Chapter 2 Facebook

Section Authors: Tim Hildebrand, Alireza Tahmasebi, Cassie Ma, Wenzhuo Zhang

2.1 Persona

2.1.1 Persona 1

Example 1-1

Example 1-2

2.1.2 Persona 2

Example 2

2.1.3 Persona 3

Example 3

2.1.4 Persona 4

Example 4

2.2 Demographics

2.2.1 Target audience (age, demographics, political leaning, interests, hobbies, etc.)

Age: In the U.S., 36% of users who are 45 years old or older use Facebook and users aged 18+ spend an average of 33 minutes per day on the social media platform.31 An important note about Facebook’s advertising audience is that there is a good focus on almost all the age groups. Primarily, however, 31% of Facebook’s advertising audience are people aged 25-34.32

Demographics: Amazingly, nearly a third of world’s population uses Facebook at least once a month.33 Although other social media platforms like TikTok have had a rising popularity over the last several years, Facebook is still managing to get engagement from many users around the world. In addition, in terms of gender statistics, 56% of Facebook users are male with 44% being female. Interestingly, nearly 82% of college graduates are on Facebook and are much more likely to use the platform compared to high school graduates.34 Lastly, as of January 2022, India has the greatest number of users on Facebook (329.65 million), followed by the U.S. (179.65 million).35

Political Leaning: Facebook certainly tracks political views of its users and assigns political labels. However, it’s important to note that 73% of people believe that their assigned political label is accurate whereas 27% believe that their political label is inaccurate and doesn’t correctly reflect their political views. In spite of all this, 34% of Facebook users are assigned as liberals, 35% are assigned as conservatives, and the rest (29%) are assigned as moderate.36

Interests: “To say that everyone is its target market is not an understatement.”37 People sign up and use Facebook for a variety of reasons and there are many ways for them to express their interests. Users’ feeds are customized based on the people they follow and things they like such as movies TV shows, artists, books, sports teams, athletes, celebrities, restaurants, apps, and games.

Hobbies: Facebook allows its users to add their hobbies to their profiles so they can find others with similar interest.38 There are many hobbies that could be added, and they are always shown to public users. One of the main features on the platform is Facebook Groups. It connects people from all around the world based on hobbies or interests, which is proven to be an effective way to build engaging communities.

2.2.2 Can non-users browse or search content?

Yes, non-users can use search engines such as Google to search for Facebook profiles, pages, posts, and other content. All they have to do is include the keyword “Facebook” in their web search or more efficiently include “” to search for content on Facebook only.

2.2.3 How are users connected (e.g., on some platforms, you request a connection which needs to be accepted, but on others, you can follow anyone without them reciprocating)

On Facebook, it’s possible to message anyone without having to send a friend request, but the normal way for people to connect is by sending a friend request. Users can follow pages of celebrities, artists, athletes, etc. without them having to follow back.

2.2.4 Can content be shared privately?

Yes, there are multiple methods of sharing content privately with someone else on Facebook. The simplest way is by messaging them directly via Messenger and attaching files. Another method for private sharing is by creating a post on one’s personal feed and customizing the audience for the post so that only specific friend(s) can view the post. Sharing content posted by other users can also be done privately by sending them in Messenger and sharing to the personal feed privately.

2.2.5 How is content shared?

The main method for sharing content is by directly creating a post, which can be customized to be shown to different audiences. Users can share photos, videos, and gifs along with other additional content when creating a post. It’s also possible to host Q&As, stream live video, and tag other people, which all provide engagement and dynamic options for users to interact. Moreover, there is an option for people to create private photo or text stories that will be visible for 24 hours on Facebook and Messenger. If users want to share content that other people have created, they can simply go to the post and tap the share button. Then, they can choose one of the following options:

• Share Now (Friends)
• Share to Feed
• Share to Your Story (Friends)
• Send in Messenger
• Share on a friend’s profile

2.2.6 How does content go viral?

One of the many ways to go viral is to post something that is related to the news, trending topics, or other major events that are happening in the real world. There will be many users who are searching and viewing posts about trending topics so there is a higher chance for a post to go viral if it’s socially relevant. In addition, most viral content is short and original. Users have a very short attention span and are often quickly scrolling through their timeline, so if a post catches someone’s attention, it’s very likely that it’s short and doesn’t copy other content.

