New Criticals

Facebook purports to be a neutral representation of sociality, of its users’ social life. But, as has been consistently reported over the last few years, Facebook is not neutral, just effacing. Facebook’s algorithms are a mode of social design that curates a user’s access to information and communication; moreover, it produces conditions for connection that must be recognized as new affective modes of sociality. Facebook is full of paradoxes: eventalizing the rote and ordinary, connecting without being together, being present in multiplex ways. Users of Facebook are always making their lives visible and present, existing in an unresolved present, where life can be called up and refreshed. This performance of an individual sovereign life, to be witnessed by Facebook and its users as sociality, is also a making over of that life in ever more granular, quantified terms. The banal Facebook paradox is one of storage—the live present of Facebook is possible because data is stored elsewhere. The encounter with live Facebook subjects is possible precisely because subjects are always already interpolated as stored data. Facebook presents an unresolved subject who is becoming-with technology (perpetually in the present), while blocking from view the remaking of the sovereign subject as a software litany (the profiled subject found in directories, routines, archives, history), a neoliberal data subject.