How many times have you typed in a few words in the What’s On Your Mind Box or the ‘Status’ Box (the name by which it is more commonly known as) of Facebook, thought otherwise, and decided against sharing whatever it was? Well you are not the only one; in fact, this is quite a widespread phenomenon. And this is in existence ever since Facebook is in existence. But until recently, no one has paid any heed to this ‘self-censorship’.
A research was recently conducted on 3.9 million Facebook users by Facebook’s Adam Kramer and CMU’s PhD student Sauvik Das to understand the full extent of this activity. Kramer and Das has termed this as – ‘last-minute self-censorship’. They have measured the number of people who have typed more than five characters into the ‘Status’ Box of Facebook but later decided on not posting them. The research was posted on the website of Das and the full details will be presented at the conference of AAAI (Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence) in July.
The reasons for doing this activity are primarily five in number – to avoid an argument, to avoid hurting or offending someone, to avoid their posts being repetitive or boring, to avoid undermining their own image in society, and lastly, there was simply a technical glitch.
The number which has been found out is pretty massive. According to the research reports, one-third of all posts shared on this social networking site are self-censored. Almost 71% surveyed users of Facebook participate in some kind of self-censorship or the other – either while posting a status message or while commenting on the statuses, photos or videos. The most interesting fact that has been found out from this report, however, is that men take part in self-censorship more often than women, and mostly when the majority of the people in their friend lists are male.
Facebook’s interaction and business models completely stand on the action of sharing. Therefore, self-censorship surely has an impact (even if negligible) for sure. But how deep is this impact will only get known to us when the report is presented at AAAI in July this year.