Social Media Moderations, User Ban, and Content Generation: Evidence from Zhihu

Xiaohui Zhang, Zaiyan Wei, Qianzhou Du, Zhongju Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Social media platforms have evolved as major outlets for many entities to distribute and consume information. The content on social media sites, however, are often considered inaccurate, misleading, or even harmful. To deal with such challenges, the platforms have developed rules and guidelines to moderate and regulate the content on their sites. In this study, we explore user banning as a moderation strategy that restricts, suspends, or bans a user who the platform deems as violating community rules from further participation on the platform for a predetermined period of time. We examine the impact of such moderation strategy using data from a major Q&A platform. Our analyses indicate that user banning increases a user's contribution after the platform lifts the ban. The magnitude of the impact, however, depends on the user's engagement level with the platform. We find that the increase in contributions is smaller for a more engaged user. Additionally, we find that the quality of the user-generated content (UGC) decreases after the user ban is lifted. Our research is among the first to empirically evaluate the effectiveness of platform moderations. The findings have important implications for platform owners in managing the content on their sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 55th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2022
EditorsTung X. Bui
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780998133157
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes
Event55th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2022 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Jan 3 2022Jan 7 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
ISSN (Print)1530-1605


Conference55th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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