Rebecca Scharlach

Rebecca Scharlach

Film University Babelsberg.

Rebecca Scharlach is 25 years old and a so-called digital native. She completed her Bachelor in media studies at the University of Siegen in early 2016. As a media studies graduate student at the Film University Babelsberg, she focusses primarily on Internet research.

During her studies she has been working in several research projects, among others, at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society.

Currently, she works in two research projects under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Jens Eder (Film University) and Prof. Dr. Judith Ackermann (University of Applied Sciences Potsdam). Until September 2018, she was a scholarship holder of the German National Scholarship Program (Deutschlandstipendium). To combine science with practice is very important to her.

Over the last years, she worked for several media productions (e.g. SBS Australia, UFA), as well as student projects that involved social media storytelling. At the moment, she is working on her Master thesis and aspires to do a PhD in the field of Internet research.

I post, therefore I am? The consequences of losing our backstage to AI.

The datafication (van Dijck 2014; Schöneberger 2013, 29; Fritsch 2018, 1) of our lives, as well as the value of our personal data for companies like Facebook is not a new phenomenon (Spiekermann; Korunovska 2016, 1; Larsson 2018). Snowden and Cambridge Analytica made an impact on the awareness of data violation and surveillance, nonetheless the majority of people using Social Media every day are not aware of the way it affects their behavior, as well as the way they help algorithms and AI to develop constantly. We could also be very aware of issues with Social Media, but still do not quit. Has Social Media become part of our identity?
Erving Goffman analyses the interaction and performances of individuals using the theater as a metaphor. He argues that we behave differently on the front stage with an audience watching us.

Furthermore, he describes the backstage as the personal room of the actor (the individual): "The actor’s behavior will be different in a private, backstage environment, however, as no performance is necessary." (Bullingham, Vansconcelos 2013, 1). Goffman uses the mask as a metaphor for our differing behaviors in different environments (Goffman 1990, 57).

Marion Fourcade stated in her lecture: "Facebook has entrance to the backstage" (see Fourcade 2018, 00:54:02 min). I would like to expand this and stress the thesis that we lost our backstage through the rise of artificial intelligence in Social Media platforms.
In my presentation I will talk about our online identity, our masks and the value of online privacy. I would like to face the question of how Social Media influences our behavior, and ultimately what (data) privacy means for diverse groups of people, what value it has for the individual.

Did we all become Social Media method actors? Is being visible on Social Media platforms more important than our personal data? Ultimately, these questions lead to the question of how AI does and will affect our behavior on Social Media. Instagram will be the object of study. I focus on younger adults who grew up with Social Media and have a long-standing experience. The presentation will be based on early stage research for my master thesis. My research will analyze the material collected through a currently ongoing online survey. I will prepare a presentation about the theoretical background and first results, the problems I encountered and how I tackled those.

At the "Artificial Intelligence: ethical and legal implications" workshop I intend to present my first research results, as well as open a discussion about my project.

Bullingham, Liam and Ana C. Vasconcelos. 2013. "The presentation of self in the online world’: Goffman and the study of online identities". Journal of Information Science 39 (1), pp. 101-112. January 13, 2013. DOI:
Fourcade, Marion. 2018. "Social order in the digital society". Lecture Making sense of the digital society.
Fritsch, Karin. 2018. "Towards an Emancipatory Understanding of Widespread
Datafication." SSRN. December 2, 2018. DOI:
Goffman Erving. 1990. The presentation of self in everyday life. London: Penguin.
Goffman Erving. 1955. "On face-work: an analysis of ritual elements in social interaction"
Psychiatry: Journal for the Study of Interpersonal Processes 18, pp. 213-231.
Larsson, Stefan. 2018. "Algorithmic governance and the need for consumer empowerment in data-driven markets". Internet Policy Review. May 15, 2018. DOI: 10.14763/2018.2.791.