Facebook: Zuckerberg's High-Tech Panopticon Essay

Submitted By akahn5
Words: 1307
Pages: 6

Authority is established for Mark Zuckerberg with the title of "Person of the Year" given to him by Time magazine. The title, printed in big, bold letters above Zuckerberg's face on the cover of the magazine, creates an illusion that the public sees as a truth that Zuckerberg has some sort of power over society. Assumptions of subjectivity operate in the image because people create judgements based on personal interpretations of what he or she sees. The image of Zuckerberg placed on Time magazine labeled as "Person of the Year" is the perfect example of how the image can create illusions for the public eye. According to The Theory Toolbox: “Author/ity”, authors are everywhere and their works are easily accessible, “but we need to remember theory rule number 1: Everything is suspect” (Nealon and Giroux 10). In the picture, viewers can consciously notice his importance in 2010, however, these people unconsciously are recognizing his dominance in society and how he was able to take a website he created and indirectly control the lives of people within society. The image of Zuckerberg makes society believe he is powerful and makes his power a "truth". Zuckerberg was recognized as the "Person of the Year", meaning that his creation of Facebook is significant in society, but why? Why is it a social norm for people today? Facebook is the face of youth today. As a young adult, it is only normal to have a Facebook account as if it is a standard for all people who want to be socially accepted. These people use their Facebooks as a way to promote themselves to their peers. People change what they do in their spare time so they are able to document it on Facebook and show off to others what they do. Zuckerberg only has power over society because society believe thats Facebook is important. The image of Zuckerberg on Time magazine only solidifies the idea that the public has created the illusion that Facebook is truly a normal, and significant part of living in modern society. The creation of Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg has permanently changed the ways of society. Facebook is a place where an individual can share his or her information and ideas with whomever he or she would like. Facebook allows for its’ users to not only become authors, but to become authors of their own personal identities and the identity formed is merely a reflection the person's true self. The theorist Barthes argues that the texts is more important than the author and knowing the author can hurt the value of the text. When it comes to Facebook, a "friends" have the ability to view images of a particular person, read his/her personal information, and see his/her interests along with more private matters. This ultimately can hurt the person who's Facebook is being looked at because "friends" can create bias towards or against the person or even create expectations for the person. For example, when it comes to teenagers, inappropriate pictures can really hurt their chances of being accepted to college. If a picture of a teen in risque clothing surrounded by people with alcohol, even if the actual teen isn't doing anything illegal, is seen by an employee of a particular college, the employee can create false truths about the teen and choose not to allow the teenager into the college. The pictures can discredit all of the achievements the teenager might have, proving Barthes' argument that knowing the author of a text can hurt the value of the text itself. In this case, Facebook made it possible for the teenager's academic abilities to be unimportant after the college employee viewed who the teenager is. Facebook is one of today's largest panopticons. In the panopticon, Mark Zuckerberg is the indendent. He has complete control over the entire site’s functions and oversees all of the users, yet the users cannot see him. It is not possible to be “friends” with him on the site; the only option is to “like” his page. If Zuckerberg allowed the common Facebook