Jeremy Blackburn joined the Department of Computer Science at Binghamton University in fall 2019. Jeremy is broadly interested in data science, with a focus on large-scale measurements and modeling. His largest line of work is in understanding jerks on the Internet. His research into understanding toxic behavior, hate speech, and fringe and extremist Web communities has been covered in the press by The Washington Post, the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, the BBC and New Scientist, among others.
Shutting down social media platforms somewhat effective in curbing hate speech, but not a long-term solution
While deplatforming (shutting down social media platforms) can be effective in reducing users and content produced, it’s not a long-term solution for what is a very complex issue, according to Jeremy Blackburn, assistant professor of computer science at Binghamton University, State University of New York.
Platform banning can reduce growth of new users over time, and there is less content produced overall, said Blackburn, On the other hand, migrations do happen, and this is often a response to real world events – for example, a deplatformed personality who migrates to a new platform can trigger an influx of new users.
“Ultimately, it’s unlikely that deplatforming, while certainly easy to implement and effective to some extent, will be a long-term solution in and of itself,” said Blackburn. “Moving forward, effective approaches will need to take into account the complicated technological and social consequences of addressing the root problem of extremist and violent Web communities.”19 January 2021
120 million Parler posts reveal users shared content related to Donald Trump’s efforts to challenge election
In recent news, archivists have saved content by users on the social media platform Parler, which was booted by big tech companies like Apple and Amazon. Those posts largely revolve around support for Donald Trump and his efforts during the 2020 election, according to new research co-conducted by Jeremy Blackburn, assistant professor of computer science at Binghamton University, State University of New York.
Blackburn and fellow researchers performed the first-ever data-driven characterization of Parler, analyzing posts and metadata for users that joined the platform between 2018 and 2020. The researchers analyzed 120 million posts, revealing what users post most often about.
“We found that Parler users share content related to US politics, content that show support to Donald Trump and his efforts during the 2020 US elections, and content related to conspiracy theories,” said Blackburn. “Parler attracts the interest of conservatives, Trump supporters, religious, and patriot individuals.”12 January 2021