To begin, I strongly believe that social media makes use of surveillance to exploit its users by manufacturing desires, communities, and audiences. The goal of this type of media is almost entirely the generation of advertising revenue. Surveillance provides meaning of improving the efficiency of advertising and offering private information that can be exploited by these groups towards other ends. As Andrejevic (2002) suggests, this information is still private, and so it does not constitute the loss of privacy in the modern digital age. However, it place private information in the hands of private corporations. Such as, how it will be used, and how it can be used is a question of some debate. While Andrejevic’s work has proved remarkably prescient, he failed to predict the threats to privacy that might arise if these private corporations ever released their privately held information to other parties, such as the government (243). This has become a more crucial issues in recent years.
The Cycle of Surveillance
Social media makes use of surveillance in several ways. Andrejevic (2002) refers to the cookie, which in many ways represents the simplest and least intrusive aspects of media surveillance. The function of the cookie is to improve the user’s experience when they return by remembering certain preferences. This is an example of surveillance that is focused on shaping the experience of the user. However, these same cookies can be used to not only remember, but predict the user’s preferences. The first use of surveillance provides a website to the user by ‘remembering’ and the second aspect of surveillance uses this provided experience as a platform for advertising that ‘predicts’ what the user wants, based on past beha...
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... whether this labor is really free. Certainly, no monetary payment exists; however, users have granted access to a community that they willingly take part in. This could be understood as the exchange taking place. The problem here is that communities, like Facebook, are manufactured and they represent the privatization of “general intellect.” Nowadays, not being a Facebook user can often be social isolation.
In this paper, I argue that surveillance is used by social media as way of driving advertising revenue by creating communities provided to its users (remembering) and improving the efficiency of advertising through targeting (predicting). This alone is not necessarily exploitive, but the ability of social media such as Facebook creates a privatized “general intellect” that makes free labor in the cycle of surveillance manipulation nearly impossible.
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