Together with the Mercator working group, DATACTIVE had the pleasure of joining the DMI (Digital Methods Initiative) summer school to work on a special project: Facebook’s Anatomy. As a form of data-activism in-practice, this project was devoted to try and dissect the working mechanisms of the Facebook user interface, split into a more qualitative, visual language/psychological analysis of the front-end and a more quantitative analysis of the back-end. The analysis tried to track the ‘coming to life’ onboarding process, and the way in which users are gently nudged and persuaded to enter more personal data through explicit performative steps (think drop-down menus and text bars). This was measured against the role of language and colour/placement design formatting in this onboarding trajectory on the one hand. On the other, this sequence of events was matched with the growth of the data that is inferred from these explicit actions and implicit input (like IP-address, browser, operating system for instance).
Find the wiki documenting the research here.
Our tentative findings are presented using the slides below. This Facebook Anatomy project has sprung out of the minds of the Mercator working group and has been reworked into a DMI research print which accommodated 15 participants. DATACTIVE was represented by Guillen, Davide & Jeroen.
PRESENTATION_The Anatomy of Facebook (1)