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Why do we stay on Facebook? It’s complicated

Facebook on mobile

Lately I can’t log onto Facebook without being asked to consider my own motivations for using the site.

As a researcher who focuses on online communities, I’m accustomed to this running meta-narrative about what it is I’m actually doing online — but usually, that narrative plays inside my head, not all the way down the feed I’m scrolling through. It’s like my research questions have sprung to life these days: What’s Facebook all about, anyway? Is this even fun? If it’s not fun … what is it, exactly?

This is an exciting time in the very short history of social media use.

Facebook’s users are becoming critical of the systems into which they’ve been conscripted. This is an important moment: Will public opinion follow the same well-worn cycle of outrage and acceptance, or will it jump the tracks and begin engaging Facebook on new, more challenging terms?

Researchers have been asking tough questions about Facebook for the past decade, but even armed with the most prestigious credentials, they pose a much smaller threat than educated consumers. And without consumer outrage, government regulation seems unlikely to move forward.

Full story: theconversation.com

Kathryn Jezer-Morton
The Conversation

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