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Why Net Censorship in Times of Political Unrest Results in More Violent Uprisings: A Social Simulation Experiment on the UK Riots

17 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2011  

Antonio A. Casilli

Telecom ParisTech

Paola Tubaro

CNRS; University of Greenwich

Date Written: August 14, 2011

Abstract

Following the 2011 wave of political unrest, going from the Arab Spring to UK riots, the formation of a large consensus around Internet censorship is underway. Beyond all political consideration of consequences in terms of freedom of expression, the present paper adopts a social simulation approach to show that the decision to "regulate" or restrict social media in situations of civil unrest results in higher levels of violence. Building on Epstein's (2002) agent based model, several alternative scenarios are generated. Systemic optimum, represented by complete absence of censorship, not only corresponds to lower levels of violence over time, but allows for significant cant periods of social peace after each outburst.

Keywords: UK riots, Arab Spring, civil violence, Internet censorship, agent-based modelling, social simulation, social media tactical media, flash mobs.

Suggested Citation

Casilli, Antonio A. and Tubaro, Paola, Why Net Censorship in Times of Political Unrest Results in More Violent Uprisings: A Social Simulation Experiment on the UK Riots (August 14, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1909467 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1909467

Antonio A. Casilli (Contact Author)

Telecom ParisTech ( email )

46 rue Barrault
F-75634 Paris, Cedex 13
France

Paola Tubaro

CNRS ( email )

Bureau 2051/DIG-Moulon
LRI, Bâtiment 660, Université Paris Sud
Orsay, 91405
France
+33(0)169155774 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.lri.fr/membre.php?mb=2133

University of Greenwich ( email )

Park Row, Greenwich
London, SE10 9LS
United Kingdom

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