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Streisand effect

Increased awareness of information caused by efforts to suppress it / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Streisand effect is an unintended consequence of attempts to hide, remove, or censor information, where the effort instead backfires by increasing public awareness of the information. The effect is named for American singer and actress Barbra Streisand, whose attempt in 2003 to suppress a photographer's publication of a photograph showing her clifftop residence in Malibu, California, taken to document coastal erosion in California, inadvertently drew far greater attention to the previously obscure photograph.[1][2][3][4]

Streisand_Estate.jpg
The original image of Barbra Streisand's cliff-top residence in Malibu, California, which she attempted to suppress in 2003

Attempts to suppress information are often made through cease-and-desist letters, but instead of being suppressed, the information sometimes receives extensive publicity, as well as the creation of media such as videos and spoof songs, which can be mirrored on the Internet or distributed on file-sharing networks.[5][6] In addition, seeking or obtaining an injunction to prohibit something from being published or to remove something that is already published can lead to increased publicity of the published work.

The Streisand effect is an example of psychological reactance, wherein once people are aware that some information is being kept from them, they are significantly more motivated to acquire and spread it.[7]

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