How do you get rid of hate speech on social platforms? Until now, companies have generally tried two approaches. One is to ban individual users who are caught posting abuse; the other is to ban the large pages and groups where people who practice hate speech organize and promote their noxious views.
But what if this approach is counterproductive? That’s the argument in an intriguing new paper out today in Nature from Neil Johnson, a professor of physics at George Washington University, and researchers at GW and the University of Miami. The paper, “Hidden resilience and adaptive dynamics of the global online hate ecology,” explores how hate groups organize on Facebook and Russian social network VKontakte — and how they resurrect themselves after platforms ban them.