The Deplatforming Debate: What We Can Learn from Research on ISIS and the Alt Right

Amarnath Amarasingam / Jan 12, 2021

Following the decision of multiple social media platforms to remove or restrict Donald Trump’s accounts, the debate over the efficacy and ethics of deplatforming debate is renewed. As we consider current headlines, it is worthwhile to review the earlier work on the subject of how to deal with violent extremism on social media during the emergence of ISIS. What we have learned over the last six years might be useful today.

Many of the conclusions from the research listed above are relevant to understanding the far-right. Extremists get an immense amount of social and psychological benefit from being connected to like-minded people. Disrupting these networks is ultimately a good thing, but we need to think about how it impacts these individuals and how they may respond. Unintended consequences are indeed consequences.


Amarnath Amarasingam
Amarnath Amarasingam is an Assistant Professor in the School of Religion at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, and an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation. His research interests ...