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Networked Creativity on the Censored Web 2.0: Chinese Users' Twitter-based Activities on the Issue of Internet Censorship

  • Published : 2015.05.31

Abstract

In most of the world, the current trend in information technology is for open data movement that promotes transparency and equal access. An opposite trend is observed in China, which has the world's largest Internet population. The country has implemented sophisticated cyber-infrastructure and practices under the name of The Golden Shield Project (commonly referred to as the Great Firewall) to limit access to popular international web services and to filter traffic containing 'undesirable' political content. Increasingly, tech-savvy Chinese bypass this firewall and use Twitter to share knowledge on censorship circumvention and encryption to collectively troubleshoot firewall evasion methods, and even mobilize actions that border on activism. Using a mixed mythological approach, the current study addresses such networked knowledge sharing among citizens in a restricted web ecosystem. On the theoretical front, this study uses webometric approaches to understand change agents and positive deviant in the diffusion of censorship circumvention technology. On policy-level, the study provides insights for Internet regulators and digital rights groups to help best utilize communication networks of positive deviants to counter Internet control.

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