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Habitual Disclosure: Routine, Affordance and the Ethics of Young Peoples Social Media Data Surveillance

Southerton, C. & Taylor, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-2664-2194 (2020). Habitual Disclosure: Routine, Affordance and the Ethics of Young Peoples Social Media Data Surveillance. Social Media and Society, 6(2), article number 2056305120. doi: 10.1177/2056305120915612


Drawing on findings from qualitative interviews and photo elicitation, this paper explores young people’s experiences of breaches of trust with social media platforms and how comfort is re-established despite continual violations. It provides rich qualitative accounts of users habitual relations with social media platforms. In particular, we seek to trace the process by which online affordances create conditions in which ‘sharing’ is regarded as not only routine and benign but pleasurable. Rather it is the withholding of data that is abnormalised. This process has significant implications for the ethics of data collection by problematising a focus on ‘consent’ to data collection by social media platforms. Active engagement with social media, we argue, is premised on a tentative, temporary, shaky trust that is repeatedly ruptured and repaired. We seek to understand the process by which violations of privacy and trust in social media platforms are remediated by their users and rendered ordinary again through everyday habits. We argue that the processes by which users become comfortable with social media platforms, through these routines, calls for an urgent reimagining of data privacy beyond the limited terms of consent.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Facebook; trust; habits; surveillance; young people
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
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