Police keep listening and downloading. We'll be here every wednesday afternoon with news about the washington region as well as your national news..

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