His idea is deceptively simple: most people use the Internet to enjoy their lives, and among the ways people spread joy is to share pictures of cute cats. Even the sarcastic types (who, for example, have been known to insert misspelled messages under pictures of kittens) seem to be under their thrall.
So when a government censors the Internet, it had better think twice: â€œCute cats are collateral damage when governments block sites,â€ Mr. Zuckerman wrote for a recent talk. People who could not â€œcare less about presidential shenanigans are made aware that their government fears online speech so much that theyâ€™re willing to censor the millions of banal videosâ€ and thereby â€œblock a few political ones.â€
The New York Times discusses extensively the “Cute Cat Theory of Internet Censorship”, as propounded by Ethan Zuckerman, a senior researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.