I have been chewing on a topic and I could use others’ help. I, like many others, am frustrated by the enormous time gap between scholarly understanding of the privacy issues in digital media technology here in the U.S. and public and political awareness.
This is an area of research and teaching for me, so I’ve long known about the monetization of data, the use of social media production in research in both industry and academia, and the incredible risks that some people face just in engaging online. Along with many colleagues in STS, Media Studies, Information Studies, and more, I’ve spoken on the issue, been asked to advise on the topic, and have written about some of the many topics in this complicated space.
Understanding that what we circulate in academic communities does not circulate as public knowledge, I work creating installations, data events, and writing for popular audiences. So do many other colleagues, some of whom have been working on these topics longer than I have.
I am glad that Facebook is in the hot seat. I’m glad that Mark Zuckerberg testified today. He and others (it’s not just Facebook) should have to be accountable.
But I’m also feeling disempowered by the number of my colleagues who even today have to remind people that this has been going on for more than a decade. I’m frustrated that people still aren’t hearing that it’s not just Facebook. I’m upset that when hundreds of women and non-binary people called for attention to the sexist, racist, and transphobic behavior on the internet few listened. Too few still listen.
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