2.2.7 Is the parent company public or private?

Facebook first went public in 2012 as the shares became available for selling in public markets.39 Note that Mark Zuckerberg announced on Oct. 28th, 2021, that the name of the parent company (Facebook Inc.) is now Meta Platforms Inc. 40

2.2.8 Who are the major investors?

According to Investopedia, the major insider shareholders are Michael Schroepfer, David Fischer, and David Wehner. Also, the major institutional shareholders of the company are Mark Zuckerberg, Vanguard Group Inc., and BlackRock Inc. 41

2.2.9 How does the company generate revenue?

The company generate most of its revenue by showing digital advertisements. Facebook’s business model is explained simply by Mark Zuckerberg in the video below.42

Senator Asks How Facebook Remains Free, Mark Zuckerberg Smirks: ‘We Run Ads’ | NBC News

2.3 Privacy and Surveillance

2.3.2 Your key takeaways from your examination of your platform’s ToS and Privacy Policy

The Internet is an integral part of people’s daily lives. Facebook has had such an impact on the world that one third of the world’s users use the Facebook service on a daily basis. Debatin et al. (2009) wrote that student life without Facebook is unimaginable. Since 2004, this popular social networking service has quickly become a fundamental tool for student social interaction and personal identity.43 People appear to have become accustomed to the presence of Facebook as a matter of course. Yet the ubiquitous technological nature often leads to unintended consequences. Examples include threats to privacy and the changing relationship between public areas and the private sphere. These issues have been investigated for a variety of Internet environments and applications. (Debatin et al., 2009) Its constant surveillance of billions of people worldwide has a significant impact on people, but billions of people have no choice but to access this public space on the terms set by Facebook. Schiffer (2019) writes that Facebook makes people dependent on their service and now monitors every message and search query.44 People are trapped, and they are obliged to succumb to this ubiquitous monitoring mechanism. Otherwise, people will just have to give up the benefits that the digital world brings. As much as people would like to rebel, there is a big reason why tech companies are now so vast, and Facebook’s dominance means that it is practically impossible for people to interact on the internet without agreeing to their surveillance-based business model. Amnesty (2019) mentioned that Facebook has made a huge difference by collecting billions of people’s data and monetizing it, it has amassed unparalleled power in the digital world.45 Yet this insidious control of information undermines the very essence of privacy, one of the defining human rights challenges of our time.

Facebook has established a dominant position on the main channel that most of the world relies on to carry out their rights online. People use the platform to search for and share information and participate in debates. It has become the basis for people to engage and interact with each other, which is in fact a global informational public square.

So how did Facebook take over people’s private step by step? They are providing these services to billions of people without charging users. Instead, people use their confidential personal data to pay for the service. And are constantly tracked in the network and physical world kind of. For example, though connecting devices. For instance, if you use your phone to log into Facebook after you go to dinner with a friend, then the background will get access to your gps. Isn’t it scary that Facebook can easily get this information about you if they need it. As time goes by, facebook is gradually weakening people’s privacy. People appear to be trapped. Amnesty (2019) suggested that people should never allow Facebook to decide how we live our lives online. They believe that the government should make laws to ensure that facebook cannot “consent” to the collection, processing and sharing of personal data in exchange for services. Facebook needs to respect human rights.

Fowler (2021) gave an example that Megan Borovicka joined Facebook in 2013 and then forgot she even had an account.46 But Facebook never forgot about her. While the 42-year-old Oakland, California, attorney has never chosen any “friends,” posted any status updates, liked any photos or even opened the Facebook app on her phone. Yet over the past decade, Facebook has used an invisible data vacuum system to collect very specific details about her life. Facebook knows her brand of underwear and even where she receives her paycheck. Facebook has become too big to escape. Facebook will compromise your privacy, but not in the way you feel that it will. It has convinced millions of other business, applications and websites to snoop into everyone’s life on its behalf. Even if users are not actively using Facebook, even if you are not online, Facebook still has access to your data. Fowler (2021) pointed out that among the 100 most popular smart phone apps, you can find 61 Facebook apps. Facebook has trackers in about 25% of its websites. Facebook is like a private investigator, pervasive in people’s lives. Facebook may be free, but you have to pay for your privacy.

