For My Own Good?

This is an interactive data visualization depicting 500 websites blocked by China's infamous Firewall.


I’m a big fan of Internet freedom, which is why I really don’t like China’s infamous firewall that blocks sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. But what else is it blocking? The government claims the Great Firewall is for the good of the whole country, but are all the sites it blocks harmful as they say? I set out to prove them wrong. is a site that moniters thousands of sites to see whether they are blocked by the Firewall or not. I randomly chose 500 of those blocked sites and manually categorized them into 13 different categories and 33 sub-categories. I also organized them by site language and gave each site one to three keywords that described the site’s content. Then I loaded all that data into Processing to create this interactive visualization, where each individual dot represents a site and each circle represents a category. The labels beside the dots tell which sub-category the dots belong to. The more dots there are, the larger the circle.

Hovering over the words on the left will reveal specific data about each category, or show which sites share those specific traits. Hovering over the dots in the image will reveal more data about that specific dot. To rotate the image, use the left/right keys. To zoom in and out, use the up/down keys. Keys ‘a’ and ‘s’ will tilt the image on its X axis while keys ‘z’ and ‘x’ will tilt it on its Y axis. Hitting Enter/Return will reset the image. To see the fully interactive version, please see it here: Requires latest version of Java enabled. You can also see my code on Github.

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