Video games have been under public scrutiny for as long as they have existed, and have wrongfully become the scapegoat for various kinds of violence in our country (despite numerous studies that say video games have actually decreased violent tendencies). Our aim for this remix video is to stand up for video games and argue that violence in video games does not necessarily correlate to violence in real life.

We plan to use a super-cut style with clips from news reports on the issue, excerpts from various violent or nonviolent games, and people actually playing the games. The footage of this interactivity, which supposedly makes them more persuasive in causing people to be violent or aggressive, will also help emphasize video games as digital media. We also plan to utilize some aspects of a music video by playing hard rock, grunge, punk, or equally aggressive/angsty music over the footage from the lighthearted games. The current rough outline for our idea would be clips of traditionally violent games, a transition into the news clips condemning these games, and another transition to the fluffy clips and hard music.

Much like the super cut above, our video will rely on the juxtaposition of music and clips, although ours will have have the same music through the gaming clips and clips from a variety of games.

In order to reinforce the idea that video games are a form of digital media and keep our video relevant to the class, we plan to draw our inspiration primarily from the Galloway reading, Gamic Action. In this chapter, Galloway says that “if photographs are images, and films are moving images, then video games are actions” (4).  The same interactivity makes video games playable, makes players supposedly more violent, and places the games in the realm of digital media. The “cybernetic relationship” (7) between the players and the games is not something that should be feared or frowned upon, and certainly does not make users more violent in real life.

Mixing up Texas: A Video Remix Project

At some point in our lives, most of us have heard the aphorism, “Character is who you are when you think nobody is watching.” But in this day and age, is there really a time when no one is watching?

In light of a recent surge of scandalous activity in our beloved Lone Star State, we’ve decided to take a look at the ways that new media has affected the level of accountability under which authority figures must reside. More specifically, we’d like to highlight the idea that easy, open access to surveillance equipment (like smartphone cameras conveniently located in everyones’ back pockets) and distribution/momentum building through social media sites (truly, who doesn’t have Facebook at the tip of their fingers) has opened the door for a synopticon society in a big way.

By creating a remix project in the style of a song video, we plan explore how turning the eyes of [the many of] Texas onto “the few” has rewritten the rules of behavior and consequence for those who hold Texas’s most respected leadership positions. Our song shall be “The Eyes of Texas,” and with it we’ll argue that the ability for all of Texas to turn its eyes upon the few charged to lead our state, cities, and educational institutions, has resulted in leaders being held accountable and more tightly surveilled. “The Eyes of Texas” is typically intended to create a panoptical feeling in those who hear the song, asserting that the University of Texas is always watching all the other universities they encounter; however, we’d like to use it a little more ironically, implying that– in a rather synoptic manner– all the eyes of the people of Texas are always watching their leaders.

Our video footage will be clips of Texas authority figure scandals, as recorded by news stations and citizens’ smartphones. With this specific combination, we hope to make the idea that the synopticon is alive and operating very real to our audience, as they are residents under these leaders’ authorities.

The video below reflects our intended remix in its selection of clips and their flow. Our sources are very much related to the types of sources used in this video, being primarily news broadcasts and videos shared on social media. Our remix will also reflect this video in its flow by connecting several events and showing trends in surveillance of the few by the many. However, our video will be a songvid, different from the chronological supercut format of this video. The “Too Many Dicks” or “Somebody’s Watching Me” examples shown in class reflect our intended vision to use the song as a lens through which to interpret and analyze the video clips.

The Gay Rights Movement

Our video should solidify the notion that media scholar David Lyon highlights in his chapter on the synopticon and scopophilia:

“The few may well watch the many, as they do in surveillance situations of constantly increasing magnitude, but this does not mean that the many no longer watch the few… Indeed, the same communication and information technologies today permit an unprecedented watching of the few by the many…”

After watching our remix video, singing “the eyes of Texas are upon you…” may have a whole new meaning.

“What Does The Scanner See?” More like “What Will the Neighbors Think?”

