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Decolonial Computing and the Global Politics of Social Media platforms

Sun, May 27, 14:00 to 15:15, Hilton Prague, M, Tyrolka

Abstract

Terms such as ‘digital colonialism’, ‘colonialism 2.0’, ‘platform imperialism’ or ‘infrastructures of Empire’ have been increasingly invoked in both popular media and academic accounts. They refer to the way in which powerful, global social media platforms are engaging in a kind of ‘digital frontierism,’ in which they consider emerging economies in the Global South as key new destinations in the context of rapidly saturating markets in the Global North. Tensions around ‘the global politics of platforms’ have come to the fore on a number of occasions, such as Facebook’s failed attempt to introduce its free mobile phone app, Free Basics, in India in early 2016. This contribution discusses the relevance of the notion of ‘colonisation’, and decolonial approaches more generally, in making sense of the growing power of social media platforms in the everyday life of internet users, and particularly those on the African continent.

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