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Social media censorship in times of political unrest: a social simulation experiment with the UK riots

Social media censorship in times of political unrest: a social simulation experiment with the UK riots

Casilli, Antonio A. and Tubaro, Paola (2012) Social media censorship in times of political unrest: a social simulation experiment with the UK riots. Bulletin of Sociological Methodology / Bulletin de Méthodologie Sociologique, 115 (1). pp. 5-20. ISSN 0759-1063 (Print), 2070-2779 (Online) (doi:10.1177/0759106312445697)

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Abstract

Following the 2011 wave of political unrest, extending from the Arab Spring to the UK riots, the formation of a large consensus around Internet censorship is underway. The present paper adopts a social simulation approach to show that the decision to “regulate”, filter or censor social media in situations of unrest changes the pattern of civil protest and ultimately results in higher levels of violence. Building on Epstein's (2002) agent-based model, several alternative scenarios are generated. The systemic optimum, represented by complete absence of censorship, not only corresponds to lower levels of violence over time, but allows for significant periods of social peace after each outburst.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: UK 2011 riots, internet censorship, agent-based modelling, social simulation, social media, flash mobs
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business > Centre for Business Network Analysis
Faculty of Business > Department of International Business & Economics
Faculty of Business
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 16:10
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/7939

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