Faculty Books


The "Monster" That Ate Social Networking?



The birth of Facebook: In 2012, a debate erupted about the "nationalization" of Facebook as a bid to save user privacy. Philip Howard of the University of Washington argued in Slate (2012) that Facebook was a "monopoly" that offended most users' expectations of privacy, arbitrarily banned certain pages, and was complicit in tyrannical regimes' tracking of their opponents who use their real identities. Some business writers pilloried the idea as trusting a government that spies on its citizens without warrants to safeguard the anonymity and freedom from surveillance of Facebook users (Bercovici, 2012; Krayewski, 2012; Thierer, 2012). The debate (resulting in 25,000 Google results in a matter of days) suggested that Americans are concerned about the implications of Facebook for their freedom and privacy. Facebook is describable as a map, list, or interface. As a map, it provides a guide to the territory of real-world and online networks of people, or social networks. As a list, it compiles groupings of people, groups of people, and profiles of such people and groups. And as an interface, it provides a Web- or mobile-based platform to view such lists, profiles, and related communications of memories, plans, and thoughts (Grimmelman, 2009, 1150). A social-networking site such as Facebook generally facilitates the creation and display of user profiles, and the sending and receipt of messages to and from other users, in centrifugally expanding affinity networks (Baron, 2010, 80).



Publication Date





Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon


Computer and Internet, Law and legislation, Media and the Law, Science and Technology


Communications Law | Internet Law | Law | Legislation