July 2, 2013

Self-censorship on Facebook

AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM)

By: Sauvik Das, Adam D. I. Kramer

Abstract

We report results from an exploratory analysis examining “last-minute” self-censorship, or content that is filtered after being written, on Facebook. We collected data from 3.9 mil-lion users over 17 days and associate self-censorship behavior with features describing users, their social graph, and the interactions between them.

Our results indicate that 71% of users exhibited some level of last-minute self-censorship in the time period, and provide specific evidence supporting the theory that a user’s “perceived audience” lies at the heart of the issue: posts are censored more frequently than comments, with status updates and posts directed at groups censored most frequently of all sharing use cases investigated.

Furthermore, we find that: people with more boundaries to regulate censor more; males censor more posts than females and censor even more posts with mostly male friends than do females, but censor no more comments than females; people who exercise more control over their audience censor more content; and, users with more politically and age diverse friends censor less, in general.