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What is User Data

New Media and Visual Communication in Social Networks
All information and content collected and stored about a social media user by the government and/or companies of social media.
Published in Chapter:
Rise of Facebook in the USA and WeChat in China: Commodification of Users
Naziat Choudhury (Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1041-4.ch014
The owners of Facebook and WeChat repeatedly promote their media as the preferred platform for people to connect. Improving social relationships was marketed as the reason for their innovation. But users' urge to unite on these OSN services alone cannot explain the success of these media in the US and China. There is a different or rather new business approach underpinning these OSN services that contribute to their success. The author argues that there is an implication of owners' profit-based interest in ensuring the popularity of their online platforms. Audience commodity analysis as discussed by Dallas W. Smythe and Christian Fuchs is employed in the contexts of the US and China to comprehend the complex factors related to online social media owners' interest and their negotiation with the government in online media's prosperity. Through archival research including examination of newspapers, policy documents from OSN-based companies, and survey results from 2015 to mid-2018, this chapter demonstrates the political economy of Facebook and WeChat.
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