Laura Scheiber and I wrote a paper on romance online among low-income youth in Brazil and India. It will be out early next year, titled, “Slumdog romance: Facebook love and digital privacy at the margins of India and Brazil”
Facebook has consolidated its position as the one-stop-shop for social activity among the poor in the global South. Sex, Romance, Love – are key motivations for mobile and Internet technology usage among this demographic, much like the West. Digital romance is a critical context through which we gain fresh perspectives on Internet governance for an emergent digital and globalizing public. Revenge porn, slut shaming and Internet romance scams are a common and growing malady worldwide. Focusing on how it manifests in diverse digital cultures will aid in the shaping of new internet laws for a more inclusive cross-cultural public. In specific, this paper examines how low-income youth in two of the BRICS nations- Brazil and India, exercise and express their notions on digital privacy, surveillance and trust through the lens of romance. This allows for a more thorough investigation of the relationship between sexuality, morality, and governance within the larger Facebook ecology. As Facebook becomes the dominant virtual public sphere for the world’s poor, we are compelled to ask if inclusivity of the digital users comes at the price of diversity of digital platforms.