The Silencing Of Guy Adams Gives Another Graphical Representation Of The Streisand Effect

from the well,-look-at-that... dept

We’ve talked plenty about the Streisand Effect for years, but every so often something happens that actually demonstrates the impact graphically with data. We saw this a couple years ago when Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder tried to censor a satirical article about himself.

Add to that this week’s controversy over Twitter suspending the account of journalist Guy Adams, at the request of NBC Universal (after Twitter alerted NBC to some of Adams’ tweets). Twitter has reinstated the account, but in the interim, there was an awful lot of discussion about Adams and what he had to say. Megan Garber, over at The Atlantic, has highlighted graphically how much more attention Adams got (via Topsy).
Once again: seeking to stifle speech online is only likely to give that speech much, much, much more attention.

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Comments on “The Silencing Of Guy Adams Gives Another Graphical Representation Of The Streisand Effect”

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A Dan (profile) says:

Streisand Effect

Once again: seeking to stifle speech online is only likely to give that speech much, much, much more attention.

We really don’t have any idea how often the censorship is effective; we generally only hear about the cases where it’s successfully protested. I would presume that it’s effective a lot of the time, or else the “reputation management” companies that do it would be completely out of business.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Streisand Effect

You do have a point about not knowing whether it’s ever been effective. However, your point about reputation management companies doesn’t follow. DRM has never been effective that I know of, yet there are lots of companies that still peddle it. It seems every DRM method Ubisoft ever uses not only doesn’t work as intended, it fails spectacularly, and yet they come back with some even more idiotic DRM the next time.

It’s not about whether or not something works with these companies, it’s whether or not they can convince someone to spend money on them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Streisand Effect

Let me have a go at this.

“If that doesn’t work, redress it and try to sell it again!”
“If that doesn’t work, change the description and pretend it is new!”
“If that doesn’t work, ignore everybody and keep trying!”
“If that doesn’t work, dig deeper!”
“If that doesn’t work, go to another crowd and try again!”
“If that doesn’t work, take five, comeback and say you have something new to show and do the same thing again!”
“If that doesn’t work, find a patsy!”

I shouldn’t be doing this (trying to have fun), because I do understand that we will see an act repeated over and over and over again, by many because the underlying cultural references are the same for every one and so many people reach the same conclusion which in this case is that some feel that they always will get a pass from the public for doing something they feel it is in their best interests and anybody in their position would understand.

Nope, most people will not understand trying to censor others no matter who you are.

indolent (profile) says:

another effect

Number of google results with Gary Zenkel’s email address.

By searching for the email address in quotes here:

June 29th: 141
Today: ~5,900

And honestly, most of the 141 results are websites where the deja google machine doesn’t seem to work.

Way to put a silence to that “private” email address…

Anonymous Coward says:

I often wonder exactly how much this actually *matters*, though.

Yes, people are talking far more about Guy Adams, the fact that NBC silenced him, why they silenced him, and the fact that NBC suck at olympics.

But what real effect does that have? Is it actually causing real harm to NBC in terms of lost profits? Or is it just an echo chamber of people reblogging, retweeting, linking to and otherwise preaching to the choir about the incident?

Yeah this was a bad thing NBC did, but you can’t really boycott them, and most advertisers aren’t going to give a damn. I guess in addition to several other similar incidents the combined fallout would result in some advertisers backing away but that’d be a pretty big step.

Seriously, if NBC released a statement saying “yes we had his account shut down because he was criticising us, what the hell are you going to do about it?” there’d be an absolute hellstorm of comments and blog posts and articles and all that jazz all over the internet but what would the actual, quantifiable harm to NBC be? What real harm has it done to them this time?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Well, let’s add this: Why would NBC give a rats ass about what a TV critic in the UK is saying to start with? They didn’t censor him to get his of his opinion – I am confident they don’t care. I think they got upset when he crossed the line into “contact this guy’s personal email to tell him you are mad”, which is an attack on NBC and it’s staff directly.

I also think the internet at this point is a very big empty room, with a few people banging pots and pans. The echo effect makes it sound like it’s a lot more people, but really it isn’t. It’s the noisy 1% at the extreme ends trying to make you think they represent the rest of the people, when they really don’t.

Oh, IMHO, NBC’s coverage is just fine. It wasn’t that long ago that the Olympics was a couple of hours highlights at night, and have a nice day. Now people have the gall to bitch because a few minutes of a show was edited out, and that it wasn’t entirely live.

Wow. Technology makes them into beeyaches, I guess.

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