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I don’t even own a car

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My provider is Sprint

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When I repeated Matt Honan’s experiment of liking everything in my Facebook feed for 48 hours I felt that the impact that my activity had on ads and suggestions on Facebook was surprisingly anticlimactic. Some of the pages that I liked weren’t related to my actual interests (i.e. sports, Marvel super heroes, rap artists) or other information about who I am (i.e. colleges I never attended and local news for cities that I’ve only visited).
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In spite of some of these differences the ads remained mostly the same, some of the pages that were suggested for me to join related to stuff I liked in those 48 hours and the biggest difference I noticed (which Honan also noted in his article) was my timeline was dominated by posts from pages I liked versus posts from friends and family. Marc Andrejevic’s article on digital enclosure sheds some light on why my experience on Facebook wasn’t significantly altered. Andrejevic writes that digital enclosures- physical space with an interactive overlay (or multiple overlays) which facilitate the capture and control of data that can be resold in the form of cybernetic commodities (Andrejevic, 307)- considers more than what you like; it considers what you write in messages and how many times you view pictures(Andrejevic, 308). With this in mind it is fair to say that liking pages on Facebook merely scratches the surface of the perception has of you.

Some of the terms and conditions of Facebook give an even more detailed explanation for how the site profiles its users. Facebook mentions briefly that they receive information about their users “on and off Facebook” from other sites. This lack of boundaries leads me to question the use of the word enclosure as the space to “gather information within the confines of the geographically delimited area [digital enclosure] cover” since Facebook can learn more about their users from activity that is independent from the site itself.
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For these reasons I was more worried about the gaze of synopticon or the monitoring of the “few by the many” as David Lyon describes in his book, Surveilance. Facebook is probably second only to Twitter as the epitome of online viewer society where everyone assumes that they’re being watched and, in-turn, watch each other. By liking everything on Facebook for 24 hours I guaranteed that I would be a recurring spectacle on my friends’ timelines and I was worried some of my friends may take offense to a few of the posts I liked. I liked an article that proposed gay men were more at risk for skin cancer since they tend to tan more or the page for a porn star a few friends from high school liked (my girlfriend loved that). As Lyon writes “it is not just screening by police and security forces that counts today, but a screening of everyone, by everyone”(38) facebook is a testament to this logic and how people regulate their recorded activity to avoid conflict or prejudice from others.
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Honan, Matt. “I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me | WIRED.” Wired. 11 Aug. 2014. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.
Andrejevic, Mark. “Surveillance in the Digital Enclosure.” The Communication Review. 10 Oct. 2007
Ericson, Richard V.,David Lyon and Kevin D. Haggerty. “Chapter 2: 9/11, Synopticon, and Scopophilia: Watching and Being Watched.” The New Politics of Surveillance and Visibility. Toronto: U of Toronto, 2006.
Advertising and our Third Party Partners. (2015, January 30). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from Facebook

Surveillance for Service: Is Facebook stalking you?

 

When you encounter any social media outlet today, you are bombarded with all sort of advertisements that may or may not be tailored to your liking. However, Facebook, has produced a specific algorithm that collects all personal data about you and produces a theorized layout of advertisements and information that you would like, also known as “Algorithmic Surveillance,” as described in Mark Andrejevic’s article “Surveillance in the Digital Enclosure.” Based on Mat Honen’s “Like Everything on Facebook for 48 Hours” experiment, I too had the privilege of “liking” everything on Facebook and experiencing the aftermath of the personalized data feed.

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As I read through Facebook’s Data Policy and Terms of Service, I came across this section called Safety, in which Facebook informs the user that in order to keep their profile safe and private, there are certain actions that are expected of them such as engaging in unlawful multi-level marketing or bullying or harassing another user. I think it is interesting that Facebook uses this “digital enclosure” to not only give you a service but also ask a service from the user, a thought that I overlooked. We unconsciously accept Facebook as a service to us but do not realized that we are participating in a larger trade off with an actual business deal. As I read on, I realized that the safety of my profile is completely up to me and my personal privacy settings.

