Social Media: A Critical Introduction (Third Edition)

Christian Fuchs. 2021. Social Media: A Critical Introduction. London: Sage. Third edition. 448 pages.

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ISBN 978-1-5297-5274-8 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1-5297-5275-5 (hardcover)

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Preface and Introduction, PDF
Sample chapter: Chapter 7: Influencer Capitalism: Reified Consciousness in the Age of Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat, PDF

The German edition of this book was published in 2021 by UVK/utb.
The Greek edition of the third edition was published in 2023 by Ropi Publications.

You will never look at social media the same way again. 
Social media are an integral part of contemporary society. From news and politics to language and everyday life, they have changed the way we communicate, use information and understand the world. 
So we have to ask critical questions about social media. We have to dig deeper into issues of ownership, power, class and (in)justice. 
This book equips you with a critical understanding of the complexities and contradictions at the heart of social media’s relationship with society. The revised and expanded Third Edition: 
* Explores populism, racism and nationalism in a new chapter on right-wing authoritarianism.
* Introduces the phenomenon of social media influencers in the age of Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat.
* Explains how big data is central to social media in a new chapter on big data capitalism and imperialism.
* Explores the growing prominence of platforms and platform capitalism.
* Challenges you to envision and achieve a truly social media that serves the purposes of a just and fair world.
* Analyses fake news and misinformation in the context of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

There are winners and losers in the age of digital capitalism. This book is an essential guide for anyone who wants to critically understand how we got to digital capitalism, and what we can do about it.

Table of Contents

List of figures and tables, page ix
About the author, page xiii
Preface, page xv


1  What is a Critical Introduction to Social Media?, page 3
2  What are Social Media?, page 25
3  Big Data Capitalism, page 49


4  The Power and Political Economy of Social Media, page 73
5  Google: Good or Evil Search Engine?, page 109
6  Facebook and WhatsApp: Surveillance in the Age of Fake News, page 139
7 Influencer Capitalism: Reified Consciousness in the Age of Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat, page 173
8 Twitter and Democracy: A New Public Sphere?, page 205
9 Right-wing Authoritarianism on Social Media, page 239
10 Weibo: Power, Ideology, and Social Struggles in China, page 265
11 The Sharing Economy of Airbnb, Uber, and Upwork, page 285
12 Platform Capitalism, page 309
13 Wikipedia: A New Democratic Form of Collaborative Work and Production?, page 327


14 Capitalist Social Media’s Major Problems and Alternatives, page 347
15 A Manifesto for Truly Social Media, page 367

References, page 387
Index, page 413