The Technology 202: The Michigan kidnapping plot highlights Silicon Valley’s problem with extremism

Social media trails like these are becoming a recurrent feature in violent events ranging from synagogue massacres to bombing plots. 

“Before they become real, they percolate online, courtesy of a social media ecosystem that is ubiquitous, barely moderated and well suited to helping aggrieved people find each other,” my colleagues write. 

Experts in online extremism say the plot exposed by federal and state officials this week highlights the stakes for social media companies to address violent posts on their platform. 

“Social media companies have been allowing these communities to build and grow, ignoring the mounting evidence that memes, posts and images encouraging violence can and do translate into actual violence,” Cindy Otis, a former CIA analyst and vice president of analysis for the Alethea Group, which tracks online threats, told my colleagues. “Not only have many of these Michigan pages and groups been on Facebook for years, the Facebook algorithm

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