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In Honen’s article he mentions an interview between Andy Warhol and Art News in which Warhol states that we are all like machines because, “You do the same thing every time. You do it over and over again.” This is a part of viewer society and the synopticon vs. panopticon because we are senselessly adapting to the cultural shift of watching each other more and more as the technological aspects improve. It has become natural to become a part of a synopticon, which in a simple term refers to the countless mass watching the very few. Take for example this Facebook experiment – at least 75% of my news feed consisted of celebrities whom I liked but never truly in depth had the time to analyze. As I continued this experiment into its second day, I had several articles updating me on their latest favorite restaurants, who they were spotted with last night and what they wore to the latest event – hence the mass watching the very few. At the beginning of the experiment, I immediately saw results in advertisement because I would have back to back articles from the same company that I liked. Every article began to duplicate many other related articles and so forth after only a mere hour. Once I got into the swing of things, I began to find myself unconsciously enjoying this simple task. This scopophilia began to come with ease and I found myself in awe of every new amount of information passing my face. This is the habit of just about everyone trapped in this cultural cycle. So next time you decide to “like” anything on Facebook, think twice and remember the specified algorithm that is yours.

Terms of service. (2015, January 30). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from Facebook, Facebook search terms    of service website,  https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms

Data Policy. (2015, January 30). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from Facebook, Facebook data policy website, https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy/

Honan, Matt. “I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me | WIRED.” Wired. 11 Aug. 2014. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.

Andrejevic, Mark. “Surveillance in the Digital Enclosure.” The Communication Review. Web. 21 Mar 2015.

Loving on Facebook

“Your privacy is very important to us”: this is the first line of Facebook’s terms of service.  It is no secret to either end of the social media panopticon (the small human faction of the Facebook company observing and collecting data from the comparatively giant number of users, similarly to Google) that privacy is at the forefront of Facebook’s both constructive and destructive uses.  Facebook’s very purpose could not be effectively mined without it creeping beyond its function–to create a social environment that is as transparent as possible among friends, the environment must be transparent between user and mediator.  And so while the Orwellian influence of the outlet seems and is rather intrusive, one does not need to read the terms of service to know what they are submitting to.  As Mark Andrejevic emphasizes, the most common modes of self-expression in our age are inherently under surveillance.

Facebook1After liking every Facebook post I came across for two days (with a few omissions in an attempt not to seem outright cruel, as Mat Honan notes), in a sweeping generalization I am obsessed with sports.  Just as in Honan’s case, the majority of my feed is inhuman despite my only following a small handful of inhuman sources.  It seems every other installment on my timeline comes from either ESPN or Bleacher Report.  The algorithmic surveillance of the machine I use to secretly gain dirt on semi-unfriendly acquaintances and punctuate my loneliness in regard to friendly acquaintances has decided that sports the common theme of my interest.  I do love sports, perhaps more than humans, but I am still much more interested in these humans.  Given that I liked many, many more posts of pictures and status updates, the progression to a sports-dominated feed is somewhat illogical.

Facebook2

This is a description of some of the information that Facebook collects.  In a read, it generally describes literally everything one could possibly engage in on the website.  The “things you do and the information you provide” is an umbrella just about wide enough in diameter to lump in all of interactivity between people, on or off-line.  This umbrella is the digital enclosure–a network that encourages and monitors participation.  I am certainly encouraged to participate; I see what my friends are doing and I want to communicate with them or show them what I am doing.  The hope and the ideal manifesto of Facebook is by monitoring this participation, greater participation is allowed–that the monitoring is a tool for us (again this strikes nearly the same note as Google).

But, at least empirically, this did not turn out to be true.  When I participated at the highest, most thorough level, my reward felt diminished.  Perhaps the ever-watching computer algorithm grows jealous when I favor my friends to its article-suggestions and tries to overwhelm with them to convert me.  I am not particularly interested or worried about my privacy–I do not participate too heavily on Facebook, I am probably more akin to the aforementioned computer, watching and remembering and categorizing, than I am to my agreed-upon friends–but I am interested in my social hierarchy, and so the digital enclosure of Facebook is as telling as any arena in the way of bringing about this hierarchy.

References:

Andrejevic, Mark. “Surveillance in the Digital Enclosure.” The Communication Review 10 (2007): 295-317. Print.

