Humanity corrupts networks, which are not inherently toxic.

The debate on social networks can be tiring, especially when discussions become heated. But are the platforms and their algorithms responsible for the toxic environment that often arises in online interactions? A recent study published in Nature sheds light on this issue, examining various behaviors to better understand where online toxicity originates.

The researchers analyzed over 500 million threads, messages, and conversations in English on eight platforms over 34 years, including Facebook, Reddit, Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube. They found that toxicity is not a result of the networks themselves but rather stems from human behavior. This suggests that despite changes in networks and social norms over time, certain toxic behaviors persist in online discussions.

Walter Quattrociocchi, a professor at Sapienza University in Rome and co-author of the study, emphasizes that while human behavior contributes to online toxicity, it does not mean that all online interactions are doomed to be toxic. The findings could help social platforms moderate content to minimize toxic behavior and promote healthier discussions online.

By Riley Johnson

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