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.

Facebook: A Surveillance Threat to Privacy?

Facebook: A surveillance threat to privacy?

Key Questions

  • How does Facebook's political economy work?
  • How has Facebook been criticized?
  • What ideologies exist on and about Facebook? How does Facebook present itself to the world? What is the reality behind Facebook-ideologies?
  • Are there alternatives to Facebook?

Key Concepts

  • Digital labour
  • Privacy
  • Social media & privacy
  • Facebook ideologies
  • Privacy fetishism
  • Privacy policy
  • Opt-out
  • Targeted advertising
  • Instant personalization
  • Commodification
  • Private property
  • Alternative social media


Facebook is the most popular social networking site (SNS). SNSs are web-based platforms that integrate different media, information and communication technologies that allow at least the generation of profiles that display information describing the users, the display of connections (connection list), the establishment of connections between users displayed on their connection lists, and communication between users (Fuchs 2009b).

Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, ...

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