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Framing 'digital well-being' as a social good

journal contribution
posted on 07.12.2020, 01:08 by Michael Daubs, Alex Beattie
This contribution argues that companies such as Apple, Facebook, and Google are increasingly incorporating features that supposedly promote “digital well-being” to forestall regulation of their platforms and services. The inclusion of these features, such as Apple’s Screen Time, frames these commercial platforms as providing a social good by promising to encourage more “intentional” or “mindful” use of social media and mobile devices. As a result, oft-critiqued platforms are increasingly adopting the language of their critics in order to frame themselves as a social good. This strategy mimics that used by radio executives in the United States in the early twentieth century, where the medium developed as a predominantly commercial enterprise. To avoid regulation, it became necessary to perpetuate the perception that commercial broadcasters were also a social good that fulfilled a public service function. Platforms today, we assert, are inadvertently or purposefully adopting a similar tactic to position themselves as leaders in a developing digital wellness market in the hopes of avoiding future governmental regulation.

History

Preferred citation

Daubs, M. & Beattie, A. (2020). Framing 'digital well-being' as a social good. First Monday, 25(12). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v25i12.10430

Journal title

First Monday

Volume

25

Issue

12

Publication date

23/11/2020

Publisher

University of Illinois

Publication status

Published online

Contribution type

Article

Online publication date

23/11/2020

ISSN

1396-0466

Exports