Tech Talker: Conspiracy Crackdown

Tech companies are grappling with how to stop the spread of conspiracy theories, hate speech and other violent rhetoric in the wake of the January 6th assault on the U.S. Capitol. NBC's Liz McLaughlin reports.

(NBC News) — As the Biden administration encourages Americans to come together in the wake of a divisive election season, political discourse on social media remains divisive.

The January 6th assault on the U.S. Capitol showed that misleading messages can be amplified online, leading to deadly results.

“It intensifies anger, it intensifies impulses,” says Quinnipiac University professor Rich Hanley.

Tech companies reacted by clamping down on content, including removing former President Trump from social media platforms and forcing Parler offline.

According to a new Harris poll, 37 percent of Americans say they approve of those actions, while 28 percent say they’ve gone too far. Another 23 percent say the companies aren’t doing enough.

“What we need is for this to be a standard practice year-round, and not just after violence or tragedy,” argues Oren Segal of the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism.

According to Reboot Foundation, a research institution focused on misinformation, the damage may already be done, even after harmful messages are taken down.

“Even for those who initially, instinctively don’t believe a piece of information, they may gradually be convinced that it might be a fact,” says Reboot’s Helen Lee Bouygues.

Read more here.