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Streisand effect

The Streisand effect is a phenomenon on the Internet where an attempt to censor or remove a piece of information backfires, causing the information to be widely publicized.

This is graph is of page views to the Wikipedia article Virgin Killer. I was going to upload it to Commons but the tool that produces the graphs is not clearly licensed. bluh.


I don’t know who LiveNews are but they accompanied their article with a picture of the cover in question, with the girl’s body but not face blurred out. Their first commenter intelligently said,

I would have thought that if the central issue was to protect children, the face of the image should have been blurred rather than anything else. And to edit it this way misses the main point of the image, which is the shattered glass hiding this girl’s genitals; you’ve actually made a tasteless picture prurient, tempting and titillating. Well done!

David Marr has an interesting piece in the current edition of The Monthly called Panic & Censor. (Marr is the author of The Henson Case, and if you are not Australian you will need to read about that elsewhere). Viz:

Somewhere in [the weeks of the Henson controversy] I realised that the study of panic is my speciality. For decades I’ve watched them roll across Australia, driven by a tabloid media that goes unchallenged by timid politicians. When panic arrives, facts don’t count. Complexity disappears. All slopes are slippery. The only scenario is the worst-case scenario. Nothing is too small to worry about. And everyone has a high old time except the victims.

[…] There are those who wonder if the Australian Council [with its new rules regarding children and art] and Conroy [govt minister attempting to introduce mandatory internet filtering of “illegal material”] aren’t simply setting out to show that these filters and protocols simply won’t work: the sillier the better and they will all go away. But they don’t understand the deep politics of censorship that survives untouched by time: being effective is never crucial. Governments only have to show that they’re doing all they can.

08 December, 2008 •


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