Rage or rationality: Exposure to Internet censorship and the impact on individual information behaviors in China

Langcheng Zhang, Edson C. Tandoc, Sukhee Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Studies showed that personal experience with censorship can trigger psychological and behavioral resistance in individual users. However, it is still unclear whether this impact goes beyond those who are censored and to those who witness or are made aware of censorship at work. Through a survey of 481 college students in China, this study examined the relationships between censorship exposure, emotions, and information behaviors on sensitive issues online. The result shows that more exposure, though with a modest effect, predicts higher levels of anger and acquisition and production of information on censored topics. Anger itself is also a predictor of higher information acquisition and production, while fear is only negatively related to information production. Implications are made for future research and Internet policy evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolicy and Internet
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • China
  • emotion
  • information behavior
  • Internet censorship
  • social media

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