How We Express Ourselves Freely: Censorship, Self-censorship, and Anti-censorship on a Chinese Social Media

24 Nov 2022  ·  Xiang Chen, Jiamu Xie, Zixin Wang, Bohui Shen, Zhixuan Zhou ·

Censorship, anti-censorship, and self-censorship in an authoritarian regime have been extensively studies, yet the relationship between these intertwined factors is not well understood. In this paper, we report results of a large-scale survey study (N = 526) with Sina Weibo users toward bridging this research gap. Through descriptive statistics, correlation analysis, and regression analysis, we uncover how users are being censored, how and why they conduct self-censorship on different topics and in different scenarios (i.e., post, repost, and comment), and their various anti-censorship strategies. We further identify the metrics of censorship and self-censorship, find the influence factors, and construct a mediation model to measure their relationship. Based on these findings, we discuss implications for democratic social media design and future censorship research.

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Computers and Society Social and Information Networks Applications


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