Why are we still using Facebook? The platform paradox in collaborative community initiatives

Chiara Rossitto*, Airi Lampinen, Ann Light, Vera Diogo, Aniko Bernat, Penny Travlou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In this chapter, we examine how five different, community, bottom-up initiatives across Europe use Facebook, the reasons for choosing this platform, and what kind of challenges arise from adopting it. Rejecting polarizing narratives – of social media as the sole instrument of social change, on the one hand, and pessimistic views of surveillance and mistrust, on the other – we draw attention to how these narratives do, or do not, play into use in practice. In doing so, we focus on the tensions that stem from using Facebook as a platform for community initiatives, not at the theoretical level of media studies, but by analysing the situated use of the platform on the ground.

We do this through five empirical case studies: a network for self-organizing coworking days in homes in Sweden (Hoffice), migrant solidarity grassroots groups (Migration Aid) in Hungary, short-let accommodation for foreign volunteers in Greece (Athens Volunteers’ Accommodation and Ride-sharing), a neighborhoodcentered community group in England (Egg Club), and a cycling promotion group in Portugal (Cicloficina do Porto).With a strong emphasis on practices of care among those involved – both for oneself and others – the cases provide alternative visions to what have become mainstream examples of platforms, and platform use, in the collaborative economy. Rather than adopting bespoke digital technologies to advance their causes, all five cases rely primarily on Facebook.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBecoming a Platform in Europe
Subtitle of host publicationOn the Governance of the Collaborative Economy
EditorsMaurizio Teli, Chiara Bassetti
Place of PublicationThe Netherlands
PublisherNow Publishers Inc
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781680838411
ISBN (Print)9781680838404
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • collaborative economy
  • platform economy
  • grassroots communities
  • qualitative research methods
  • Europe
  • Facebook


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