Facebook has fundamentally changed how the world connects. No other company has played a greater role in the history of social networking online. Yet Facebook is no longer simply a social networking site or social media platform. Facebook is Facebook.

Taina Bucher shows how Facebook has become an idea of its own: something that cannot be fully described using broader categories. Facebook has become so commonplace that most people have a conception of what it is, yet it increasingly defies categorization. If we want to understand Facebook's power in contemporary society and culture, Bucher argues, we need to start by challenging our widespread conception of what Facebook is. Tracing the development and evolution of Facebook as a social networking site, platform, infrastructure and advertising company, she invites readers to consider Facebook anew. Contrary to the belief that nobody uses Facebook anymore, Facebook has never been more powerful.

This timely book is important reading for students and scholars of media and communication, as well as anyone seeking to understand the Facebook phenomenon.

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  • June 2021
  • 288 pages
  • 150 x 209 mm / 6 x 8 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509535163
  • Paperback $22.95
  • 9781509535170
Table of Contents

Introduction: Facebook is Facebook

1 Framing Facebook: The many metaphors at work

2 Of electric lighting and chairs: Facebook as infrastructure

3 Grounded in reality: How Facebook programs sociality

4 Engineering a platform: Facebook’s techno-economic evolution

5 Monetizing You: Facebook’s advertising ecosystem

6 Personalized politics: Facebook’s data-driven profiling machinery

Conclusion: The many faces of Facebook



About the Author
Taina Bucher is Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Oslo.
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‘Taina Bucher has authored the best book to date in the rapidly growing literature on Facebook. It has rigorous analysis, theoretical nuance and sweeping empirical scope. It sets the standard for accounts of the platform and should be required reading for researchers and journalists grappling with what Facebook means for political, social and cultural life around the world.’
Daniel Kreiss, University of North Carolina

‘Taina Bucher is one of the best analysts of social media platforms we’ve got. Here, she insightfully focuses on Facebook from many complementary angles that together reveal how it has become an ever-present infrastructure in the feel of daily life, shaping our social and political worlds, whether we use it or not.’
Nancy Baym, Microsoft Research

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