Michel Foucault, Panopticism and Facebook Essay

Michel Foucault, Panopticism and Facebook Essay

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Welcome to Facebook. Make yourself comfortable as with each status, piece of information, and picture, you are slowly, but surely, more and more under the power of others. Why, you might ask? Isn’t Facebook just a great, flexible, free blog that one can use to create a virtual identity and keep up with everyone? Well, remember how they say that knowledge is power? Exactly. Everyday, you and your friends give Facebook the power to know your likes and dislikes, where you are from, colleges attended, pictures with you at every stage, and even where you are right now. Think about the new Timeline design: you have provided Facebook with all the information needed to map out your own life from birth to where you are now. Let’s take a look at Michel Foucault’s insights on Panopticism and you might think twice about who really has the power on this social network and if you are a Facebook user, or being used…
He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power of relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection. By this very fact, the external power may throw off its physical weight; it tends to be non-corporal; and, the more it approaches this limit, the more constant, profound, and permanent are its effects; it is a perpetual victory that avoids any physical confrontation and which is always decided in advance.

Now, let us be honest with ourselves regarding Facebook and why we create a profile in order to better understand the connection between panopticism and Facebook. Most of us, if not all, create a Facebook profile in order to fi...

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...stakes or putting something that might compromise you or anyone at one point. Even the fact that you put seemingly basic facts about you, such as the fact that you like a certain career, will influence how Facebook will show up for you. Ever wonder how you see ads on Facebook that have to do exactly with the things you have stated you liked on Facebook? That’s why. Facebook knows what you like and it uses that towards luring you into buying things or clicking on certain websites. Facebook is a mirror of yourself, a mirror that has always been highly priced because we value privacy and security more than anything, especially in the American culture. Alas, this valuable asset is lost in seconds, on any day and at any time, at the fingertips of external powers…

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