Deplatforming, then, must be coupled with better, faster and more comprehensive data collection and analysis. Facebook, Twitter and others must also be more transparent about preserving evidence of account takedowns, so disinformation researchers can put the pieces together for a public thirsty for accountability from Silicon Valley.
While the tech industry must take more assertive action on moderation, policymakers must also acknowledge that the self-policing model adopted by Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon and others is broken. All sides would be better served by the adoption — and vigorous enforcement — of legal norms for online content moderation, incitement and expectations of privacy.
In the long run, this shift will also help Silicon Valley firms manage competing expectations from major global markets, which have often instituted much more aggressive government oversight. The question for the United States is whether the future of the internet runs toward Europe’s community-oriented version or Beijing’s authoritarian-empowerment model.