The Politics of Social Media. Facebook: Control and Resistance

On: September 4, 2010
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About Marc Stumpel
Marc Stumpel holds a MA degree in New Media from the University of Amsterdam. His main research interest is the antagonism within the political and economic dimensions of digital culture. Especially in relation to social media. Marc also holds the degree: Bachelor of Communication & Multimedia Design, Business & Organisation, Interactive Media at the Hoogeschool van Amsterdam (2005-2009). In addition to his academic work, Marc is a musician and producer under the alias of Zuurstof. Follow Marc on twitter: @Zuurstof

Website
http://marcstumpel.wordpress.com    

Hereby I post my MA thesis ‘The Politics of Social Media. Facebook: Control and Resistance’ for anyone who is interested in the political dimension of social media. A link to the full PDF can be found below.

Abstract
This thesis examines the governance of contemporary social media and the potential of resistance. In particular, it sheds light on several cases in which Facebook has met with resistance in its attempt to exercise control. This social networking site has raised concerns over privacy, the constraints of its software, and the exploitation of user-generated content.

By critically analyzing the confrontations over these issues, this thesis aims to provide a framework for thinking about an emerging political field. This thesis argues that discursive processes and (counter)protocological implementations should be regarded as essential political factors in governing the user activities and conditions on large social networking sites.

A discourse analysis unveils how Facebook enacts a recurrent pattern of discursive framing and agenda-setting to support the immediate changes it makes to the platform. It shows how contestation leads to the reconfiguration and retraction of certain software implementations. Furthermore, a software study analyzes how the users are affected by Facebook’s reconfiguration of protocological assemblages. Several tactical media projects are examined in order to demonstrate the mutability of platform’s software.

Keywords
Facebook, Network-making power, Counterpower, Framing, Protocol, Tactical Media, Exploitation, Open-source, Agonistic Pluralism, Neodemocracy

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The Politics of Social Media. Facebook_Control and Resistance (PDF)

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