By making our actions and shares visible to a crowd, social media exposes us to a kind of virtual Panopticon. This is not just because our activities are monitored and recorded by the social media service for the purposes of producing market analysis or generating targeted advertising. For the most part, we can and do ignore this kind of data harvesting. The surveillance that directly affects us and impacts on our behaviour comes from the people with whom we share.
There are no guards and no prisoners in Facebook’s virtual Panopticon. We are both guards and prisoners, watching and implicitly judging one another as we share content.