Coercion, consent and the struggle for social media | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 13, Issue 3-4
  • ISSN: 1539-7785
  • E-ISSN: 2048-0717



Looking beyond celebrants and sceptics of social media, Kevin Healey taps the potential that exists to develop social media platforms, ethical codes and regulatory policies that support democratic values and institutions. This requires rejecting the capitalist ideology that drives debates about consumer privacy, industry regulation, and national security. He puts forward a commons-based approach to argue that democratic media must have elements independent from both state and corporate institutions. This framework views media in terms of public goods. Today, governments may have to subsidize networks that have become necessary. Expanding ‘the digital commons’ also requires universal principles that enable corporations, governments, activists, journalists and the public to assess changes in digital media. Pursuing the metaphor of social media as a coffeehouse requires a collective ­struggle. Social media ethics cannot be reduced to personal conduct, but must question the technologies, legal frameworks and organizational structures that constitute the networked environment within which citizens pursue their personal, social and political goals in order to achieve a mature social media environment that is both ethically responsive and economically sustainable.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): activism; capitalism; democracy; ethics; regulation; social media
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