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.

Google: Good or Evil Search Engine?

Google: Good or evil search engine?

Key Questions

  • How does Google's political economy work?
  • How has Google been criticized?
  • What ideologies exist about Google? How does Google see itself and how does it want to be seen by others? What is the reality behind Google-ideologies?

Key Concepts

  • Digital labour
  • Surveillance
  • Ideology
  • Googology (Google ideology)
  • New spirit of capitalism
  • Biopolitical exploitation
  • Internet solutionism
  • Internet fetishism
  • Technological online rationality
  • Rational discrimination
  • Cumulative disadvantage
  • Moral panics
  • Privacy policy
  • Targeted advertising
  • Sensitive personal data
  • Terms of use
  • Play labour (playbour)
  • Antagonism between the productive forces and the relations of production


In the early days of the World Wide Web, there were many search engines that users employed for navigating the web. Some of them featured text-based searches. Others were ordered directories. Examples were Altavista, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, Magellan, Yahoo. At the end of the second millennium, Google's ...

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