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School of Communication and Media, Montclair State University


Unmoderated social media platforms frequently become a haven for misinformation, extremism, and hate. There are challenges unique to unmoderated social media platforms that make the removal of such content and the users who spread it particularly difficult (Artime et al., 2020). When a platform’s focus is unrestricted expression from users, those looking to share and spread antisocial content will presumably use such spaces to share perspectives that would likely be restricted on other platforms. Historically, examples of such “free speech absolutist” spaces suggest that this threat is very real. Specifically, 4chan serves as a space where online anonymity coupled with limited restrictions on speech has allowed virulent hate content to be shared without fear of platform response (Tuters & Hagen, 2020). 4chan has hosted a range of antisocial content including the call for the abuse of women (Milanović, 2021), hostility towards the trans community (Sparby, 2017), aggressive antisemitism (Tuters & Hagen 2020), and white nationalism (Thorleifsson, 2022). Other less moderated online spaces emphasizing open exchange have produced similar results (Urman & Katz, 2022).