Policy vs reality: comparing the policies of social media sites and users’ experiences, in the context of exposure to extremist content

Thomas Williams, Calli Tzani, Helen Gavin, Maria Ioannou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Social media platforms have become a prominent feature in modern-day communication, allowing users to express opinion and communicate with friends and likeminded individuals. However, with this revolutionary form of communication comes risks of exploitation and utilisation of these platforms for potentially illegal and harmful means. This article aims to explore the community guidelines and policies of prominent social media sites regarding extremist material, comparing the platform’s policies with the user experiences. To measure social media user experience and user exposure to extremist material, this article pilots the use of a new scale: The Online Extremism Exposure Scale (OECE), which measures both the user’s exposure to extremist communication and hate speech online. Users reported varied levels of exposure to both hate speech and extremist communication, with. the results indicating that users in the sample are being exposed to extremist material approximately 48.44% of the time they spend on social media daily. The results of this pilot study highlight potential failings by prominent social media platforms in their efforts to reduce users being exposed to extremist material. Limitations, future research, and implications are discussed in detail.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalBehavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression
Early online date8 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Apr 2023

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