Fear, Friction, and Flooding: Methods of Online Information Control

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Fear, Friction, and Flooding: Methods of Online Information Control

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Title: Fear, Friction, and Flooding: Methods of Online Information Control
Author: Roberts, Margaret Earling
Citation: Roberts, Margaret Earling. 2014. Fear, Friction, and Flooding: Methods of Online Information Control. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Research Data: http://dx.doi.org/10.7910/DVN/25854
Abstract: Many scholars have speculated that censorship efforts will be ineffective in the information age, where the possibility of accessing incriminating information about almost any political entity will benefit the masses at the expense of the powerful. Others have speculated that while information can now move instantly across borders, autocrats can still use fear and intimidation to encourage citizens to keep quiet. This manuscript demonstrates that the deluge of information in fact still benefits those in power by observing that the degree of accessibility of information is still determined by organized groups and governments. Even though most information is possible to access, as normal citizens get lost in the cacophony of information available to them, their consumption of information is highly influenced by the costs of obtaining it. Much information is either disaggregated online or somewhat inaccessible, and organized groups, with resources and incentives to control this information, use information flooding and information friction as methods of controlling the cost of information for consumers. I demonstrate in China that fear is not the primary deterrent for the spread of information; instead, there are massively different political implications of having certain information completely free and easy to obtain as compared to being available, but slightly more difficult to access.
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:12274299
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