The Affect of Familiarity: Facebook

The authors of Evil Media take an ecological approach to examine the internal and external methods of communication within certain systems and interrogate the ever-present potential for manipulation. I was particularly intrigued by their chapter on Togetherness and their theories of how behavior is economized through cybernetic media. Social networks, rising to power for myself at the center of the formative age of adolescence, have rapidly become ubiquitous, seemingly unavoidable entities with very specific modes of communication and goals of social engineering in our culture. As I’ve grown into adulthood alongside Facebook, I’ve become increasingly aware of the contagion and trust that is spread through the affect of familiarity. The software itself becomes an addictive space, playing into the psychology of the user while the user “seeks bigger hits of machine interactivity” (57). Social media created a new modality of the consumption of information, manipulating the form and delivery of the messages. Fuller and Goffery claim:

“The broader significance of all the information that is consumed may not be readily known (who would even care?), but the reassuring familiarity of a glowing interface provides the comforting feeling that even if one is not in control, one at least has something to do” (57).

Through specific design functionalities, Facebook has created a powerful affect of familiarity that has resulted in a deeply ingrained trusting of the media. Most Facebook users don’t think twice when they upload a number of pictures and Facebook responds with this interface:

facialrecognitionfacebook

Facebook’s technology that makes this functionality possible, DeepFace, is a facial recognition software, similar to that of the United States military software, that uses layering technology to create a 3D model of a 2D image and matches it to a wide database of facial structures linked to profiles and is immediately able to identify the subject of the photo with an accuracy rate of 97.25%. While massive facial recognition databases used by government agencies are criticized heavily and are a cause for moral panic and public fear of privacy infringement, Facebook has managed to slip by through the excessively comforting design of the social network and the powerful affect of the familiar. Fuller and Goffery claim, “When combined with the tools of cognitive science and psychology, software-based media forms offer a powerful set of devices for translating a range of background practices of every day life into the new but deceptively familiar world of pointing and clicking, dragging and dropping, cutting and pasting” (57). Facebook’s deceptive familiarity has been successful in collecting a massive amount of personal information and creating extensive social databases with the endless possibilities for evil manipulation.

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~ by chelseanewburg on April 21, 2014.

One Response to “The Affect of Familiarity: Facebook”

  1. […] Facebook’s technology that makes this functionality possible, DeepFace, is a facial recognition software, similar to that of the United States military software, that uses layering technology to create a 3D model of a 2D image and matches it to a wide database of facial structures linked to profiles and is immediately able to identify the subject of the photo with an accuracy rate of 97.25%. While massive facial recognition databases used by government agencies are criticized heavily and are a cause for moral panic and public fear of privacy infringement, Facebook has managed to slip by through the excessively comforting design of the social network and the powerful affect of the familiar. Fuller and Goffery claim, “When combined with the tools of cognitive science and psychology, software-based media forms offer a powerful set of devices for translating a range of background practices of everyday life into the new but deceptively familiar world of pointing and clicking, dragging and dropping, cutting and pasting” (57). Facebook’s deceptive familiarity has been successful in collecting a massive amount of personal information and creating extensive social databases with the endless possibilities for evil manipulation.”   https://digitalmediatheory.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/the-affect-of-familiarity-facebook/ […]

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