Streisand effect

a phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet

The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby attempts to hide, remove, or censor information can lead to the unintended consequence of increasing awareness of that information. It is named after American singer and actress Barbra Streisand, whose attempt to suppress the California Coastal Records Project's photograph of her cliff-top residence in Malibu, California, taken to document California coastal erosion, inadvertently drew greater attention to the photograph in 2003.

California Coastal Records Project photo of coastline including Streisand Estate (2002).

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 access and spread that information.


  • 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.


  • Streisand Effect: Online phenomenon in which an attempt to censor or block information has the unintended result of drawing additional attention to it.
    • Jane Bozarth (2010). Social Media for Trainers. Wiley Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 0470631066. 
  • No matter how effective your rebuttal may seem to be to you, a response will "bump" the problem into greater prominence and relevance in the search engine results, which then turns your headache into a migraine. This is doubly dangerous since "bumping" the negative information potentially introduces the "Streisand Effect" into the equation, which is something to avoid if at all possible. It is commonly defined as a phenomenon in which an attempt to censor or remove a piece of information on the web backfires, causing greater publicity.
    • John W. Dozier, Sue Scheff (2009). Google Bomb: The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet. HCI. p. 40. ISBN 0757314155. 
  • A phenomenon dubbed the Streisand Effect has already sparked attention. Similar to the scarcity principle, when demands are made to remove videos or documents on the Web, hits for those materials increase dramatically. It seems a "forbidden fruit" is all the more attractive.
    • William F. Eadie (2009). 21st Century Communication: A Reference Handbook. Sage Publications, Inc. p. 163. ISBN 1412950309. 
  • The inability to erase information has already taken on a name: the Streisand Effect.
    • David Eagleman (2011). Why the Net Matters, or Six Easy Ways to Avert the Collapse of Civilization. Canongate Books. ISBN 0857860534. 
  • At the bottom of the homepage is this [disclaimer] … But that hasn't stopped Beck's lawyers from trying to shut down the site -- resulting in more blowback and another manifestation of the dreaded Streisand Effect!
  • The “Streisand Effect” describes what happens when an attempt to get rid of content causes it to become even more permanent.
    • Michael Fertik, David Thompson (2010). Wild West 2.0: How to Protect and Restore Your Online Reputation on the Untamed Social Frontier. Amacom. p. 56. ISBN 0814415091. 
  • Mike Masnick, a blogger for Techdirt, coined the term 'Streisand effect' for events where attempts to remove content from the Internet cause it to spread broadly instead.
    • Dr Alan Glazier (2011). Searchial Marketing. AuthorHouse. p. 146. ISBN 1456738933. 
  • When the Streisand effect takes hold, contraband doesn't disappear quietly. Instead, it infects the online community in a pandemic of free-speech-fueled defiance, gaining far more attention than it would have had the information's original owners simply kept quiet.
  • More recently, in May 2011, the use of injunctions to gag the press led to a “Streisand effect” for the litigant footballer who sought an injunction to prevent the publication of details of his alleged affair.
    • Andrew Hiles (2011). Reputation Management. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 1849300569. 
  • Say you discover that people aren't just talking about you, they're bashing you. Should you step in and try to stop them? Again, the answer is absolutely no! Leave them alone – you'll only make the problems worse and create a Streisand Effect if you try to hush them up.
    • Kyle Lacy (2009). Twitter Marketing For Dummies. For Dummies. p. 215. ISBN 0470561726. 
  • Mike Masnick, a blogger for Techdirt, coined the term Streisand effect for events where attempts to remove content from the Internet cause it to spread broadly instead.
    • Charlene Li, Josh Bernoff (2008). Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. Harvard Business School Press. p. 5. ISBN 1422125009. 
  • It fell victim to what is often called the “Streisand effect,” in which an attempt to repress information attracts more attention to it. The controversy over the album cover sparked millions of downloads and distributions of the Virgin Killer image from other sources.
    • Milton L. Mueller (2010). Networks and States: The Global Politics of Internet Governance. The MIT Press. pp. 28-29. ISBN 0262014599. 
  • As the Streisand Effect gradually becomes required textbook material for any student of public relations, it's surprising to see that some organizations and individuals still prefer to operate in the pre-Streisand age of threats and court orders. For better or worse, the Internet does not adequately respond to the threat of legal action: One simply can't sue so many often anonymous individuals from so many jurisdictions.
  • The logic behind the Streisand Effect, however, does not have much to do with the Internet. Throughout history there has hardly been a more effective way to ensure that people talk about something than to ban discussions about it.
    • Evgeny Morozov (2012). The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom. PublicAffairs. pp. 121-122. ISBN 1610391063. 
  • Though, the action of the US government was intended to suppress the leaks, the ‘Streisand effect’ made sure that the outcome was exactly the opposite. People all over the world, who hadn’t even heard of the Website, were typing on their keyboards only to find a site-unavailable message, which increased their curiosity. People sympathetic to WikiLeaks, in the meantime, had voluntarily mirrored the website in order to keep it online.
  • The phenomenon is known as the Streisand Effect. The term refers to the likelihood that efforts to censor information will draw greater attention to it.
    • Ashley Packard (2012). Digital Media Law. Wiley Blackwell. p. 144. ISBN 1118336860. 
  • Recently, a judge ordered some leaked documents concerning the Swiss bank Julius Baer to be removed from a Web site. But, instead of hiding the documents from public view, the judge's action drew more attention to them. The episode is the latest example of a phenomenon known as the "Streisand Effect." Robert Siegel talks with Mike Masnick, CEO of Techdirt Inc., who coined the term.
  • Since then, the tendency of cease-and-desist letters to spread unwanted or damaging information or images has been called the Streisand Effect. So it is almost impossible for an offended person to compel the total removal of something off the web that has already achieved some notoriety without making it more widespread.
    • Richard Torrenzano, Mark Davis (2011). Digital Assassination: Protecting Your Reputation, Brand, or Business Against Online Attacks. Macmillan. p. 25. ISBN 0312617917. 
  • Streisand Effect: When an attempt to censor or hide something from the general public results in its unexpected/sudden rise in popularity.
    • Tim Tyler (2011). Memetics: Memes and the Science of Cultural Evolution. Mersenne Publishing. p. 176. ISBN 1461035260. 
  • There's an Internet phenomenon called the Streisand Effect. It happens when a person or company tries to suppress a piece of information and, in so doing, unintentionally popularizes it.

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