Between visibility and surveillance: Challenges to political participation in social media

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearch


As activists move from alternative media platforms to commercial social media platforms they face increasing challenges in protecting their online security and privacy. While government surveillance of activists is well-documented in both scholarly research and the media, corporate surveillance of activists remains under-researched. This presentation explores visibility as a prerequisite and an obstacle to political participation. The dual capacity of visibility in social media enables both surveillance and counter-surveillance by making not only the surveilled actor, but also the surveilling actor visible. It thus enables activists to monitor and expose corporate misconduct, but simultaneously renders them vulnerable to surveillance from corporations. In this presentation, I examine these practices and discuss their implications for political participation by drawing on examples of companies’ surveillance of anti-capitalist activists in social media.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date15 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventUppsala seminar series: Department of Informatics and Media - Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
Duration: 15 Oct 201515 Oct 2015


SeminarUppsala seminar series
LocationUppsala University
Internet address

Cite this