Twitter is researching if white supremacists should be banned from its platform

A lot of the researchers who the site spoke to have said that Twitter's actions are "too little, too late."


In March this year, Facebook announced that it would be clubbing white nationalism and white supremacy and both would be banned on its platform. Twitter, on the other hand, had said that banning white supremacist content would end up banning a lot of Republican politicians — which the platform is already being accused of by the Twitter users on the right, including US President Donald Trump who had recently met up with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at the White House.

According to a report in Motherboard, Twitter is now conducting research to see if it should ban white nationalists and white supremacists on its platform. Twitter's head of trust and safety, legal and public policy, Vijaya Gadde told the site that Twitter is working with academics to conduct the research on whether white supremacists should be banned from the platform or allowed to stay so that their views can be debated by others.

The Twitter logo and stock prices are shown above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Image: Reuters

The Twitter logo and stock prices are shown above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Image: Reuters

Twitter hasn't named the external academicians it is working with for this project, but it's researching what role can Twitter play to come up with an optimal solution regarding white nationalists and supremacists. It wants to understand whether its theory of deradicalisation holds up.

"Is it the right approach to deplatform these individuals? Is the right approach to try and engage with these individuals? How should we be thinking about this? What actually works?" Gadde told Motherboard.

A lot of the researchers who the site spoke to have said that Twitter's actions are "too little, too late."

(Also Read: Facebook's banning of white nationalism could be a slippery slope towards indiscriminate censorship)

Twitter has deplatformed users like Milo Yiannoupoulos, Alex Jones, among others. It also faced flak from a lot of Indian right-wing users who called for the ban on Twitter as users felt that their voices were being controlled on the platform.

Recently, a Twitter employee had said that on a technical level, algorithms aggressively removing white supremacist content can wipe off content from Republican politicians. Banning politicians would not really be a great idea as a trade-off for flagging all white supremacist content. As it is, Twitter has been alleged by a lot of conservative users of being biased. None other than Trump, who has a massive Twitter following, has called out Twitter and other social media giants of having a Democrat bias.

Twitter continues to use human moderators, along with technology, to take a call on neo-Nazi or white supremacist content. Such kind of content, according to Twitter, also requires understanding the context and nuance, something that algorithms are not quite adept at.


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