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Researchers Put Numbers On China's Microblog Censorship 58

eldavojohn writes "One of China's main microblogging services used by 30% of all Chinese internet users is called Sina Weibo (weibo is the Chinese word for 'microblog') and something that is quite different from the West's twitter is, of course, the enforced censorship. Researchers at Rice University in Houston have estimated numbers for how censorship works and identifies the 'velocity of censorship' in China's microblogging censorship. Most of the posts are marked as 'permission denied' between the five minute and ten minute marks after posting. Their research shows that 'If an average censor can scan around 50 posts a minute, that would require some 1400 censors at any instant to handle the 70,000 posts pouring in. And if they work 8 hour shifts, that's a total of 4200 censors on the payroll each day.' The research indicates you would need a small army to meet stringent censorship policies when servicing China and to avoid being shutdown like Fanfou (another weibo). Keep in mind that this is not simply identifying keywords and blocking the post based on those words. The researchers noted that a phrase like 'Secretary of the Political and Legislative Committee' will result in you being unable to submit your post to Sina Weibo. So the research examines the speed of ex post facto censorship which presumably requires an employee or perhaps government employee to identify 'non-harmonious' posts based on their intrinsic content."
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Researchers Put Numbers On China's Microblog Censorship

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  • by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @10:43AM (#43092305)

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. --CS Lewis

    This seems appropriate to the situation, as a good many in that culture genuinely believe that the censorship performed is not only necessary, but beneficial to their society.

  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @11:09AM (#43092589)
    What is with the constant America and Europe are evil scumbag overlords crap on slashdot? Come down off it you paranoid moron. The US censors like 1 thing and you go all Glen Beck and compare them to China as if it's the same caliber. Yeah, the US's free speech availability is the exact same as China. You're right. Ugh, keep dreaming, idiot.

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