Facebook

Authored by: Zoetanya Sujon

The Routledge Encyclopedia of Citizen Media

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138665569
eBook ISBN: 9781315619811
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315619811-27

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Abstract

Facebook is a complex site, marked by its massive size, constant change, continual expansion and ever increasing platform power. As such, it is difficult to place Facebook in terms of citizen media, as it simultaneously perpetuates the capitalist logic associated with corporate media as well as a citizen oriented logic enabling community building, social movements and many forms of creative and civic expression. In order to understand Facebook in light of these opposing logics, this article provides an overview of current research and scholarship from across the spectrum, beginning with critical perspectives of Facebook as a corporate platform and followed by relevant unaffiliated citizen’ research and examples. In terms critical perspectives, Facebook not only co-opts citizen action, but also subverts the ‘social’ into monetizable forms of connection through metrics and the ‘like economy’. Three important and recent cases demonstrating this capitalist logic include Facebook’s 2014 mood manipulation study, India’s 2016 rejection of Facebook’s Free Basics for monopolistic reasons, as well as the use of targeted advertising on Facebook for building anti-citizen white supremacist and nazi movements (September 2017). On the other end of the spectrum, a more grassroots and citizen oriented Facebook can be grouped into three themes: protest and social movements, identity and community building, and citizen or participatory journalism. Finally, Bennett and Segerberg’s work on ‘connective action’ (2013) provide a broader framework for understanding how these often opposing logics work simultaneously and in tandem.

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