Time-Space Analysis of Facebook News Feeds

How to Cite

Lo, F. (2018). Time-Space Analysis of Facebook News Feeds. Stream: Interdisciplinary Journal of Communication, 10(2), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.21810/strm.v10i2.235


In the 20th century, several scholars across different disciplines have explored the relations between sociality and the associated perceptions of time and space. This paper draws on their theories to study how the Facebook News Feed feature inscribes users with a certain kind of temporality and spatiality. Building on Manual Castells' characterization of online activities as a "temporal collage" it argues that, through the interactions with News Feeds, users encounter the desequencing of the temporality of their social space. It further analyzes a News Feed page as a temporal object as defined by Bernard Stiegler, and adopts his critique of cinematic time to reveal how this feature inscribes an "always on" behavior for users even when they are offline. It concludes by discussing the political significance of this temporality and spatiality in two different senses: the constant acceleration in the pace of life and online surveillance. It draws on David Harvey's concept of space-time compression to discuss the relations between the temporality of Facebook and capitalism, and on Anthony Gidden's time-space distantiation to discuss the power relations of online surveillance.