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

3 Scopus citations

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
Pages (from-to)807-823
Number of pages17
JournalPolicy and Internet
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Policy Studies Organization.

Keywords

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

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