Social Networking Sites and the Surveillance Society
studiVZ, Facebook. MySpace: First study of social networking sites in Austria
Fuchs, Christian. 2009. Social Networking Sites and the Surveillance Society. A Critical Case Study of the Usage of studiVZ, Facebook, and MySpace by Students in Salzburg in the Context of Electronic Surveillance. Salzburg/Vienna: Research Group UTI. ISBN 978-3-200-01428-2.
Press Release (January 2009)
674 students from Salzburg participated in the study that was conducted by the eTheory Research Group (University of Salzburg, ICT&S Center). 88.3% of the respondents use studiVZ, 39.5% Facebook, 15.9% MySpace, 9.0% Xing, 7.4% Lokalisten. Each of 61 other social networking sites (SNS) is used by less than 1%. Study author associate professor Christian Fuchs: “There are indications for a strong economic concentration in the area of social networking sites. On the one hand concerning usage, but as a consequence on the other hand also in relation to profits that are made by advertising”.
59.1% of the respondents see the maintenance of social contacts as the biggest advantage of SNS, 55.7% say that economic and political surveillance is the greatest risk. Fuchs: “Students are very aware of the massive collection of personal data on these platforms, they use them nonetheless because of the expected communicative advantages. This does not mean that they are incautious, but that there is a structural lack of alternative platforms. Non-commercial, non-profit SNS do not have to evaluate data for personalized advertisements, therefore the probability of surveillance and data abuse decreases. But such platforms are currently hardly existent or completely unknown, therefore young people − the main usage group of social networking sites − have to rely on commercial service providers that collect, store, and evaluate personal data in order to accumulate profits by targeted advertising”.
The expertise of the study will be part of the Europe-wide research project “Living in Surveillance Societies” of the European Science Foundation, in which Christian Fuchs represents Austria in the management committee.
ORF Futurezone, 19.1.2009:” studiVZ bei Studenten am beliebtesten: Studie zur Nutzung von Social Networking Sites in Salzburg” Link
Salzburg TV, 29.1.2009: Ausgesprochen Salzburg: “Gefahr und Potenzial von studiVZ & Co” Link
Der Standard, 7.5.2009: Nutzer von Facebook & Co: Keine Freude mit persoenlicher Werbung Link
Die Presse, 7.5.2009: Nutzer von Facebook & Co: Keine Freude mit persoenlicher Werbung Link
Oberoesterreichische Nachrichten, 7.5.2009: Nutzer von Facebook & Co: Keine Freude mit persoenlicher Werbung Link