Research

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Deplatforming as a Moderation Strategy on Twitter

Deplatforming disrupts
ideas and support for
offensive influencers.

Best Paper Honorable Mention Award

Shagun Jhaver, Christian Boylston, Diyi Yang, and Amy Bruckman, “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Deplatforming as a Moderation Strategy on Twitter,” Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. 5, CSCW2, Article 381 (October 2021), 30 pages, DOI: 10.1145/3479525


Media coverage

Abstract

Deplatforming refers to the permanent ban of controversial public figures with large followings on social media sites. In recent years, platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have deplatformed many offensive influencers to curb the spread of offensive speech. We present a case study of three high-profile influencers who were deplatformed on Twitter—Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Owen Benjamin. Working with over 49M tweets, we found that deplatforming significantly reduced the number of conversations about all three influencers on Twitter. Further, analyzing the Twitter-wide activity of these influencers’ supporters, we show that the overall activity and toxicity levels of supporters declined after deplatforming. We contribute a methodological framework to systematically examine the effectiveness of moderation interventions and discuss broader implications of using deplatforming as a moderation strategy.

BibTeX citation

@article{Jhaver:2021Deplatforming,
    author = {Jhaver, Shagun and Boylston, Christian and Yang, Diyi and Bruckman, Amy},
    title = {Evaluating the Effectiveness of Deplatforming as a Moderation Strategy on Twitter},
    year = {2021},
    issue_date = {October 2021},
    publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery},
    address = {New York, NY, USA},
    volume = {5},
    number = {CSCW},
    url = {https://doi.org/10.1145/3479525},
    doi = {10.1145/3479525},
    journal = {Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact.},
    month = oct,
    articleno = {381},
    numpages = {30}
}