Firewalls Have Ears: How Horizontal Privacy Regulation Influences Online Political Expression in Russia

Aysenur Dal


In authoritarian settings, dealing with privacy threats involving vertical (i.e., institutional) and horizontal (i.e., social) intrusions is an essential element of the day-to-day negotiation of online activism risks. Accordingly, this study investigates the role that horizontal privacy regulation efforts play in citizens’ decision-making about online political expressions (OPE) on controversial topics under digital repression. Using a web-based survey of Internet users (N = 992) conducted in 2018, the findings reveal that, while horizontal privacy regulation significantly predicts a weaker intention to engage in OPE about governmental corruption in Russia, this negative effect is amplified by how much one cares about others’ judgments about their position on corruption.


privacy regulation, horizontal privacy, online political expression, self-disclosure, Russia

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