The matter about Facebook invading people’s privacy is not simply a figment of people’s imagination. TechRepublic Staff (2020) wrote that on September 26, 2018, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton said in an interview with Forbes that “I sold out my users’ privacy” as the messaging app was sold to Facebook for $22 billion in 2014.47

On Sept. 28, 2018, Facebook disclosed details of a security breach affecting 50 million users. The vulnerability stems from the “View As” feature, which can be utilized to allow users to see how their profiles look to others. Attackers devised a way to export “access tokens” that could be utilized to take take control of other users’ accounts.

Every time Facebook finds itself embroiled in a privacy scandal, the general script seems to be the same: Mark Zuckerberg apologizes with oft-repeated lines like, “This was a big mistake,” or “I know we could have done better.” Despite repeated controversies over the approach Facebook handles personal data, it continues to gain new users.

Debatin et al. (2009) proposed that Facebook’s “Beacon” online messaging system tracks user behavior, such as online shopping. Initially, the messages were broadcast to the users’ friends. This resulted in angry protests in November 2007 and the creation of a Facebook group called “Petition: Facebook, Stop Invading My Privacy!” A Facebook group called “Petition: Facebook, Stop Violating My Privacy!” was created, which gained over 70,000 members in the first two weeks.

So how do people survive the surveillance apocalypse? The problem with monopolies is the fact that they give consumers few good choices. People can’t stop Facebook from collecting personal information in the first place. Fowler (2021) points out that currently, the most effective push back against Facebook’s privacy pricing comes from tech giants Apple and Google, which have their own monopolies on smart phone operating systems and web browsers. Earlier this year, Apple began giving iPhone users the ability to tell apps not to track them, thus undercutting Facebook’s ability to get data from apps that do not even know your email address or phone number. Google has promised similar settings for Android phones, but both are partial solutions at best. TechRepublic Staff (2020) mentioned that to better understand how Facebook handles user data, including the options that end users can and cannot modify, check out Facebook’s terms of service as well as its data policy and cookie policy may be helpful. The fact remains that no other online service can match the ability of Facebook and Instagram to connect you to people you know or may want to find out.

Given Facebook’s history with information policy controversy, it surprised none of us to learn that the platforms’s ToS and Privacy Policy allows for broad data collection and sharing as it relates to its users. Perhaps unsurprsingly, Terms of Service Didn’t Read, a third-party website that assesses and ranks the ToS and Privacy Policies of major companies, gives Facebook an overall E grade.48 While this is not out of line for other big tech players - Amazon, Youtube, and Reddit all score similarly - the ranking is substandard and reflects little more than a superficial attempt to mask unsettling data management behaviours behind closed doors. Some of the more concerning practices include using cookies for the purpose of tracking, accessing user activity such as private messages and browser history, and sharing said information with third parties to assist targeted advertising.

Although Facebook does allow users to set information as either public or private, and provides them with tools to further customize the visibility of this data, the platform assumes broad data collection and sharing positions that are carefully crafted to avoid adverse legal ramifications. Their data policy outlines the following reasons for user information collecting and sharing, all of which fall under the umbrella guise of “providing and supporting our Services”:
• Provide, improve and develop Services
• Communicate with you
• Show and measure ads and services
• Promote safety and security

Despite the seemingly (and perhaps in some cases, actual) innocuous nature of these justifications, our learning pod found the extent to which Facebook collects user information to be particularly disturbing. According to ToSDR, as per their data policy, Facebook collects

“information about the people, pages, accounts, hashtags and groups you are connected to and how you interact with them across our products, such as people you communicate with the most or groups you are part of. We also collect contact information if you choose to upload, sync or import it from a device. […]. We collect information about how you use our products, such as the types of content you view or engage with, the features you use, the actions you take, the people or accounts you interact with, and the time, frequency and duration of your activities.”49

Maybe read that last sentence again. Facebook acknowledges they monitor and collect every minute detail of your online activity, from the people and material you engage with to the amount of time you spend doing so.