Honan, Mat. “I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me.” Wired. 11 Aug. 2014. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.

Facebook – Big Data or Big Brother?

Facebook – it’s a website that not even Orwell could imagine existing. A digital panopticon of sorts, Facebook tracks every single move its users make in order to refine its algorithms and push more and more engaging content into the ever-willing minds of its millions of followers.

The social media giant is an example of a so-called “digital enclosure,” which can be described as “a space of universalized recognition and communication in which the places through which we move and the objects they contain recognize individuals and communicate with them (via portable devices). It is a space within which cars know their location and can rapidly access information about their surroundings, one in which supermarket shelves know when they need to be stocked and when they are being approached by someone likely to buy a particular product” (Andrejevic). The connected world Andrejevic in his paper describes  the simple business model of Facebook – shove a hyper-refined, individually personalized and constant stream of engaging content in front of a Facebook user, keep them clicking within the site as long as possible, track their actions, and then rake in the ad money from their insights and information (a.k.a “contextual advertising”).

As a social science experiment, I participated in Mat Honan’s “I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me.” Essentially, the experiment attempts to throw off Facebook’s content algorithms by instructing its participants to “like” every single post or ad given to them in their respective news feed for 48 hours straight and chronicle the differences before and after. A lot of information about Facebook’s internal algorithms and the data they collect can be gleaned from the company’s own Terms of Services and Privacy Policy. I used this information to help better understand why the effects of my personal version of the experiment differed greatly from Mat’s results. The first paragraph in Facebook’s Data Usage declares that they track and store everything you do.

thingsyoudo

One of the more notable consequences of this paragraph is that Facebook tracks the “types of content you view or engage with or the frequency or duration of your activities.” I am sure that message is at the bottom of the paragraph for a reason. This kind of detailed tracking allows Facebook’s algorithm to know, for instance, which videos in your news feed you watch, which videos you actually clicked on, which parts of videos you watched you actually payed attention to, the qualities of the certain portions of the video you were shown that you actually engaged with, and what videos it should feed you to keep you on Facebook longer and longer.

It also explains why as soon as I liked Purina Dog Food, ads with cute dogs prominently displayed were shown to me.

likepurina

ad

This happened almost instantly.

Overall, Honan’s experiment did not change my news feed too much at all. I constantly liked articles, pages, and photos, but nothing drastically changed. I did notice, however, that I felt I got more content relevant to my interests than usual, and it seemed more detailed than usual – instead of getting Daft Punk related news, I noticed a couple articles about the group’s specific members, and the celebrity gossip they were involved in, for instance. In true scientific fashion, I can only say that the experiment amplified what Facebook already knew about me: I like dance music, guitars, startup shenanigans, and funny pictures.

Works Cited:

Terms of service. (2015, January 30). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from Facebook, Facebook search terms    of service website,  https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms

Data Policy. (2015, January 30). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from Facebook, Facebook data policy website, https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy/

Honan, Matt. “I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me | WIRED.” Wired. 11 Aug. 2014. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.

Andrejevic, Mark. “Surveillance in the Digital Enclosure.” The Communication Review. Web. 21 Mar 2015.

Facebook’s watching you Wazowski, ALWAYS watching.

Today, we live in a world where it takes seconds to connect with someone on the other side of the globe and this is in large part thanks to Facebook. Of course email and other forms of media were available for a time before the social media giant, however Facebook was the first to create a way to build relationships with strangers without ever meeting them in person. It would be difficult to find a person that doesn’t have a Facebook, even if they don’t use it often.

While Facebook still captivates the attention of billions (yes, billions) of people, most don’t know how much information the website holds on to. WIRED’s Mat Honen performed an experiment on the social networking site where he abused the “like” button on everything he saw on his feed throughout the span of 48 hours to see just how much Facebook tracks. After liking everything he saw for 2 days, except for things involving death or loss, Honen’s feed full of friends’ statuses was quickly replaced by what he calls the, “worst kind of tripe that [everyone] in the media is complicit in churning out yet should also be deeply ashamed of” (Honen I Liked Everything…I). Honen mentions that Facebook’s algorithm completely revolves around promoting things that you would “like” and tucking away things you rarely interact with.

