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Deplatforming is working—for now

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Jonathon Morgan, CEO of Yonder, a company that tracks misinformation campaigns, agrees. “In the coming months we can expect online disinformation campaigns to get more creative, more desperate, and harder to predict,” he says. “The spike in usage of messaging platforms like Telegram and Signal will be temporary. Most users will either settle on platforms with a social experience, like Gab, MeWe, or Parler, if it returns, or will migrate back to Twitter and Facebook.”

Experts say that while conservative extremists may be splintering onto different platforms and sites now, they’re likely to come back to mainstream platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube. “These far-right groups have hosted what they call Facebook walk outs multiple times and they never work because most of the older people don’t know how to find the other platforms and so they stay on Facebook,” says Paul.

Some higher profile right-wing extremists have suggested they might launch their own streaming network, but Donovan notes, that’s an extremely expensive prospect. More likely, they’ll find a way around a platform’s rules and quietly creep back on.

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