A study of the mechanism behind the censorship in China

September 10th, 2013   Theme: Internet Freedom

Gary King, Jennifer Pan and Margaret Roberts recently made an experimental study of censorship in China with deeper analysis on which criteria published material being censored on the internet. With the already known fact that the system is based on passive, observational methods, with well known inferential limitations, they generated casual and descriptive inferences through participation and experimentation. They did among others create numerous accounts on social media sites, submitting different randomly assigned types of social media texts and from there on detecting which types particularly being censored.  They did also set up confidential interviews and meetings with Chinese firms to install the same censoring technologies as existing sites, pretending to set up their own social media site in China. They came to conclusion that material that criticizes the state, its leaders, and their policies are more likely being published than material with collective action and that social media sites have more flexibility than was previously understood.

Read more about the Harvard study

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