Self-Censorship on Facebook

More data science research from Facebook – this time looking at posts that are self-censored before being shared, so in the private domain (no such thing on social media, it seems) before posting to friends or public. Not, it says, looking directly at content, but rather correlating time lapses in posting with demographic, behavioural and social features of 3.9 million users e.g. “political affiliation”, “deleted posts”, “friend political entropy”.

Same researcher who did the emotional contagion research. Here’s the abstract.

Self-Censorship on Facebook

Sauvik Das and Adam Kramer


We report results from an exploratory analysis examining “last-minute” self-censorship, or content that is filtered after being written, on Facebook. We collected data from 3.9 million users over 17 days and associate self-censorship behavior with features describing users, their social graph, and the interactions between them. Our results indicate that 71% of users exhibited some level of last-minute self-censorship in the time period, and provide specific evidence supporting the theory that a user’s “perceived audience” lies at the heart of the issue: posts are censored more frequently than comments, with status updates and posts directed at groups censored most frequently of all sharing use cases investigated. Furthermore, we find that: people with more boundaries to regulate censor more; males censor more posts than females and censor even more posts with mostly male friends than do females, but censor no more comments than females; people who exercise more control over their audience censor more content; and, users with more politically and age diverse friends censor less, in general.

Full paper to download here:

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