Study Says 71 Percent of Facebook Users Self-Censor Their Posts

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Do you worry before you post on Facebook about what other people might think of your status update? You’re not alone.

According to a recent study by Carnegie Mellon University which surveyed around 5 million Facebook users in the United States and the United Kingdom, 71 percent of those surveyed said they had self-censored at least one post or comment over the course of the 17-day study. The study pointed out that posts are more regulated than comments. They judged self-censorship based on how many characters one puts on the status update box, but then deleted the comment before posting them.

The study’s authors said in their report: “Decisions to self-censor appeared to be driven by two principles: people censor more when their audience is harder to define, and people censor more when the relevance of the communication ‘space’ is narrower. In other words, while posts directed at vague audiences (e.g., status updates) are censored more, so are posts directed at specifically defined targets (e.g., group posts), because it is easier to doubt the relevance of content directed at these focused audiences.”

Males tended to self-censor themselves more than females, and those who have more Facebook friends of the opposite sex were also more likely to think twice before posting status updates. Other findings in the survey include that users who had diverse friend groups based on gender, political positions and age self-censored less and older Facebook users self-censored their comments more than their status updates.

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