Facebook’s Walled Garden: Controlling, Surveilling and Censoring All

A few months ago it was brought to my attention that Facebook actively engages in controlling information flows, surveilling users and censoring their content. I wrote a blog post regarding the censorship processes Facebook moderators follow and found the results of my research quite intriguing.

As a result of Facebook’s conscious decisions to control, surveil and censor, it has been labeled a ‘walled garden’. Facebook collects data on its individual users, — see Max Schrems’ class action lawsuit against Facebook for more on Facebook’s data collection means —, controls the way in which this data is managed and moreover censors the individuals whom produce the data it values most. Thus Facebook’s centralised nature as a closed platform is proof that it is a walled garden limiting users in a number of ways.

The following infographic explores the way in which Facebook conceptualises the ‘walled garden’ in a contemporary online setting.

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11 thoughts on “Facebook’s Walled Garden: Controlling, Surveilling and Censoring All

  1. i think this is so interesting how facebook and other platforms that are categorised as ‘wall gardens’ have access to all our information and keep a record. The fact that we cant to anything about it scares me a little bit and makes me more cautious of my social media activities, but like ted said in the lecture to get information we must give information.

  2. Hey you made what can be a complicated topic quite easy to understand. The infograph had some really scary stuff on there though! 1.4 billion people across the globe… one company having all the control over all those people’s information that they thought was mostly private. Really gives us something to think about. 🙂

  3. Hi Melissa,
    I post is a really strong reflection of both your own research and the lecture for the week, and your infographic is very clear and concise in highlighting your post. It’s quite daunting that in my 6 years on Facebook there will be thousands of pages of information that Facebook has surveyed and kept just sitting somewhere on their servers. But then, when Max Schrem’s case study was brought up in the news a few years ago, I remember I was really not that shocked. I mean, I’ve always had the notion that “the internet never forgets” so to have it distinctly brought to light was yes, a disturbing reminder, but no, not ultimately shocking. The internet is, after all, fundamentally built upon the free flow of information, so it makes a little sense that anything we contribute to it is still floating around somewhere, especially since there are companies that thrive off the aggregation of content, no matter what it is.

    • Hi Hayley,
      I am so glad you liked it, I appreciate your feedback. I also agree that whilst it is daunting and makes me a little more weary of how I share my experiences online, I shouldn’t be surprised that Facebook has aggregated so much personal detail regarding my life and the life of others. I remember being taught in school that what you share online becomes a ‘digital tattoo’ that is very hard to remove. Thanks for commenting!

  4. You infographic is really well laid out and visual appealing. I find your blog extremely interesting, and good use of external links to better understand the points you make. I wasn’t aware that Facebook was a walled garden, very interesting blog, well done 🙂

  5. You did a wonderful job on your inforgraphic! It was so easy to understand the explanation within your blog and how you have used a common example such as Facebook to illustrate the term “walled garden”. Though some might perceive the ‘walled garden” as barrier since it does ban undesirable materials from Facebook, I believe it is a good thing. At least now individuals would think twice before they post up any unnecessary images or statuses.

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