Join us for an artist talk with Emily Royall on her show "Data Fictions" at Flax Studio.
DATA FICTIONS documents the border between our physical and online personas.
How well do social media platforms like Facebook know us? At what point does our own sense of self become shaped by the categories that are used to de ne us? What matters more: who you think you are, or who Facebook thinks you are?
Facebook, and its subsidiary Instagram, collects data about you and uses that data to create “categories” that helps the company identify you to marketers and other third parties. After Facebook allowed an application co-opted by Cambridge Analytica to collect the data of over 80 million Facebook users without their permission, the European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), that requires companies to share with the public information about the data collected from them. Although the law only applies to EU citizens, some companies like Facebook decided to apply the rule to everyone. As a result, you can now view your “Facebook categories” today.
Peeking into our categories reveals some uncomfortable realities about how the minutiae of our browsing habits, likes, or comments creates an in-depth portrait of your identity: at least the one(s) we present online. This data is used not just for marketing, but also to build new services, products, and some argue, new culture. This leads to some challenging questions about how our identity, real or arti cially perceived, is intimately tied to tomorrow’s cultural and economic development.
DATA FICTIONS is a project of the digital equity studio, Ouvert.