The Anti Defamation League (ADL) recently published a report stating the benefits of deplatforming extremist groups.
ADL defined deplatforming as “removing infrastructure services [extremist groups] need to operate, such as website hosting.”
ADL: Deplatforming extremist sites without notice helps make them less popular
One of the findings of the study is that deplatforming a group, especially without advanced notice, ultimately decreases the popularity of extremist websites. The report cites case studies evidencing this finding - the Daily Stormer, 8chan/8kun, TheDonald.win/Patriots.win, and Nicholas Fuentes/America First.
Our research shows that it’s harder for extremists to spread their ideologies, recruit adherents, and profit from hateful content without their websites. And it shows how unexpected deplatforming makes it difficult for extremist websites to build and retain followers.— ADL (@ADL) February 7, 2023
From the aforementioned case studies, it was found that popularity rankings immediately decreased after deplatforming. After replatforming, organizations struggled to regain popularity and sometimes never succeeded in regaining their following. Even when the original site has been replicated, the site’s audience is smaller and the running costs to maintain the sites are higher.
The Daily Stormer, originally created in 2013, was a neo-Nazi website deplatformed in 2017. The platform has had to use 16 different domain names and has lost much of its influence.
The influence of the organizations was measured against Alexa Top 1 Million and Cisco Umbrella Top Million. Both of these ranking sites are freely available to the public.
Freedom of speech
Private platforms are entitled to employ a terms of service agreement for people and organizations wishing to use their service. These conditions may include the prohibiting of incitement of violence or any other terms the private company desires. Violation of said policies is grounds to revoke the users’ use of the platform and is not a violation of free speech.