Away from the vitriol, researchers are investigating concrete steps companies, officials and the rest of us can take to tackle the crisis
It was nearing midnight on Tuesday 12 January when the final plank of Donald Trump’s social media platform fell away. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, Snapchat and, finally, YouTube had all come to the same conclusion: that their platforms – multibillion dollar American companies that dominate American political discourse – could not be safely used by the president of the United States.
In less than a week, a new president will take office. But considering the role social media played in elevating Trump to the presidency and its part in spreading misinformation, conspiracy theories and calls for violence, it is clear that the end of the Trump presidency won’t provide an immediate fix. There is something fundamentally broken in social media that has allowed us to reach this violent juncture, and the de-platforming of Trump is not going to address those deeper pathologies.