Free speech seems to work better than censorship over the long term.

Censoring Social Media Fans Flames of Social Unrest

The researchers found that all possible scenarios led to initial outbursts of violence but how the situation evolved was significantly influenced by government social media censorship. In a total censorship scenario, similar to the Egyptian riots, violence levels remained at a maximum. Stronger censorship led to an increase in the average level of endemic violence over time.

According to the model, the "no censorship" situation at first appears bleak, with incessant, high-level violent outbursts that seem larger than in other scenarios. However, looking at average violence levels over time, the uncensored scenario still has the least aggression. Although agents protest, sometimes violently, they are able to return to relative calm for longer periods in-between. The decision to maintain peace is the choice of agents themselves, rather than due to police repression. [emphasis mine]

Tags: social media

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This might apply not just to government censorship, but also to religious groups that discourage their members from having free, unfiltered access to the internet -- or even to all news and media from outside the group.

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