According to one of Twitter’s top executives, there’s no denying that social media platforms can, in some cases, help radicalize people.
“I think that there is content on Twitter and every [social media] platform that contributes to radicalization, no doubt,” said Vijaya Gadde, who is Twitter’s top legal counsel and oversees its policy arm, as well as its health and safety efforts. “I also think we have a lot of mechanisms and policies in place that we enforce very effectively that combat this,” she added.
Gadde was speaking onstage at the Code Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Monday, with Twitter’s product lead Kayvon Beykpour, as well as Recode’s Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka. Gadde said Twitter has taken down 1.6 million accounts for terrorism-related reasons, and that over 90 percent of those removed accounts were detected by Twitter’s own technology proactively without depending on user reports.
Twitter, along with Facebook, YouTube, and virtually every other social media network, has faced ongoing challenges with how to deal with hate speech and disinformation on its platform.
Some have critiqued the company for, in their view, moving too slowly in removing white supremacist content, in particular. Last month, Motherboard revealed that the company is working with outside researchers to study how white nationalists and supremacists use the platform. Facebook and YouTube have both added more restrictions on white supremacist content in recent months. Gadde said onstage that Twitter has banned over 110 violent extremist groups under their policies, and that 90 percent of those groups are white supremacists or white nationalist groups.
More broadly, Twitter has launched efforts to measure and encourage healthier conversation on its platform, but its progress has been slow, as Recode reported back in March.
Meanwhile, President Trump and other Republicans have accused the company of having an anti-conservative bias, which the company has repeatedly denied. In April, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey met with President Trump to discuss the platform’s health.
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