In this way, Facebook can be described as a panopticon, which is the idea that a single individual or small group of individuals monitor the actions of the many. Of course, this may pose a problem for users who were not aware of the way Facebook sees everything they do. Facebook, however, presents their Terms of Service and Data Use Policy to every user and everybody is required to agree to their rules in order to use the site.

Snippet of Facebook's Terms of Service

Snippet of Facebook's Data Use Policy

Above are snippets of the rules everyone must agree to before they can use the website. It clearly states everything Facebook plans to do with the information you give them, tailoring ads and posts in order to personalize each user’s feed with things they may like. These rules perfectly embody Facebook as a digital enclosure, which can be described as a place where in order to use an interactive space like Facebook, users must agree to “freely” submit personal information that the owners of the space can use.

As a person who only uses Facebook as a backup emergency contact resource and a place to share notes and study guides with classmates, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I tried Mat Honen’s 48 hour “like” challenge. Mostly everything on my feed centered around college, showing me ads for other universities or showing me posts from friends who mentioned their school’s name in a status. So for 48 hours I liked every suggested page I saw and every status (mostly from people I haven’t seen in over 4 years). Much like Honen’s experiment, my feed devolved into chaos. Because of the content on my feed before my “liking” binge, Facebook seemed to believe that as a college student, I was looking for a new phone. Everything I saw was an ad for competing phone companies and statuses from people who just got new phones.

It seems as in both my case and Mat Honen’s, Facebook’s algorithm figured we needed to look at ads, even though we were being advertised completely different things. The truth of the fact is that by “liking” a specific thing, Facebook tried to help us find more things which would be interesting to us, which isn’t such a bad thing. People afraid of the fact that Facebook seems to be tracking every move they make have to realize that they are agreeing to the site’s rules and they have the free will to not use the social media page at all. In addition, Facebook’s policies are not as long and confusing as people make them out to be. I found all of the information for this assignment in only a few seconds because Facebook makes it easy to find out everything they plan on doing.

Sources:

Honan, Matt. “I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me | WIRED.”Wired. 2014. Web.

Facebook: We Do This Because We Love You, User.

Users of the world wide web and social media are rapidly becoming more aware that their browsing habits and activities are being mass-monitored by one big data collector or another. It’s safe to say that one of the leading drag nets available to advertising companies is the wildly popular social media platform, Facebook. Facebook, being constantly in tune with public opinion and perception, seems to have realized that users are becoming more savvy to the fact that they are being watched and their data collected, and has penned a document called the Data Policy outlining what exactly is collected and how it’s being used. In order to console nervous users, Facebook frames their data policies in a very consumer friendly way, insisting that they’re doing all of this to enhance the user experience and make Facebook (and as a result the Internet overall) even more convenient.

After doing an at-home copycat of Mat Honan’s “Like Everything on Facebook for 48 Hours” experiment, and eventually reaching a point where my newsfeed was nothing but posts from the fashion entity “Who What Wear,” I decided to check out the Data Policy and Terms of Service a little more closely.

My Activity Log after 48 hours of non-stop “liking”

Again, Facebook frames their data policy in a very “user-friendly” manner that seems clean, simple, and easy to interpret. The language is almost parental, with Facebook claiming that it’s really only doing all of this because it loves you, in so many words. For example, the first article of the Terms of Service (quoted below) links you directly to an even warmer and fuzzier document, the Data Policy, and asserts that Facebook wants the user to be as empowered as possible.

“Your privacy is very important to us. We designed our Data Policy to make important disclosures about how you can use Facebook to share with others and how we collect and can use your content and information. We encourage you to read the Data Policy, and to use it to help you make informed decisions (Terms of Service).”

Within this Data Policy is language that very much tries to sugar-coat the fact that Facebook is a textbook digital enclosure, as described by Mark Andrejevic in his commentary, Surveillance in the Digital Enclosure. Every click, like, tag, check-in, and interaction is used to generate a profile on the user in order to make them more accessible to “relevant” advertising.

