Now more than ever, we need to understand social media - the good as well as the bad. We need critical knowledge that helps us to navigate the controversies and contradictions of this complex digital media landscape. Only then can we make informed judgements about what's happening in our media world, and why.

Showing the reader how to ask the right kinds of questions about social media, Christian Fuchs takes us on a journey across social media, delving deep into case studies on Google, Facebook, Twitter, WikiLeaks and Wikipedia. The result lays bare the structures and power relations at the heart of our media landscape.

This book is the essential, critical guide for all students of media studies and sociology. Readers will never look at social media the same way again.

Wikipedia: A New Democratic Form of Collaborative Work and Production?

Wikipedia: A New Democratic Form of Collaborative Work and Production?

Wikipedia: A new democratic form of collaborative work and production?

Key Questions

  • How does Wikipedia work and how does it differ from corporate social media such as Facebook?
  • Positivistic or utopian? Exploitative or emancipatory? What are the political implications of Wikipedia's organization model?
  • What is a commons-based Internet and why should we think about this model?

Key Concepts

  • Collaborative work
  • Communal production
  • Commons
  • Participatory democracy
  • Well-rounded individuality
  • Communication commons


This chapter's task is to analyze the political economy of Wikipedia and its implications for economic democracy. Wikipedia is the sixth most visited web platform in the world (data source:, accessed on March 4, 2013). It was founded in 2001. It deviates strongly from other dominant web platforms, such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, Baidu, Twitter, QQ, ...

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