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Giving by taking away: big tech, data colonialism and the reconfiguration of social good

Viera Magalhães, João and Couldry, Nick ORCID: 0000-0001-8233-3287 (2021) Giving by taking away: big tech, data colonialism and the reconfiguration of social good. International Journal of Communication, 15. 343 - 362. ISSN 1932-8036

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Abstract

Big Tech companies have recently led and financed projects that claim to use datafication for the “social good”. This article explores what kind of social good it is that this sort of datafication engenders. Through the analysis of corporate public communications and patent applications, it finds that these initiatives hinge on the reconfiguration of social good as datafied, probabilistic, and profitable. These features, the article argues, are better understood within the framework of data colonialism. Rethinking “doing good” as a facet of data colonialism illuminates the inherent harm to freedom these projects produce and why, in order to “give”, Big Tech must often take away.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2020 12:00
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2021 18:06
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/107516

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