It is quite interesting to note that throughout this document, Facebook makes an effort to stay consumer centered in their language focusing on the consumer convenience of contextual advertising created by data sharing; however, the Full Data Policy indicated at the bottom of the “other resources” (pictured below) makes no qualms about acknowledging its service to advertisers where it left them out in the user-friendly version:

“Our goal is to deliver advertising and other commercial or sponsored content that is valuable to our users and advertisers (Data Policy).”

“…and measure the effectiveness and reach of ads and services (Data Policy).”

Facebook's complete data policy featuring not-so-shiny language and a sense of loyalty to paying advertisers

Facebook’s complete data policy featuring not-so-shiny language and a sense of loyalty to paying advertisers

Facebook doesn’t exactly try to pull the wool over user’s eyes, as it gives them links detailing how they can opt out of surveillance, but the piles of information that need combing through to fully understand what’s going on certainly helps cloud up the view.

Andrejevic, Mark. “Surveillance in the Digital Enclosure.” The Communication Review. 10.4 (2007): 295-317.
“Data Policy.” Facebook. Facebook, 30 Jan. 2015. Web. 21 Mar. 2015. <https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy/&gt;
Honan, Mat. “I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me.” Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital, 11 Aug. 2014. Web. 21 Mar. 2015. <http://www.wired.com/2014/08/i-liked-everything-i-saw-on-facebook-for-two-days-heres-what-it-did-to-me/&gt;
“Terms of Service.” Facebook. Facebook, 30 Jan. 2015. Web. 11 Mar. 2015. <https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms&gt;

Big Bro is always watching your back

With roughly 1.4 billion active Facebook users, the social media giant continues to dominate the web – but users may be shocked to know just how much of their info Facebook pays attention to. Facebook works, as a digital enclosure where a lot of user info is stored for cybernetic commodities and contextual advertising, but the ones giving this info to Facebook are the users themselves. To test just how much our actions on the social media site matter, Mat Honan, a senior staff writer with WIRED, conducted an experiment where he ‘liked’ everything for 48 hours; to see if I would have similar results I conducted the same experiment. What I found was that Big Brother really is watching every click you make.

In his article Surveillance in the Digital Enclosure, Mark Andrejevic describes digital enclosures as being “interactive spaces which restrict access to the means of interaction to those who ‘freely’ submit to the detailed forms of monitoring that take place within them.” I believe Facebook can be considered one of these interactive spaces based off of its terms of services and data policy. In section 2 of Facebook’s terms of service, the company explicitly states that you are giving them permission to use any of the content you post – this can be seen in the screengrab below:

 

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In their data policy, Facebook also says that the information they collect is what you submit to them when using their services and can include, “information in or about the content you provide, such as the location of a photo or the date a file was created.” They state pretty clearly in their terms and conditions and in their data policy that they will be taking whatever data you provide them, they even state what they plan to do with it.

Cybernetic commodities and contextual advertising are both ways that Facebook uses the information users supply them with. Cybernetic commodities are transactionally generated demographic information about user behavior and contextual ads are ads based on the users location throughout the course of the day. We know that Facebook uses our data to do this exactly – they tell us in the data policy! “We are able to deliver our services, personalize content, and make suggestions for you by using this information to understand how you use and interact with our services and the people or things you’re connected to and interested in on and off our services.” Most users are still shocked to know that Facebook and other sites do this despite their actions being transparent inside of the terms and conditions and the data policy, which is probably because majority of users don’t read these documents due to their length – I know I am guilty of this.

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 11.27.03 PM

In Honan’s article, I liked everything I saw on Facebook for two days. Here’s what it did to me, he describes an experiment he conducted where he literally ‘liked’ ever post or article he saw on Facebook, aside from posts about deaths or suggested relatable articles, for 48 hours to see what would happen to his feed – as stated above, I conducted the same experiment. Prior to the experiment, I used to think that the people whom I interacted with the most also posted the most and that my other 300 friends must be inactive, I wasn’t aware of how much Facebook’s surveillance effected my newsfeed. The first thing I saw was a suggestion from Facebook to like The New York Times because I had twelve friends that did already; I too now liked The New York Times.