Our concerns are shared with others, as evidenced by a DigitalTrends article titled, “Terms & Conditions: Facebook’s ‘Data Use Policy’ explained,” in which the author Andrew Couts echoed similar sentiments. As it relates to Facebook’s broad language on this issue, Couts found that the company will collect and use your data as long as it has either:
• received your permission
• told you it would do so (through the data policy)
• or removed any personally identifiable information, such as your name
As long as one of these three conditions has been met, Facebook reserves the right to use your information to “support our Services.” That is broad and troubling language.50

As it relates to tracking user movements, Facebook has vocally dismissed such accusations in recent years. In 2016, Facebook responded to unsupported allegations that it actively listens to user activity and conversations through the microphone of mobile devices by categorically denying such practices. In an official statement, Facebook’s parent company, Meta, said,

“Facebook does not use your phone’s microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in the news feed. […]. We only access your microphone if you have given our app permission and if you are actively using a specific feature that requires audio.”51

That made us as a learning pod feel slightly more at ease, however a recent 2021 Forbes article titled, “All the Ways Facebook Tracks You and How to Stop It,” agrees with the aforementioned points. While Facebook may not be actively listening in on its users, it doesn’t need to - it tracks and collects your data with the use of cookies and other methods. It even records your activity beyond the Facebook platform for better targeted advertising - something the company describes as,

“a summary of activity that businesses and organizations share with us about your interactions, such as visiting thir apps or websites.”

We found this to be troubling, particularly the notion that Facebook can be monitoring our online activity in third party apps that may be accessed by, “signing in through Facebook.” The number of apps that allow this type of engagement is high and all of us acknowledged signing in by this means, often without giving it a second thought.52

Fortunately, some major tech players are taking steps to enhance online privacy and arm users with the tools and awareness they need to opt out of these subtle yet intrusive forms of surveillance. In the recent iOS 14.5 update, Apple introduced a new iPhone privacy feature called App Tracking Transparency (ATT), which allows users to opt out of tracking across other apps and websites by explicitly granting / denying permission in each case. This change denied advertisers a key tracking method known as an IDFA code, which allowed marketers to see how you interacted with and responded to ads across platforms (i.e. see the ad on Facebook, later search it up on Google)..53 Obviously, this is a significant win for user privacy and a blow to Facebook’s information-harvesting ad machine.

As a learning pod, we don’t have reason to believe there is some sinister plot to use our information beyond the obvious profit-driven, advertising means, however even being exploited towards that end is unsettling. With Facebook’s entire business model being built around targeted marketing and advertising, the intentionally vague language of their ToS and privacy policy does little to assuage our data handling concerns.

2.4 Social Media and your PLN in Education

2.4.1 Describe how people are able to interact in your platform. Can people leave comments on content? Is there a quick and easy way to ‘Like’ or ‘favourite’ something? Who sees that ‘like?’ Do creators generally respond to comments on their content?

People are able to interact on the platform mainly through liking, commenting, or sharing posts. In addition, there are other features that Facebook offers for users to connect and engage in conversations:

  • Messenger: It’s perhaps the most essential part of allowing users to connect and instantly message each other. This messaging platform allows people to interact through audio, video, or text and offers ways to share content, react to messages, send and receive payments, and customize conversations.
  • Groups: Facebook Groups is for people who share the same interests and want to engage in conversations, share content, manage online and in-person events, etc. It’s a powerful way of connecting like-minded people and forming online communities.
  • Facebook Live: Facebook Live is one of the most popular features on the platform and has proven to be a very effective way for users to connect whether it’s for a fundraiser, Q&A, online event, dancing and music performances, cooking shows, etc. It’s also an important part of building authentic human connections and creating more memorable experiences. This feature is especially useful for creators who want to interact with their fans and community of followers.
  • Stories: Facebook Stories are a quick way of sharing content with friends and followers by posting photos or short videos. Creators use this feature to post creative content since it allows for more customization and engages viewers in a short span of time. Stories only last for 24 hours and are primarily used to share news, announcements, updates, funny or creative videos, events, and content excerpts.

If people want to initiate a conversation about a post, they can click on the “Comment” button or the box that says, “Write a Comment….” Along with the comments, users can add emojis, gifs, stickers, photos, or videos. It’s also possible to react or reply to other comments, which is a substantial way for users to communicate on the platform. In order to quickly like a post, users can simply click on the “Like” button, but they can also hover the “Like” button and choose a reaction by tapping an icon corresponding to “Like,” “Love,” “Haha,” “Wow,” “Sad” or “Angry.” Facebook launched “Reactions” in 2016 in order to give users the opportunity to express how they feel about a post in a quick and simple manner.54

