Censoring social media fans flames social unrest

Last Updated: Wed, Jul 04, 2012 12:20 hrs

Uncensored citizens experience less violence and longer periods of peace between outbursts than communities subject to censorship, according to a new research.

The new research has appeared in the Bulletin of Sociological Methodology, which was published by SAGE.

The researchers found that stronger censorship led to an increase in the average level of endemic violence over time.

However, looking at average violence levels over time, the uncensored scenario still has the least aggression.

The researchers used state-of-the-art agent-based modelling as a starting point. Political conflict is often described as cumulative, involving 'escalating' conflict and sometimes ending with regime change.

The research found that although agents protest, sometimes violently, they are able to return to relative calm for longer periods in-between. The decision to maintain peace is the choice of agents themselves, rather than due to police repression.

"In the absence of robust indicators as to the rebelliousness of a given society, the choice of not restricting social communication turns out to be a judicious one for avoiding the surrender of democratic values and freedom of expression for an illusory sense of security," Antonio Casilli, associate professor in digital humanities at Telecom ParisTech, France and Paola Tubaro, senior lecturer in economic sociology at the University of Greenwich, UK, said. (ANI)