I started liking everything I saw and over the next day I quickly noticed how everything started to become very similar. Similar to Honan, Facebook began replacing my friend’s updates with similar articles and pages to the ones I had liked hours before. Majority of the posts suggested to me had to do with news articles concerning equality, talk shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live!, SXSW and other festivals because a large amount of my friends attended this festival and I liked all of their posts about it. Everyone must have been too busy with the festival because none of my friends from Austin commented on my liking spree, the only comment I got was from my other who was upset I was liking all of my friend’s posts from college but not her post about us going out to eat together on vacation. I guess Facebook didn’t deem it worthy enough to appear in my feed. Oh well.

It is obvious that Facebook and other websites our collecting our info for their own research and to cater ads to us but we are the ones freely giving them the info and they are even telling us what is happening in the terms and conditions and the data policy. Despite these articles being at a large length that discourages users to read them, the users aren’t being forced to use the product and they do agree to have read these articles so I don’t think they can not justify complaining if they feel like surveillance is overstepping it’s boundaries. Big brother is obviously watching and if you have an issue with that then read the terms and conditions presented to you and make the choice of whether or not you want to take the risk of using Facebook. It is as simple as that.

 

Works Cited:

Terms of service. (2015, January 30). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from Facebook, Facebook search terms    of service website,  https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms

Data Policy. (2015, January 30). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from Facebook, Facebook data policy website, https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy/

Honan, Matt. “I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me | WIRED.” Wired. 11 Aug. 2014. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.

Andrejevic, Mark. “Surveillance in the Digital Enclosure.” The Communication Review. Web. 21 Mar 2015.

Facebook: Benevolent Big Brother

The central idea of a panopticon, either as a prison or general concept, is that the possibility of being watched at any time will cause an uncertainty or even paranoia in the potential subjects. In theory, this uncertainty will make the subjects behave as if they are constantly being watched, and will therefore monitor their own behavior.

Digital surveillance by websites such as Facebook can easily be compared to the Panopticon, since it is a few algorithms designed to adjust newsfeeds for each individual user. However, the key difference with websites like Facebook is that there is no uncertainty in whether or not they are watching; they are. According to the Facebook Data Policy, they collect data based on interactions each user has with the site, how users interact with each other, users’ “networks and connections,” any companies owned or operated by Facebook, and “information from third-party partners.”

Almost every interaction with the site is monitored, including how much time is spent on pages.

According to the Data Policy, almost every interaction with the site is monitored, including how much time is spent on pages.

While Facebook is not being secretive about how much they are watching, it is still not widely known just how much information they are gathering. I, like many others, would never have made it through the dense Terms of Service or even glanced at the Data Policy if not required to. Unlike in the panopticon, Facebook wants to watch us constantly without changing our behavior in order to provide relevant data to advertisers and make our newsfeeds as customized to our preferences as possible. The act of liking posts is especially powerful in adjusting newsfeeds and advertisements, as I have become acutely aware of. After following Matt Honan’s example of liking everything for 48 hours, I realize just how much of an effect liking can have.

At first, my main qualm was liking the posts of people that I had not talked to in a few years, or content that was just generally annoying. Thankfully, it did not take long for that issue to sort itself out. Within a few hours, I began seeing fewer and fewer people and more… not people. By the end of the experiment, I saw only posts from the LAD Bible (“one of the largest communities for guys aged 16-30 in the world,” according to the site), The View, and 4Music.

I'm kind of glad I am not a guy aged 16-30.

I’m kind of glad I’m not a guy aged 16-30.

I had never heard of any of these entities before this experiment, and I definitely do not like any of them. Likes are used by Facebook to screen content and show us what we do or might enjoy, and my rampant liking certainly confused my poor newsfeed. In general, after taking part in this experiment, I am more cautious of the information I will provide on Facebook, but am also thankful of the services Facebook provides in exchange for the genuine data I give. Now I face the daunting task of getting my account back to how it used to be.


“Home | The LAD Bible.” Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.

Honan, Matt. “I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me | WIRED.” Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital, 11 Aug. 2014. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.