Mapping the Twitter Conversations About China’s Great Firewall

It is often said that you can see the Great Wall of China from the space- it turns out it is a myth. But you can surely see China’s Great Firewall from world maps illuminating Facebook traffic. The gaping hole of darkness, in the land with the world’s largest internet population, shows the impact of China’s internet censorship. The Great Firewall of China (known as GFW) blocks foreign websites, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It also monitors internet conversations through keyword filtering.

Despite the odds, tech-savvy users find ways to circumvent the censorship. Many of them jump on Twitter to voice their discontent, share tips on evading the firewall, and mobilize collective actions. They have formed a community of vocal dissents.

Who are these people? How do they communicate with each other? How does this minority community evolve over time? Will they have any say in charting the future of China’s internet freedom?  To help answer these questions,  Weiai Xu and Yoonmo Sang have put together several data visualizations to better understand these communities of online dissidents.

Go to CuriosityBits Collective to view the project’s data visualizations.