Does social media censorship cause extremism?

John Koetsier
2 min readJul 12, 2022

Talking to the black musician who makes KKK members rethink racism

Why are we so divided? Whether it’s the war in Ukraine or Covid or the 2020 U.S. election or Black Lives Matter or abortion, it feels like there have never been such great divisions in society.

I recently had an opportunity to speak with Daryl Davis, a blues, jazz, rock, and swing musician who played for Chuck Berry for 32 years. He’s also a black man who has convinced 200 members of the KKK that racism just doesn’t make sense. And Davis, who I spoke to along with alternative social network CEO Bill Ottman, has some ideas about what allows extremism to flourish.

“It’s when the conversation ceases that the ground becomes fertile for violence,” Davis says on the TechFirst podcast. “A missed opportunity for dialogue is a missed opportunity for conflict resolution … if you spend five minutes with your worst enemy, you’ll find something in common. And that chasm, that gap begins to narrow. Spend another five minutes, you find more in common and it closes in more.”

There’s a strong perception among people who identify with the right side of the political spectrum that the major social platforms from big tech companies censor or limit their political speech. Former president Donald Trump launched a class action lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube last year, and tens of thousands of Americans submitted examples of what they considered to be evidence. Elon Musk has slammed Twitter’s alleged “strong left wing bias.”

Whether they’re right or not, there’s no doubt that Facebook and other social media giants are intervening more and more in the content they publish, whether gun ownership second-Amendment posts or information about how to access abortion pills in a post Roe v. Wade world.

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John Koetsier

Senior contributor @ Forbes. Host of the TechFirst podcast. Find me here: