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Social Media Censorship in Times of Political Unrest - A Social Simulation Experiment with the UK Riots

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.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00682317
Contributor : Antonio A. Casilli <>
Submitted on : Monday, May 7, 2012 - 12:37:55 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 4:02:01 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, August 8, 2012 - 2:20:22 AM

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Antonio Casilli, Paola Tubaro. Social Media Censorship in Times of Political Unrest - A Social Simulation Experiment with the UK Riots. Bulletin de Méthodologie Sociologique / Bulletin of Sociological Methodology, SAGE Publications, 2012, 115 (1), pp.5-20. ⟨10.1177/0759106312445697⟩. ⟨hal-00682317⟩

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