On Topic is our weekly news digest. We reflect on what is happening and connect it to critical and creative views from our IMPAKT Archive. This week:
President Donald Trump is banned from Twitter, Instagram, and even YouTube temporarily suspended Trump’s account. Who could have thought that the president of the US would be deplatformed?
In the Radicalication by Design web-project we have extensively discussed the pro’s and cons of deplatforming. We also discussed the influence of trolls and their symbols, like the Kekistan flag that was weaved on Capitol hill past Thursday.
Do you want to go in-depth on social media and internet subcultures and their influence on contemporary politics? Hear what experts have to say about trolls carrying the Kekistan flag and learn all about the pro’s and cons of deplatforming in a lecture by Richard Rogers professor of New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam
Meanwhile, we also caught up with Richard Rogers about the recent events:
“The timing is remarkable and it strikes me as somewhat opportunistic on the part of Twitter. The platform has a separate world leader policy. The average user would have been deplatformed much sooner than Trump for the same behavior. So what about the platforms themselves? Will this finally be the boost or rise of the alternative social media ecology? And will this further fragment or “balkanize” social media? This is why I believe we should also talk about its effects on mainstream platforms specifically. Normally deplatforming “works” for mainstream platforms because it detoxifies them, it’s good for their public image; yet, not necessarily for the subcultures that use them.
By deplatforming, mainstream platforms seem to be tackling the problem. By applying this kind of self-regulation, they hope not to face the prospects of governmental regulation. That’s the main thing that they want to avoid. If they seem ahead of the problem, then deplatforming works for the mainstream platforms. I don’t know how well it works for society at large. I think events like storming the capitol building in Washington DC have given the social media platforms not only a sort of excuse, but they have given them more courage. I wouldn’t necessarily call it civil courage in the progressive sense of the word because these are companies that have historically been thriving on the motto of “anything goes.” I think that Twitter and Facebook are currently the strongest on content moderation, while the alternative Social Media are dissatisfied with the mainstream. Thus, you see a complex Social Media landscape developing…”
Discover more on the topic of deplatforming, social media and internet sub-cultures on Radicazation by Design