Staal and Fermon argue that Facebook infringes upon the right to self-determination of peoples and individuals in various ways. The profit model of Facebook is based on the instrumentalization of users as neo-feudal data workers. Facebook is used in various surveillance capacities that infringe upon privacy and further impacts democratic elections in disproportionate ways, of which data capture and targeted campaigns of Cambridge Analytica are a recent example. The corporation makes use of racist algorithms and willfully advises authoritarian regimes such as that of Duterte in the Philippines.
During this pre-trial, Staal and Fermon introduce the indictment against Facebook and invite the public to join as co-signatories to the lawsuit that will be submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva coming September 2021. Subsequently, various witnesses will be called to testify on the future of Facebook if the trial is won: What would be the decision-making structures for nearly three billion co-owners of Facebook? Will it ensure encryption, and ban algorithms? Do we decentralize servers, or even dismantle its infrastructure as a whole, considering its heavy reliance on extractive industries?
Collectivize Facebook engages the space of art as one of collective legal action and speculation. It invites the public to join a lawsuit, but also aims to mobilize the imagination when it comes to reclaiming and governing Facebook – as well as other multinational corporations – as common ownership.
A project by Jonas Staal and Jan Fermon
With contributions by Hilda Moucharrafieh, Quinsy Gario, Clara Balaguer & Alan Robles, Marina Otero Verzier and Vincent W.J. van Gerven
Theater Rotterdam, June 9, 8PM
Produced by HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin