[Air-L] Facebook take on Digital Inequalities seems way too deterministic... surprised?

Alejandro Tortolini alemtor at gmail.com
Wed Aug 21 10:46:15 PDT 2013

Not surprising.
By the way, since the petition to the United Nations to consider
conectivity a human right, to its proclamation, just pased one year. To get
the same status to the potable water it took 15 years...

Alejandro Tortolini

2013/8/21 David Nemer <dnemer at indiana.edu>

> Dear all,
> Last night Mr. Z released a report called "Is Connectivity A Human Right?"
> with an attempt to come up with a plan to provide internet access to all of
> us.
> The title of the report gave me some hope on the content of his plan, but
> after reading it, I was, again, frustrated but not surprised. He is mostly
> concerned in spending money to improve the internet infrastructure and
> defray the costs with data plans, arguing that the internet is the
> "foundation of the global knowledge economy."
> I do see the value in investing money on internet infrastructure, since it
> is a big factor that keeps the digital inequalities so evident, but as we
> all know, it is just another factor... what about digital literacy and
> situated education?
> As I'm doing fieldwork in the slums (favelas) of Brazil, I finally see how
> Facebook became THE THING over here... and everywhere. People don't care
> about the "internet", web, emails... they only want to get on Facebook. It
> became very interesting when I started analyzing their behavior on the
> social networking site. It is mostly chatting, sharing and liking. The chat
> is in a horizontal way (they are chatting with people who belong to the
> same social class /  community), but the stuff they share and like are
> completely vertical, the stuff come in English and/or from higher (and more
> educated) social classes and/or ads and pages suggested by Facebook. I have
> several informants who are illiterate and spend all their afternoons in the
> Telecentros and LAN Houses sharing and liking these things that they don't
> really understand.
> (Naive mode on) I honestly still don't know why Facebook wants to have
> everyone on the Intenet (mode off). My hunch is that they could (want to)
> turn those in social and economic disadvantages into mechanical turks and
> content consumers...
> Facebook does collaborate with local cellphone carriers... in Brazil Oi and
> Claro customers don't pay to get on the SNS on their mobile phones. So why
> don't Facebook start collaborating with local programs to develop digital
> literacy and critical thinking among the people that "can't buy data
> plans"?
> Anyways, I don't want to sound repetitive because people in AoIR and
> Community Informatics lists are well aware of such deterministic approaches
> and how they are not effective... but I'd like to invite everyone to think
> of ways to bring different views into places that can make a difference
> like Facebook
> Here's the link of the report:
> https://www.facebook.com/isconnectivityahumanright/isconnectivityahumanright.pdf
> --
> *David Nemer*
> PhD Candidate in Social Informatics
> School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University
> Editor of the Social Informatics Blog - http://socialinformaticsblog.com
> http://www.dnemer.com dnemer at indiana.edu
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Alejandro Tortolini

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