Journal of Social Computing


internet censorship, devolution paradox, pattern recognition, social network analysis


Past studies on the Chinese internet management system have revealed a smart internet management system that takes advantage of time to filter content with collective action potential. How and why such a system was institutionalized? We offer a historical institutional analysis to explain the way in which the system evolved. We implement social network analysis to examine the Weibo posts of recurrent events, the elections in Area A in 2016 and 2018, to identify pattern changes in the system. There are two aspects of the changes: the centralization of the command line to a single authority and the implementation of a discriminatory strategy to deal with the various online expressions together forming this intelligent system. The improved Chinese information surveillance system demonstrates both a top-down information management and a bottom-up opinion formation.


Tsinghua University Press