Facebook Reactions

If people want to “favourite” something, they can select the ellipsis icon at the top right-hand corner of the post, and then choose “Save post/video/link/event.”55 Note that some Facebook profiles, pages, or groups are made public, and these normally belong to businesses, communities, public figures, etc. Everyone can see “likes” from users on public posts, even if they don’t follow the accounts of the post publisher or the users that have liked the posts. Regarding posts that show up on the “News Feed,” research indicates that Facebook prioritizes posts that are not business content, meaning that Facebook is used as a platform that prioritizes communication on a personal level. In general, established and well-known creators with large followings rarely engage with their audience and mostly share or create posts about their content or brands. However, there are a lot of up-and-coming creators that take advantage of Facebook to engage with their followers and build a larger community. This includes people like Molly Burke, Tom Kerridge, and Agustin Argüello. They were able to increase their content engagement substantially by responding to comments and asking or answering questions.56 Facebook also offers tools such as Creator Studio, which makes it easier for creators to manage their social media presence and interact with their fans.57

2.4.2 How do educators use the platform? What kinds of content are they teaching? Who is their audience? Do they respond to comments or questions? Are they using the platform as a PLN, or are they only creating content?

For this project, our group followed 10 educators on Facebook, and they are all public accounts such as @Gerry Brooks, @Teaching in the Fast Lane. They would post their content and then tag another educator, or another educational organization. In a recent post by Gerry Brooks, he tagged an Instagram account, which is interesting because when we click on that account, we are directed to the Instagram app. A lot of educators don’t reply to the comments, however, they will “like” some interesting comments. The interaction in the comment section is not very active, but we do see some exceptions. For example, @The Tutu Teacher is replying to comments and she has over 6000 followers. It’s key to note that each of her posts did not receive many comments, so it’s more manageable for her to respond to most of the comments. In general, some educators are using the platform as a PLN, but we found a noticeable pattern: the more followers educators have, the more they would use this platform to simply share contents, rather than creating a PLN. However, the popular educators would still tag other educators, or repost their content, and comment on them. This may still be considered as interacting with their PLN.

2.4.3 In your Learning Pod, plan and publish more than one *SHORT educational ‘post’ (whatever that looks like on your platform). Don’t put huge amounts of effort into your post. A simple ‘ProTip’ or ‘LifeHack’ type of post, or a ‘Did you know…[something you know about…].’ Publish your posts on a few of your Learning Pod’s accounts. How do people respond to your post? Do they respond to the same post differently depending on the persona of the account?

From the perspective of our first persona, there was little to no engagement with the posts that were created from the account. This is mainly because the profile is fairly new, and it was somewhat difficult to gain followers as a fictitious person. This further emphasized the importance of two-way communication on social media platforms, especially on Facebook. Had the educational posts been published on our personal accounts, the engagement would have been much higher because not only do we follow many pages and profiles, but others also follow us. This creates a strong bond between friends and followers, which indicates the need of having a Personal Learning Network (PLN) to thrive on social media. It would be interesting to publish the same post on other platforms such as LinkedIn or Twitter in order to see if there will be more engagement. However, the main drawback will be the lack of credibility the fictitious persona has on social media. If someone is not connected to a network of people, then it’s much harder to have meaningful interactions that create ongoing conversations. Thus, being a visitor on Facebook as a fictitious persona seems to be much easier than being a resident or having the same role when using a personal profile. It’s almost impossible to leave no public trace when we interact on social media with our friends and family. Even with enhanced options for controlling our privacy, platforms such as Facebook encourages its users to constantly interact, which leads to more public social activity.

Educational Post 1

Educational Post 2

2.4.4 Are there any concerns that educators should be aware of regarding your platform (privacy, age-inappropriate content, disinformation, misinformation, offensive or illegal content)?

Educators should certainly be aware of private message scams because as mentioned in the previous section, people can directly message others on Facebook without following them. Some scammers will try to get one’s private message by asking “Is this you?” If they reply, then they may be giving more private information in order to confirm with that person that “this isn’t me.” Also, for an account that is made public, it is best not to share personal or sensitive information on that account. Some educators make their accounts private, but they are still able to engage with their PLNs. So, if the account is not created to spread the content to a boarder audience, it’s best to maintain a more private network of connection and set restrictions on privacy settings. Furthermore, it’s vital to take consistent safety measures to protect one’s account such as frequently changing passwords, using multi-factor authentication.58

