Streisand effect

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Streisand effect.jpg
The image of Barbra Streisand's house she tried, and so spectacularly failed to censor from the internet.
The phenomenon of counterproductive efforts to remove material which is already online.

The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby attempts to carry out internet censorship are counterproductive - resulting in drawing more attention to the information.


The phrase was coined by Mike Masnick of Techdirt.[1]

“How long is it going to take before lawyers realize that the simple act of trying to repress something they don't like online is likely to make it so that something that most people would never, ever see (like a photo of a urinal in some random beach resort) is now seen by many more people? Let's call it the Streisand Effect.”
Mike Masnick (5 January 2005)  [2]

Selected examples

In 1999, Richard Tomlinson sought to publish a list of 117 MI6 operatives on the internet. Rather than deny it, the UK Foreign Office sought to censor it. Duncan Campbell wrote a few days later: “[T]he British Government moved to silence the national media. Using the D-Notice system that Australia similarly enforced, Rear Admiral David Pulvertaft warned editors that "a US-based website has today published on the Internet a list which identifies a large number of SIS (MI6) officers. Departmental officers are examining how the damage of this disclosure can be minimised. While this is in progress, I would ask that editors do not interpret the information in the website as being widely disclosed and do not, therefore, publish the address or the content of the website". Duncan Campbell wrote a week later that "The folly of the decision sank home in London this weekend as officials watched the list from Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) spread across the world.” [3]


The image which kicked off #TrollingTheGuardian

In December 2019 The Guardian used the DMCA to request takedown of a parody posted on Twitter. After Twitter closed an account a multitude of similar pieces followed, sharing by the hashtag TrollingTheGuardian.


Anthony Shaffer promoted the 9-11 Official opposition narrative in the first edition of his memoirs. Supposedly in an effort to suppress this, the US DoD bought and destroyed over 99% of the first print run, but some copies escaped. The commercially-controlled media has since published passages which were redacted in subsequent editions. This exercise may have been an attempt to use the Streisand effect to promote the 9/11 official opposition narrative about "intelligence failures".


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:I've Been Banned From Facebook for Sharing an Article About False Flagsarticle17 November 2017Caitlin JohnstoneCaitlin Johnstone's account of her Facebook censorship experience.


  1. Siegel, Robert (February 29, 2008). "The Streisand Effect' Snags Effort to Hide Documents". All Things Considered. National Public Radio. The episode is the latest example of a phenomenon known as the 'Streisand Effect.'Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "Scribunto").
  2. NPR
  3. The Age , 16 May 1999