Dubious until officially censored: Effects of online censorship exposure on viewers’ attitudes in authoritarian regimes

Hok Wui Wong, Jiachen Liang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Authoritarian regimes use censorship to prevent people from accessing unfavorable content. We argue that censorship, when detected by citizens, will have an adverse impact on their assessment of the government because censorship signals the government’s inability to address the issue being censored. Using an online survey experiment conducted in China, we find that censorship awareness significantly decreases people’s willingness to seek assistance from the government when needs arise. In addition, our survey respondents find a piece of news more credible when they believe that it is censored by the state. The findings suggest that censorship likely lowers people’s evaluation of the government’s problem-solving ability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-323
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Information Technology and Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2021


  • China
  • Information manipulation
  • authoritarian regimes
  • government effectiveness
  • online censorship
  • political attitudes
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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