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News Censorship in Social Networks: A Study of Circumvention in the Commentsphere

David Schwartz, Bar-Ilan University - Graduate School of Business Administration
Ghal Silverman, Bar Ilan University
Inbal Yahav, Bar-Ilan University - Graduate School of Business Administration

Sponsored by Institute for the Study of the Judiciary,
Politics, and the Media (IJPM) at Syracuse University

"News Censorship in Social Networks: A Study of Circumvention in the Commentsphere" Free Download

DAVID SCHWARTZ, Bar-Ilan University - Graduate School of Business Administration
GHAL SILVERMAN, Bar Ilan University
INBAL YAHAV, Bar-Ilan University - Graduate School of Business Administration

We study the interplay between online news, reader comments, and social networks, to detect and characterize a new form of unintentional information leakage - the accidental disclosure of confidential information not intended for public release. The military and judiciary use censorship to maintain security. Non-identification by name is considered necessary protection for certain personnel, witnesses, minors, victims or suspects. Examining 3582 comments made on 48 articles containing obfuscated terms collected from 37 news organization Facebook pages, we find that a systematic examination of comments can compromise censorship. We identify and categorize unintentional information leakage in comments indicative of knowledge of censored information. Our findings support using memory theories regarding familiarity, recall, and ‘feelings of knowing’ in the analysis of comments.


About this eJournal

Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics, and the Media (IJPM) at Syracuse University.

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Advisory Board

Law, Politics & the Media eJournal

Reporter, SCOTUSblog

John F. Kimberling Professor of Law, Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington

Supreme Court Correspondent, Legal Times/Incisive Media

Gordon Hirabayashi Professor for Advancement of Citizenship; Director, Comparative Law and Society Studies (CLASS) Center, University of Washington - Department of Political Science

William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence & Political Science, Amherst College