Government surveillance within social networks didn’t arise out of nowhere; instead, it is a product of longstanding inequalities in power in technology that have historically privileged white men above all, who have been much more likely to control surveillance technologies than be targeted by them. The outrage over NSA surveillance has occurred and received massive coverage not because the deployment of technology for citizen surveillance is new but because white, technical, American men have finally become targets of the surveillant gaze rather than its aloof masters.
–Kate Losse, on when the male gaze looks back.
Essentially, Losse’s argument here is that services like Facebook (and particularly Facebook, given its origins) have always been about facilitating surveillance; by (white) men against women. And it’s only the nature of the way we talk about gender that means we don’t think of this behaviour as “surveillance”.
For the record, at the time of writing, I still don’t have a Facebook profile. Every now and again I get threatened with rumblings of needing one for professional purposes, but so far I’ve managed to resist.
Stay strong, Alis. Stay strong.