What are Zuboff’s views on the Panopticon?
Zuboff argued that the Panopticon represents a form of power that displays itself automatically and continuously. Believing that panoptic power lies in its material structure and presence, producing the twin possibilities of observation and control and that the psychological effects of visibility are enough to ensure appropriate behaviour. In contemporary times, we see the idea of Panopticism applied to social media by various theorists. Similar to the idea of the watchtower in the middle of the Panopticon, those on social media know that all the information they are posting is readily available, this is referred to as ‘Participatory Panopticism’. Although it is easy to forget that, the watchtower is there because it has been deconstructed. The Panoptic point of view highlights one of the main influences that social media has had on surveillance culture. In the age of social media, everything posted online remains accessible forever, even when deleted. Recently there have been various examples of when old tweets have resurfaced and got people of all professions in trouble. A recent example is Toby Young, a journalist appointed to the government-approved regulatory Office for Students who was forced to step down after a petition asking him to do so gained 200,000 signatures. This was because misogynistic, ableist and classist tweets from 2009 resurfaced from his Twitter.