Linguistic fingerprints of internet censorship: The case of sina weibo

Kei Yin Ng, Anna Feldman, Jing Peng

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper studies how the linguistic components of blogposts collected from Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging platform, might affect the blogposts’ likelihood of being censored. Our results go along with King et al. (2013)’s Collective Action Potential (CAP) theory, which states that a blogpost’s potential of causing riot or assembly in real life is the key determinant of it getting censored. Although there is not a definitive measure of this construct, the linguistic features that we identify as discriminatory go along with the CAP theory. We build a classifier that significantly outperforms non-expert humans in predicting whether a blogpost will be censored. The crowdsourcing results suggest that while humans tend to see censored blogposts as more controversial and more likely to trigger action in real life than the uncensored counterparts, they in general cannot make a better guess than our model when it comes to ‘reading the mind’ of the censors in deciding whether a blogpost should be censored. We do not claim that censorship is only determined by the linguistic features. There are many other factors contributing to censorship decisions. The focus of the present paper is on the linguistic form of blogposts. Our work suggests that it is possible to use linguistic properties of social media posts to automatically predict if they are going to be censored.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAAAI 2020 - 34th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence
PublisherAAAI press
Pages446-453
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781577358350
StatePublished - 2020
Event34th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2020 - New York, United States
Duration: 7 Feb 202012 Feb 2020

Publication series

NameAAAI 2020 - 34th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

Conference

Conference34th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2020
CountryUnited States
CityNew York
Period7/02/2012/02/20

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Linguistic fingerprints of internet censorship: The case of sina weibo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this