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The Social Media Purge: Why Now?

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Recently, social media and tech companies acted to de-platform Trump and many other right-wing extremists. This included banning Trump from Twitter and other platforms, purging others from social media, and refusing to host services like Parler. This is a marked change from their willingness to monetize many bad actors. To set the stage for the discussion to follow, I need to categorize the bad actors. The first group is composed of those who are motivated by ideology and use the internet to recruit, radicalize and redefine “reality.” They also tend to monetize their online activities (such as their YouTube videos). Members of this group are distinguished by having (or at least professing) a belief system. They are bad actors because they hold to morally wrong belief systems, such as racism and fascism and attempt to corrupt others into their evil. They also engage in deception, lying about their real beliefs and making untrue claims about the world. Tech companies were quite happy to allow these people to monetize their online activities—since they got the lion’s share of the income. YouTube provides an excellent example of such video content: right-wing recruitment and “reality” redefining videos fully monetized by Google. The second group is composed of bad actors who are non-ideological. While they might profess beliefs in their content, they are motivated by profit or the joys of trolling. The same person or group might create content aimed at both the right and the left; they do not care who enables them to profit or who they are trolling. The content often replicates that of the ideologically motivated and this can make it difficult to distinguish between the two groups. After all, a QAnon video might be created by a true Q believer or someone who also creates leftist themed videos to maximize their opportunities for profit. As with the ideological people, the tech companies were happy to make money of these people. The third group consists of bad state. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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