Social Media and Power Questions

Facebook and the New Colonialism

  • Does the fact that users generally upgrade to the Internet soon after trying Free Basics influence Facebook’s claim against expanding its global user base?
  • Is using the regular Facebook with ads and data gathering programs a better alternative to users than the ad-free version of the site? Which would you prefer?
  • In what ways can we “decolonize” Facebook’s platform?

Search Engines and Power: A Politics of Online (Mis-) Information

  • How do search engines increase the gap between online users?
  • Could natural language processing technologies (NLP) be more useful or more confusing for users than sites with clean and simple interfaces like Google?
  • How do we, as media and communication users, influence this online politics of search engines?

Op-Ed: A Library to Last Forever

  • How would consumer choice in out-of-print books be limited by the settlement with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers?
  • Why do you think that Google took the lead in investing resources into this project?
  • What could be the source of objections in the quality of their bibliographic information, classification system, and privacy policy?

Are we stuck in filter bubbles? Here are five potential paths out

  • Which proposal has the best chance of reversing the filter bubble?
  • Is the filter bubble a new concept only associated with new media? If not, how has it evolved from old media sources?
  • Do you think that people will actually alternate between the “only stuff I like” and “stuff other people like but I’ll probably hate” or would it only further isolate users?

One thought on “Social Media and Power Questions

  1. In Class Exercise

    Get together with a partner and do the following (phone or computer):

    1. Look at how Google, Twitter, Facebook, Sina, and Yandex describe themselves in their About Us sections. What do you notice? Are there any political/social/legal ramifications for how they present themselves to the world? Look at how they describe their services, how they address their consumers, and how they place themselves in the global context (do they reference nationality, etc.).

    2. Compare the top results from a Twitter and Facebook search on the words: China (subject of this weekend’s DT tweets), immigration, and Ben Carson (tapped for HUD secretary this am) with those of your partner. What differences do you notice? What about your trending hashtags/stories?


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