This week we’ll read important works that begin to explore the ethical consequences of engineering digital social media platforms as digital enclosures designed to capture and privatized the data found within them.
Andrejevic’s project in “Social Network Exploitation” (course documents) might be summarized as follows: (page 83, bottom) how is it that willing participation in a social media platform can result in exploitation, even when it is not felt? One key, I think, is that user generated content creates enormous economic value. Crucial question include: who will benefit from that value? To whom will that value accrue? Can meaningful consent be given in a world where participation of said platforms is increasingly assumed to be a part of “normal” life?
Two other key aspects of the piece concern his contention that users of social media platforms (SMP) are performing labor when they update their status and communicate in all the ways SMPs enable. Also, the privacy policies deployed by SMPs are not primarily for the purpose of user protection; instead, Andrejevic contends they’ve been created around the goal of asserting rights over the information that collects within those SMPs, both data and metadata.
ASSIGNMENT:Answer the following prompts in a post of 300-400 words:
Have Andrejevic in Social Network Exploitation adequately made the case that corporate SMPs are exploitative? If so, how so? What aspects of his argument did you find the most or least compelling, and why?
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