Towards A Queer Futurity of Data Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • On February 17th, 2017, Mark Zuckerberg published a 5,800-word Facebook post rescripting the company's Corporate Social Responsibility strategy and defining its future directions. The manifesto, as some commentators referred to it, declared Facebook's future vision for "developing the social infrastructure for community" and emphasized the company's focus on fostering a global community that is supportive, safe, informed, civically-engaged, and inclusive. "To our community," the post begins, "On our journey to connect the world, we often discuss products we're building and updates on our business. Today I want to focus on the most important question of all: are we building the world we all want?" Zuckerberg goes on to propose how Facebook can shape an equitable future, explaining how, "In times like these, the most important thing we at Facebook can do is develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us." This is a radically optimistic and persuasive agenda, and if one were to focus solely on the efforts of community building, then one might not be compelled to consider how, in fact, Facebook will achieve its future vision. Omitted from this sanguine future narrative is any mention whatsoever of data as its key asset. The basic work Facebook does is to collect data and to hold on to it for a long time, if not forever. Thus, the future conjured for us by Facebook necessitates the production of data by its participants, though not once is data referenced.