Recently, I gave a talk at an interesting symposium, Convergence and Disjuncture in Global Digital Culture? organized by the Project for Advanced Research in Global Communication (PARGC) at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.
My talk was based on my paper, “50 shades of privacy: Facebook ecologies from the margins of Brazil and India.” In brief, the talk questions whether there is a global digital privacy culture? Is Facebook with its global brand, algorithmic structures and privacy settings universalizing the digital experiences of the poor in the global South? the paper argues that Facebook, through its internet.org initiative provides free access to select sites to the poor in the global South, making it the one-stop-shop for most of their social activity online. Given this context collapse, this digital space becomes a forum of public expression as well as state control on morality and privacy rights. It is complicit in obfuscation that empowers and exploits. This text investigates how low-income youth in two of the BRICS nations- Brazil and India, exercise and express their notions on digital privacy, interpersonal surveillance and trust on Facebook. We find there is a convergence in the perception of Facebook as a public and ‘happy’ place. However, disjunctures arise on the motivations for such affections: escapism from chronic violence in the case of Brazil and aspiration for romance in the context of arranged marriages in India. Digital privacy rights confront gender equality. Overall, this paper provides fresh perspectives on how privacy is pluralizing for a globalizing and emerging digital data public.
If you would like to access the slides, here goes: