Tech 24

The deplatforming phenomenon

Julia Sieger
Julia Sieger © FRANCE 24

In this edition, we look more closely at the digital insurrection that has occurred in the last few days, as several companies decided to ban the US president from their platforms because of comments igniting hate. Did it infringe on free speech or was it a legitimate move? Regardless of one's opinion, it marks a turning point for digital speech and a power shift towards Silicon Valley tech giants.

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But first, the Consumer Electronics Show 2021 has unsurprisingly displayed a multitude of Covid-19-related robots and gadgets, as well as products that make it easier to work from home. There has nonetheless also been more of the usual suspects, from endless laptops and TVs to smart fridges and the much-awaited flying car. Peter O'Brien brings us a report about the must-see items of this year's trade show. 

We also talk to Craig Chapple, Mobile Insights Strategist at Sensor Tower, about the surge in downloads of messaging platforms like Signal and Telegram following a controversial update to WhatsApp's terms and conditions. The app sent a notification to its two billion users asking them to allow it to share data with its parent company Facebook. A move that pushed many to turn away from the platform. 

Finally, some people may be voluntarily leaving these platforms while others are being forced off them for views that are considered inappropriate or for inciting violence. This phenomenon is called deplatforming and it refers to platforms removing controversial accounts with masses of followers or blocking entire sites. It's a trend that's not new but has gained attention after the tech world came out in force against Donald Trump following the storming of the US Capitol. 

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