Social Media Moderation and Content Generation: Evidence from User Bans

Prof. Qianzhou DU, Assistant Professor, Nanjing University

Date:         16 February 2023 (Thursday)
Time:        10:30am – 11:30am
Venue:      Online via Zoom
Host:         Prof. Yan LIN, Assistant Professor of Business Intelligence and Analytics
Zoom Link: https://umac.zoom.us/j/97248746059


Social media platforms have evolved as major outlets for users to distribute and consume information. However, some content on social media sites is considered inaccurate, misleading, or even harmful. To deal with such challenges, platforms often implement various strategies to moderate the content on their sites. This study focuses on user bans, a common but controversial moderation strategy that suspends rule-violating users from further participation on the platform for a predetermined period. Specifically, we investigate the impacts of the moderation strategy on banned users’ content generation behavior (both quantity and quality) after the bans are lifted. We leverage the reactance theory to theorize people’s responses to user bans. We devise multiple empirical strategies to analyze data from a major social questions & answers (Q&A) platform. Results show that, on average, users generate more content after the bans are lifted. In contrast, there is no evidence of changes in content quality. We further find that a good user-platform relationship can alleviate users’ reactance towards user bans. Specifically, users, who received platform recognitions (e.g., badges and recommendations) before, would reduce inappropriate postings and improve the content quality after the bans. Additionally, we explore the heterogeneous effects of user bans for different reasons and repeated bans. Our research is among the first to evaluate the effectiveness of individual-level user bans on social media. The findings have important implications for platform owners to manage the content on their sites.


Dr. Qianzhou Du is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Marketing and E-commerce, Nanjing University, China. He obtained his Ph.D. in the Department of Business Information Technology at Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech. His research interests include text mining, social media analytics, fintech, crowd wisdom, and open innovation. His research has appeared in Production and Operations Management, Journal of Management Information Systems, Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, Information Systems Journal, Tourism Management, International Journal of Hospitality Management, and Journal of Information Technology & Tourism, etc. In addition, he has published papers in the conference proceedings, such as International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), China Summer Workshop on Information Management (CSWIM), and Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS). He is also a member of Beta, Gamma, Sigma (BGS).

All are welcome!