‘IT’S MY FAULT FOR POSTING IN THE FIRST PLACE’: HOW INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY AND SELF-BLAME ARE SUSTAINED AND INTERNALIZED
Keywords:Self-Blame, Individual Responsibility, Quitting, Privacy, Personality Algorithms
AbstractData breaches and data misuse are frequent occurrences in today’s digital society and often spark debate over who should hold responsibility. While many hold the platforms responsible when confronted with violations of data privacy, some users shift the blame inward for trusting the platforms and posting on them. While a large body of research has dedicated itself to issues of data privacy, discourses of individual responsibility and the internalization of user self-blame have received less attention. This study explores how users respond to unknown use of their personal data through the case of CrystalKnows, a personality detection algorithm that generated profiles about individuals using unknown data sources, often without the user’s knowledge. Founded in 2015, CrystalKnows claims to have the world’s largest personality database, providing and selling algorithmically generated user profiles, often without the express consent of these individuals. Interviews were conducted with individuals whose profiles appeared on the platform (N=37) to reveal users’ reactions and rationalizations of the data collected about them. Rationales of self-blame vary but commonly center issues of ambiguity concerning digital consent and the algorithm itself. Ultimately, these contribute to feelings of resignation often paired with the unrealistic alternative of total platform non-use. We argue that these complex discourses of self-blame, independence/choice, and resignation/non-use as the only options are intertwined with data privacy reform efforts. Understanding the sources of self-blame and how deep it runs is an important step to interrogating and refuting some of these assumptions, if broader reforms hope to garner support and implementation.
How to Cite
Liao, T., & Fite, H. (2021). ‘IT’S MY FAULT FOR POSTING IN THE FIRST PLACE’: HOW INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY AND SELF-BLAME ARE SUSTAINED AND INTERNALIZED. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12200