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Corporate control? Measuring private sector censorship of social media : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Information Science in Information Technology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

Abstract

Censoring activities on sensitive topics have played a significant role on social network sites (SNSs). Owing to the difference in politics, economics and cultures in the various countries, many social network sites including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Reddit and Imgur might implement different censorship standards according to the situation of the country. This study aims to explore whether governments’ decision and censorship policies mentioned in previous studies have been implemented on main social network sites. Additionally, this article searches a list of sensitive keywords on each tested site, which is also the simplest approach applied to explore censorship on social networ k sites regulated using keywords filtering. Indeed, classifying a list of keywords into blacklist or merely blocking some defined sensitive topics refers to the primary method for censoring information on social network sites. The discussion makes us re-examine not only censorship on social network sites but also propose three possible conclusions concerning censorship on social network sites in specific country, such as ‘censorship is weaker than we anticipated’, ‘some social network sites focus on supporting country’s censorship’ and ‘censorship is imperfect to be implemented by social network sites’. As shown by results, some leaks still exist on current censorship of social network sites, while some sites fail to sensor harmful information that should be blocked. However, some harmless information is blocked by certain sites that may influence users’ browse information. By analyzing the censorship data of blocked keywords and pornography sites on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Reddit and Imgur, this research highlights the defect of censorship implemented on social network sites. Keywords: censorship standards, social network sites, censorin

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