Network-by-Desire 欲望网络 Nidhi Singh Rathore If you look up “buy Weibo followers” or “Facebook likes” in your browser, you’ll discover a string of advertisements and links to social media management organizations; sitting in Los Angeles you can buy a thousand followers for just $9.99. These followers are mistaken for bots in many scenarios, whereas they can very well be profiles made by a rigorous process, where an individual earning $1 a day makes approximately 100 to 150 fake accounts in 8 hours. To highlight this key moment of my research, I created a tangible frame of reference for viewers to understand the nuances of this hidden social media economy.
The fictional device, Network-by-Desire (NxD), is a physical manifesto of the power of digital labor of developing nations. NxD streamlines the process of fake social media content generation, and situates the viewer in a click farmers’ position. The device showcases the process of fake profile creation on NxD, and the consumer end of it on a counterpart device. The aim to show both the process is to inform individuals about how social media platforms are being used, and the power digital labor holds in this process of intertwined digital economies. Between the black and white — terms and conditions — ends of cyberspace, there lies an expanse of information and economies that netizens are unaware of. Less than 60% traffic on the internet is human, and the journey from fake profiles to bots happen, primarily, in the developing countries of the world. By designing for the digital labors of developing countries, this project focuses on the fact that click farms are footsteps towards counter-colonization in the age of neo-colonization; where the developing world has logistical resources, mass, and an understanding of the grey fabric of the world to establish their technological power.
Credits: Nidhi Singh Rathore
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