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Communications & Media
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A Critical Review of Christian Fuchs’ Article (Essay Sample)

Instructions:

the review discussed Fuchs' (2011) article's critical analysis of Google's political economy. the subsequent part of the paper critiqued the article from other perspectives. Lastly, it offers Christian Fuchs' interpretation and concludes whether Google offers a modest service to its prosumers and users.

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Content:


A Critical Review of Christian Fuchs’ Article
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A Critical Review of Christian Fuchs’ Article
Introduction
Google is among the most logged on web platforms across the globe. The company's total internet presence makes it imperative to scrutinize its connection to class relations and the way it exemplifies contradictions. Christian Fuchs' article, "A Contribution to the Critique of the Political Economy of Google," explains how capital accumulation circulates at Google and the importance of surveillance in the company's form of capital accumulation. Unquestionably, Google has become pervasive in people's lives. The Internet-based Corporation is influencing how people search, organize, and interpreted information relating to their daily experiences. The circumstances that prompt corporation names, such as Google to belong to a vocabulary like "google", shows that the proceeds of large domination capitalist corporations are now inherent in capitalist culture; their survival is not questioned, unequivocally ignored, and sturdily fetishized to the degree that explicit verbs such as "to google" are defined for articulating these products' usage (Fuchs, 2011).
Summary
Fuchs' (2011) article gives a critical analysis of Google's political economy. The media and communication approach's political economy synthesizes the resources' production, distribution, and consumption. Fuchs acknowledges that since capitalism is a vast collection of commodities, analyzing capitalism's political economy should start with exploring the commodity. Considering that Google is a profit-based organization, the author identifies a need to examine how the company's commodity production, consumption, and distribution is of significance. According to Fuchs, the current research does not provide a theoretically based systematic analysis of the capital accumulation process of Google. Therefore, the article sought to contribute to the present research gap.
The central part of Fuchs' analysis is the normative concern regarding the bad and the good sides of Google, given that the company distances itself from the evil. Whereas the critical political economy strategy hardly emphasizes morality, it persuades its proponents to understand and modify the conditions in which humans act and live and by which their actions and thinking are shaped. Fuchs' interpretation sums that Google's critical analysis goes beyond moral celebration or moral condemnation but instead focuses on understanding the contradictions or conditions that shape the company's existence and its users. In this connection, it is rational to assert that the author's work wants to play a role in contextualizing normative questions regarding Google in contemporary society's political economy. The author's analysis in his article successfully demonstrates that Google utilizes its privacy self-regulation to formulate terms of service and policies relating to its privacy, which enables the extensive economic surveillance of users for capital accumulation (Fuchs, 2011). Marketing Google clients can target adverts, for instance, by the precise location of users, country, and proximity from a given location. Advertising customers of Google can also identify the type of devices used, the age group or gender, and their language. All these can be facilitated through the use of Google AdWords.
The article also outlines Google's primary economic data and the company's cycle of capital accumulation. The author's contribution outlines the function of users’ surveillance in the company's capital accumulation cycle. Besides, the literary piece gives a critical interpretation of advertising's function in Google's privacy policies and terms of service. Lastly, the article concludes with a final contribution to the extent of the morality of Google (Fuchs, 2011).
Critique
Conventionally, every aspect, from how people access the internet to how advertisements are directed to the target audience on social media to automatically complete emails, stems from the extent to which specific platforms are embedded in everyday lives. Fuchs believes that Google has turned out to be pervasive in humans' daily lives. The company controls how people complete their searches on the internet, organize and perceive information in political, cultural, and not limited to workplace contexts.
According to Fuchs' article, Google has two ways of relating to internet consumer commodification. One of the approaches is indexing the user-generated contents uploaded to the internet, therefore, serving as the primary exploiter of all the content producers generated by users. Without the content generated by the users, the company could hardly carry out its searches for keywords. In this respect, it is substantial to allude that Google utilizes all the users who design the World Wide Web (www) contents. Conversely, users use the company's services, therefore conducting unpaid productive surplus-value generating labor. Such labor could include but might not be limited to sending emails through Gmail, using Google to search for keywords, searching for academic materials on Google Scholar, establishing a location on Google Earth, and searching for or uploading a video on YouTube.
Google is designed to generate and store data regarding the utilization of the services listed above to facilitate targeted ads. The company sells this information to advertising customers, who ultimately provide adverts geared to the searches, activities, interests, and contents of Google services users. Based on Fuchs' interpretation, the company plays an active role in the user activities’ economic surveillance and user data. Therefore, it infinitely exploits and commodifies users while selling users and their data to the marketing clients to generate income. Thus, according to Fuchs, it is indisputable that Google is the final user exploitation and economic surveillance machine. The platform instrumentalizes all clients and their information for profit generation. In other words, Google users serve as double commodification objects. Besides, Fuchs' (2009) work on "Information and communication technologies and society" reiterates that Google plays a significant role in serving most online time or other companies that advertise through online platforms.
While the assertion above reflects what happens at Google, scholars such as Artz et al. (2006) believe that the dominance of Google is not merely grounded in its web browsing and search platform, but in its integrated home Internet of Things (IoT) platforms. Such avenues are found in the company's ubiquity and over-penetration to users besides its capacity to aggregate digital and physical data. Based on the Marxist theory of political economy, Google users can be understood not merely as users but consumers or producers whose unremunerated labor creates value surplus that the company can manipulate and monetize (Artz et al., 2006).
According to Fuchs, Google users who carry out the labor of designing user-generated content, creating digital footprints, and aggregating social media presences are offering productive labor that produces proceeds that are reabsorbed into the capitalist socius. Scholars such as Wasko (2005) contend that all the information parsed through, monetized, and aggregated by Google creates an exploitation economy that should be considered. Economic surveillance, consolidation, and political or ideological power threat are three contemplations where, gradually, monetized data being offered to the highest bidder undermine an equitable access model that Google believes it stands for.
There is no doubt that the article in question emphasizes on platformization subjectivate rather than capitalist socius, inspired by the utopia of Silicon Valley of how digitalization renews alternative ethical ideals of social and democratic, rather than non-profit organizing. According to Fuchs (2015), by responding to calls to challenge dominant assumptions and scrutinize the darker mainstreaming and instrumentalizing aspect of internet utopia, the current article mainly looks into how and when organizational activities on digitalization imaginations threaten the renewal of organizational ideal.
Critics of Fuchs' (2011) article have tried to rule out the imagination that digitalization giants such as Google Inc. are shadow institutions. These organizations are democratic, decentralized, and participatory parts of the anti-establishment forces that foster peer-to-peer principles, counter-cultural, and moral ways of producing, organizing, and consuming. Whereas their mission statements and leaders aspire to different ethical dispositions, democratic ways of working, and non-profit informational commons remain the expected trend. This assertion explains why the firm has been portrayed as an exceedingly exploitative sociopolitical agent of the massive economy, using Google’s influence over information to commodify distinct ideological perspectives. The likes of Wasco (2005) also attest that media platforms such as Google are owned by individuals and privately amass capital by selling media content and audiences for such content. In the factfinders' opinions, these media usually disseminate ideological content that hardly questions but instead supports reductionist prejudices and views against minority groups and upholds capitalist society. Agreeably, as identified by Fuchs & Sandoval (2014), the media platforms also tend to marginalize activists and critical voices that champion for a collective democracy that substitutes capitalism. The commercial structur...

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