Preserving diversity in social networks architectures

BOULLIER, Dominique. Preserving diversity in social networks architectures. In MASSIT-FOLLÉA, Françoise, MÉADEL, Cécile, MONNOYER-SMITH, Laurence (dir.). Normative Experience in Internet Politics. Paris : Presses de l'Ecole des mines, 2012.

This discussion arises not so much from scientific or civil rights concerns, as from the very real controversies that can be observed, mainly concerning Facebook, about various aspects of its policy of exploiting personal data in particular. But these controversies can  sometimes mask more transversal issues that we wish to expose here. This is notably the case concerning the extremely rapid monopolistic effect of a particular social network, Facebook, in spite of the great diversity of social networks observable since 2005. By analysing what is at stake in this captivity of all users with respect to a single platform, we aim not only to understand what is at stake in the social networks, but also to open the possibility for a public debate on the status of technical platforms. These now constitute the framework of our daily lives but at no point do ordinary users and citizens have the possibility to decide on their format, unless they adopt a “voice” posture [Hirschmann, 1970] – a provisional protest with little effect in this case – or more radically an “exit” solution, abandoning the platform, with the substantial consequences that this can have.


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