Moderating online extremism on fringe and mainstream platforms; An analysis of governance by Gab & Twitter
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In this research, I have compared the moderation on social media platforms Gab and Twitter. Twitter is a platform that has always promoted free speech but has increasingly strengthened its moderation to prevent harassment and misuse of the platform. Gab was created as an alternative for Twitter and promises free speech and minimal moderation. It is a platform that welcomes users who have been banned from other social media platforms. An analysis of the guidelines and affordances of Gab and Twitter shows that both of these platforms have had to adjust their moderation strategies to ensure the online safety of the users. Twitter makes an effort to increase the safety in response to user complaints. Gab has had to reinforce its moderation because of complaints from partnering companies that host the site. After many companies have parted ways with Gab because of controversies and because of the amount of hateful content that the site allows, Gab is looking for ways to host the platform outside of the web infrastructure of the big companies. I argue that the developments of fringe platforms like Gab are a reason for more profound research of the motivations of these platforms and the role that they fulfil within the online public discourse.