2.4.5 Make note of other things you notice that a curious educator might want to know about your platform.

This platform allows educators to create groups for classes, which further let’s them invite students to groups and better communicate with their classes. Facebook also allows online meetings, so if there’s an urgent meeting, Facebook live is always an option. Moreover, teachers can create polls on the platform, which could be a very good tool if they want to adjust the syllabus and ask students if they agree to these changes, or quiz students on certain concepts to gather a general overview of students’ knowledge. Furthermore, they could make polls about course evaluations in the middle of semester. This way, educators could get a good sense of how their classes are responding to their teaching methods and take in suggestions in order to improve. To embrace the social aspect of Facebook, they could also tag other teachers who teach the same topic, and maybe share their experience with each other. Lastly, to encourage further collaboration, educators could invite students to take part in the conversation and let them make connections with a wider educational network.59

2.5 Balancing your PLN and Public Discourse

2.5.1 How do notable, high-profile individuals use social media?

Notable, high-profile individuals use social media mainly to distribute business content, using the platform share content and contribute to larger conversation with other notable individuals. Unless some comments attract their attention, they are unlikely to respond to the comment section. The higher the social status they own, the less likely they are going to reply to comments. However, they do tag other notable individuals, that may be considered as their PLN.60 Some celebrities also use Facebook to apologize for their actions in case they do something wrong.61 It’s very important for famous people to control their public image, and apologizing for something they’ve said or done is probably the simplest way to gain back the respect of their fans. It’s also common for public figures to issue statements to news outlets, but reaching people directly through social media is more effective in garnering people’s attention and directly contacting people all around the world. Lastly, it’s key to metion that some celebrities have social media managers since they can’t afford to spend the time to manage their accounts. These managers are highly experienced in marketing and promoting celebrities so that they can gain followers, improve their public image, and build their brands.

2.5.2 What are the benefits to being in the public eye and having a PLN?

Benefits to being in the public eye and having a PLN might include exchanging knowledge, gaining more access to resources, and building relationships with others. Social media platforms like Facebook allow users to share educational content in different contexts (groups, public pages, personal profiles), which aggregate to be a treasure of available resources. Given Facebook’s highly personalized nature, it’s also much easier for people to find pages or groups that gain their interest and join groups of people that share similar hobbies. Having a PLN on social media facilitates learning in a more dynamic way since users can ask and answer questions, share resources such as videos or blog posts that might be helpful, and offer advice based on their professional and educational experience.62

2.5.3 Building community with online tools provided by an employer can be limiting, what are some possible restrictions and benefits?

Some possible restrictions and benefits of building community with online tools might be: privacy are more protected. Usually an online tool provided by a company is more safe, because the employers know that the communication involves many business contents that cannot be leaked, so they will choose online tools that could provide them privacy protection. On the other hand, these online tools cannot provide employees an opportunity to connect to wider online users, and this limits their PLN.63

2.5.4 Delivering information in a connected society requires verifiable resources, how can you ensure that you build a PLN you can rely on?

We think we can build a PLN based on the criteria of whether the members in the PLN respect copyright laws. For example, they must know the difference between creative commons and non creative commons, and share information in ways that are ethical. In order to gain trust, it’s very important that users share original work, and give credit to people and cite resources when they are referencing or using someone else’s work. Honesty, integrity, professionalism, and respect are qualities that should be displayed by all members in a Personal Learning Network (PLN) so that everyone can feel safe and also thrive in an environment without any worry. The goal for everyone in a PLN should be to help and support each other so that everyone can succeed. With continuous disinformation and misinformation campaigns, it’s harder to trust other users on social media, but there are ways to combat that. In our opinion, the best way to build PLNs in the context of Facebook Groups is to establish a set of rules and always have moderators who oversee all the activities on the group page. Any form of spam content, propoganda, misinformation, disinformation, or disrespectful content should be removed and the users should face consequences if their actions violate the laws.64

2.5.5 How do those who are veteran story tellers minimize the risk of sharing misinformation?

They would know how to evaluate their resources, for example, see if their resources come from a valid source, such as database, notable publications, journals. They would compare different sites’ information on the same topic, and deliver their content after they done enough research about it.65

2.6 Digital Identity, Access and Inclusion, and Media Literacy (including Trust and Disinformation)

2.6.1 How do you present yourself in social media? Do you have separate identities for personal and work or school use? Do you integrate your personal and professional identities? Do you use different platforms for different purposes?

I (Wenzhuo) present myself in social media as a visitor, I am not a resident as far as I consider. I often view sites or do research rather than distribute content online. I mainly use Twitter for political news, and YouTube to watch professionals playing games.

