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GAFAM and Hate Content Moderation: Deplatforming and Deleting the Alt-right

Media and Law: Between Free Speech and Censorship

ISBN: 978-1-80071-730-5, eISBN: 978-1-80071-729-9

Publication date: 23 April 2021


Purpose – This chapter demonstrates the power that Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft (or the “GAFAM”) exercise over platforms within society, highlights the alt-right’s use of GAFAM sites and services as a platform for hate, and examines GAFAM’s establishment and use of hate content moderation apparatuses to de-platform alt-right users and delete hate content. Approach – Drawing upon a political economy of communications approach, this chapter demonstrates GAFAM’s power in society. It also undertakes a reading of GAFAM “terms of service agreements” and “community guidelines” documents to identify GAFAM hate content moderation apparatuses. Findings – GAFAM are among the most powerful platforms in the world, and their content moderation apparatuses are empowered by the US government’s cyber-libertarian approach to Internet law and regulation. GAFAM are defining hate speech, deciding what’s to be done about it, and censoring it. Value – This chapter probes GAFAM’s hate content moderation apparatuses for Internet platforms, and shows how GAFAM enable and constrain the alt-right’s hate speech on their platforms. It also reflexively assesses the politics of empowering GAFAM to de-platform the alt-right.



Mirrlees, T. (2021), "GAFAM and Hate Content Moderation: Deplatforming and Deleting the Alt-right", Deflem, M. and Silva, D.M.D. (Ed.) Media and Law: Between Free Speech and Censorship (Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance, Vol. 26), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 81-97.



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