Zuccotti Park, the site of Occupy Wall Street, and One Liberty Plaza, the multi-billion-dollar tower, represent a complex power play between public and private interests. In the digital realm, social media grapples with a similar contention: social networks would not exist without platform businesses and yet their public benefits are at odds with the drive for private profit.
Join us for a special Berkman Klein Center Luncheon featuring Joanne Cheung, who will discuss her research and open access article Real Estate Politik: Democracy and the Financialization of Social Networks, which emerged from the Berkman Klein Ethical Tech Working Group and was originally published in a special issue of the Journal of Social Computing, “Technology Ethics in Action: Critical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives” (Part 1, Part 2).
Cheung argues that “social networks are privately owned public spaces caught between the misaligned incentives of public good and private profit” and that their business models perpetuate historical inequities.
Cheung’s article also explores the structural problems with social media from the perspective of land use. She compares the financialization of attention by platforms with the financialization of land by commercial real estate development—and explores activist land use models for public interest technology.
We ask that attendees read sections 2 and 3 of Real Estate Politik.
This event, moderated by James Mickens, will include a presentation of Cheung’s work and an open dialogue and participatory brainstorm session where audiences and speakers co-imagine how we collectively move from idea to action.
In Cheung’s words,
I hope this work inspires interdisciplinary research on social networks as democratic infrastructure, and in particular, research that can inform new business models, incentive structures, and discursive norms.
We look forward to having you with us!