I (Alireza) present myself mostly as a visitor on social media for personal purposes and as a resident for work or school related purposes. There are also cases where I use some platforms for both professionally and personally. For instance, I use Google in order to search for specific content, websites, and keywords. It could be something that I’m curious to learn about or news about Canada, sports teams, movies, and education. In addition, I also often use Google to research about different concepts in my courses. The same thing applies to another Google product that I use, YouTube. I go on YouTube to watch videos about films, sports, news, and music, but I also use it to complement my learning at the university by watching educational videos from channels such as Khan Academy. Therefore, I often integrate my personal and professional identities as it would be somewhat tedious for me to constantly switch between my personal and professional accounts. There are platforms that I use for unique purposes such as LinkedIn for my professional career and connecting with people in the computer science industry, Discord for connecting with my classmates, WordPress for writing blog posts in EDCI 338, etc. In recent years, I’ve become more cautious with the information that I share online, and I try to limit the public trace that I leave on social media platforms.

I(Cassie)present myself as a casual user in social media. I donot specifically separate my school and my life identities. But there are times when I do things like nail art or photography. I would register a separate account for those things. I think I just categorize them differently, but in general it is still casual.

I (Tim) present myself as a visitor on social media. I think I tend to avoid the spotlight by default so I don’t make a habit of maintaining a highly visible online presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and YouTube. I do have accounts on all four but it is mostly to consume content rather than produce it. If I need to find something, I will frequently turn to Google and do my own research rather than reaching out to an online community. I primarily use Discord for school and am fairly active on that platform - I suppose I am leaning more towards a resident there. For professional, I really only use LinkedIn and there is not a lot of activity there. Perhaps that will increase when I find myself working in a professional setting. Besides the difference in platforms, I don’t actively separate my personal or work / school identities. I think that is largely because I don’t currently have a work setting that I want to insulate myself from.

2.6.2 How does the platform you chose for the Major Project incorporate accessibility and inclusion principles. How are disabled people treated on the platform? Are there multiple ways people can consume or produce content to meet accessibility needs? How do you include those who might otherwise be excluded?

The facebook platform we chose for the major project incorporate accessibility and inclusion principles because everyone have access to the platform without discrimination. However, many of the contents on facebook are not filtered and full of personal bias and misinformation. This means, we could have posts that are discrimnative towards minority groups.66

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  11. Top Facebook (Meta) Shareholders↩︎

  12. Senator Asks How Facebook Remains Free, Mark Zuckerberg Smirks: ‘We Run Ads’ | NBC News↩︎

  13. Debatin, B., Lovejoy, J. P., Horn, A., & Hughes, B. N. (2009). Facebook and online privacy: Attitudes, behaviors, and unintended consequences. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 15(1), 83-108. DOI↩︎

  14. Schiffer, Z. (2019, November 20). Facebook and Google surveillance is an ‘assault on privacy,’ says amnesty international. The Verge. URL↩︎

  15. Facebook and Google’s pervasive surveillance of billions of people is a systemic threat to human rights. (2019). Amnesty International. URL↩︎

  16. Fowler, G. A. (2021, August 29). The Washington Post. URL↩︎

  17. TechRepublic Staff. (2020, July 30). Facebook data privacy scandal: A cheat sheet. TechRepublic. URL↩︎

  18. Terms of Service Didn’t Read: Facebook↩︎

  19. Terms of Service Didn’t Read: Facebook↩︎

  20. Terms & Conditions: Facebook’s ‘Data Use Policy’ explained↩︎

  21. Facebook Does Not Use Your Phone’s Microphone for Ads or News Feed Stories↩︎

  22. All the Ways Facebook Tracks You and How to Stop It↩︎

  23. Apple’s Stunning New iPhone Feature is a Triumphant Success↩︎

  24. Reactions Now Available Globally↩︎

  25. How do I save something on Facebook to view it later?↩︎

  26. New ways to engage your audience and build your community↩︎

  27. Creator Studio↩︎

  28. Facebook Messenger Scams Are on the Rise—Here’s How to Protect Yourself↩︎


  30. The Most Influential Celebrities on Social Media↩︎

  31. How Celebrities Use Social Media to Build Their Brand↩︎

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  34. This is a comment.↩︎

  35. Common Resource↩︎

  36. This is a comment.↩︎

  37. Facebook’s Content Moderation Rules Are a Mess↩︎

  38. Facebook’s content moderation rules dubbed ‘alarming’ by child safety charity↩︎