On the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, Minds.com co-founder Bill Ottman and activist Daryl Davis unveiled their new #ChangeMinds deradicalization initiative. The goal of the project is to push back against de-platforming and to provide a space for people who have been radicalized by extremist groups to share their experiences and thoughts, with the ultimate hope of changing their views.
Davis is best known for his work engaging with members of the Ku Klux Klan, many of whom he has convinced to abandon their beliefs. Ottman believes that initiatives like #ChangeMinds are essential in combating extremism online and preventing people from being radicalized in the first place.
The team at Minds and Davis published a research paper outlining how “de-platforming actually intensifies extremism.” The study found that when extremist content is removed from social media platforms, it often leads to the creation of new, more extreme versions of the same content on different platforms.
The researchers argue that a new approach to online moderation is necessary, one that takes into account the long-term implications of the modern trend to shut down voices and celebrate de-platforming.
From the paper:
“The research found significant evidence that censorship and de-platforming can promote and amplify, rather than suppress, cognitive radicalization and even violent extremism. Shutting down accounts accused of violating hate-speech policies and misinformation often shifts those banned individuals to alternative platforms where their narrative of long-suffering victimhood is further refined.”