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Understanding Social Media

Extensions of Their Users

Series:

Robert K. Logan and Mira Rawady

The purpose of this book is to understand the nature of social media and the impact they are having on almost all aspects of modern-day existence from family life and social interactions to education and commerce. Just as fish are unaware of the water they swim in and we humans are unaware of the air that we breathe so it is that the users of social media are unaware of the effects of these media and take their existence as a natural part of their environment. The authors make use of Marshall McLuhan’s media ecology approach to understanding media in order to reveal the effects of social media on their users, how they are changing the nature of our social interactions and how we through our interaction with social media have become actual extensions of our social media, the reverse of McLuhan’s notion that media are extensions of mankind.

The authors analyze the major social media apps including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tinder, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter and blogs as well as examining the Splinternet and the social media scene in Russia, China, North Korea, Vietnam and the Islamic world. Understanding Social Media studies the impacts of social media monopolies, the nature of advertising and branding in social media apps and the social media front in cyberwarfare and concludes with an analysis of the social media counter revolution waged by players who actually helped to create social media.

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Chapter Twenty: The Splinternet and Social Media Censorship in China, North Korea, Vietnam, Russia, and the Islamic World

Extract

The Internet and the World Wide Web, which host social media are not so world-wide as is suggested in the opening lines of the Wired magazine article “California Could Soon Have its own Version of the Internet”:

The Chinese Internet is not like the internet in the rest of the world. More than 150 of the world’s 1,000 most popular internet sites are blocked in China, including Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Instead, domestic platforms like Baidu, WeChat, and Sina Weibo thrive. Internet freedom advocates have worried that the internet will fracture into multiple national “splinternets” since France banned Yahoo’s ecommerce users from selling Nazi paraphernalia in the country in 2000, whether due to state censorship or well-intentioned policies that alter the web experience. The Tor Project says at least a dozen countries, including Pakistan and Russia, censor the Internet. Meanwhile, search results within the European Union can differ from those elsewhere due to its right to be forgotten law, and Web publishers around the world are still grappling with the effect of the sweeping EU privacy regulations that took effect this year. A series of laws passed in California this year raise a new possibility: that individual US states will splinter off into their own versions of the internet (https://www.wired.com/story/california-could-soon-have-own-version-internet/ accessed Feb. 3, 2019).

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Although for some the Internet was the harbinger of a united global society believing that McLuhan’s notion of ‘global village,’ would be one of...

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