Read more from Author Rachel Maga here:

The United States is now on the verge of the greatest democracy since the Civil War. Social media companies are struggling to build a patchwork defense against situations they never thought they would never visit.

As an emergency measure in the third week of January, many of the major platforms removed the US president from the platform and suddenly put in place strict rules against conspiracy theories, violent threats, and armed riot movements. These violent movements and signs have been proliferating on these social media for years. But less than a week later, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Google are all historic intentions for the stability and physical appearance of the United States. I made a decision. Snapchat, TikTok, Reddit and even Pinterest have taken their own actions to prevent terrorist programs from hatching on each platform.

Currently in standby mode. For more than a week after the devastating mobs of Trump supporters struck the symbolic seats of the US legislature, the Internet has been holding its breath, but the day of a strongly fortified inauguration ceremony is approaching. It was.


Image credit: SAUL LOEB / AFP / Getty Images

What remains even now

Last week, the world’s largest social network was flooded with images suggesting a continuation of the event. A digital flyer on Facebook urged “armed marches to parliament and parliament in all states,” insisting on a dangerous and false conspiracy theory that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

According to Facebook, the company is exploring the source of a flyer calling for “Stop the Steal” with the same digital fingerprinting it used to remove ISIS and al-Qaeda terrorist content. The flyers the company has seen so far are calling for a national event on January 17th and a national event on January 18th in Virginia and Washington, DC on the day of the inauguration.

Facebook’s new initiative has been partially effective. One of TechCrunch’s favorite flyers on the platform has been removed from a user’s feed this week. Several “Stop the Steal” groups that we saw in December 2020 were also suddenly taken offline earlier this week, following the company’s more compulsory actions. But as a precursor, many groups are spending a lot of time trying to promote their names and bring in other followers.

The day for the president’s replacement is just around the corner, but the collection of acronym-filled long tongues promoting the far-right group QAnon and the eccentric mainstream conspiracy theory by Trump supporters It remains as it is and is easy to find. On a page with 2500 followers, QAnon followers emphasized the already unsupported theory that it was the anti-fascists who attacked the Capitol, US time (where the Capitol attack took place) 1 He claims that the 6th of March was a “trap.”


Image Credit: Win McNamee / Getty Images

Another QAnon group has posted an ominous post to Congress saying, “I found a way to end this monkey play! Your life is over!” The followers of this elaborate conspiracy theory were also quite present among the horrific mobs in the Capitol. I found it with a big “Q” and a T-shirt maniac slogan.

Regarding the extremists on Facebook, the company is currently working with terrorist experts and law enforcement officials to “prevent direct threats to the public.” The company also works with several partners to look at violent content originating from other platforms, the company said.

Facebook’s efforts are slow and uneven, but it’s better than the company so far. For Trump supporters, it’s a step taken from a major social network, and the far-right social networks Parler and Gab are gone, forcing them to find another way without resorting to Silicon Valley.

Social media migration

There has been a big move this week to telegram and Signal messaging apps that can protect your privacy, but their user experience (UX) is quite different from Facebook and Twitter. According to some experts watching social networks, the move is temporary and not permanent.

For example, Yonder CEO Jonathan Morgan said, “Many users will settle in social experiences like Gab, MeWe, and Parler, and people who go back and move to Twitter and Facebook. There are many. ”

Yonder uses AI to analyze the online connections of social groups and their topics. There is also a violent conspiracy theory. According to Morgan, the “behavioral Internet warriors” who scatter propaganda are making a lot of noise online. But their performance wouldn’t be possible without an audience. Some are more quiet and more terrifying.

“Looking at the Capitol raids, the different types of engagement clearly show the division of these groups. Large groups cheering for extremists do not enter the Capitol. For performance purposes. Active Internet warriors are crazy about taking selfies. Armed groups carry flex cuffs. The “cohesion band” referred to in many social conversations is a mistake. The handcuffs are probably to restrain the hostages, “Morgan said.

“If many of our users (large groups) have a destination, it’s Parler, and some go to apps like MeWe that mimic the social experience of Twitter and Facebook.”

According to Morgan, research shows that keeping out of the platform is still an effective method for militants and conspiracy theorists. “Technology companies like Airbnb and AWS will have less chance of violence going forward.”

That way you can clean up the platform to get rid of dangerous thought messages, but Morgan says this method can intensify extremist fanaticism. Groups that have been divided and diversified due to recent changes in the platform are scattered here and there. And their behavior becomes increasingly desperate and unpredictable.

Platform eviction is effective but also risky

According to Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, social media companies still need a lot of preparation during their inauguration week. “The punitive attitudes of social media platforms are not at all effective in responding to parliamentary riots,” Greenblatt said.

He warns that changes are needed, but we must be prepared for the evolution of online militants into a more fragmented ecosystem. Their echo chambers are getting smaller and louder, reducing large and organized threats, but rather increasing threats for small groups.

Such a split will allow people to communicate with each other via crypto apps, Greenblatt said. Closed communication that does not leak to the outside strengthens mutual ties, makes it possible to speak violent thoughts safely, and makes it easier to organize future events and plan riots.

In the past few weeks, social media companies have taken significant steps based on their own standards, but social networks are now interested in political violence in the United States, but a convenience for violence abroad. Has a long history of providing.

Greenblatt has repeatedly complained that companies are hiring more human moderators. Extremist experts have often made this proposal. According to Greenblatt, social media can take steps such as delaying streaming in preparation for the inauguration week. The emergency response team can be helped by such measures to suspend more accounts instead of responding to individual content on a case-by-case basis.

“Social platforms haven’t yet provided any transparency (to the outside world) about what they’ve learned from last week’s violence against Congress,” Greenblatt said.

“We know what they have to do and the bare minimum they can do. If these platforms provide transparency and insight into what they have gained through them, we can probably make more powerful suggestions. Let’s do it. ”


Categorized in: