Facebook: Corporate hackers, a billion users, and the geo-politics of the "social graph"

Alex Fattal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


As Facebook moves to a new office space, consolidates its growth internationally, and sculpts its corporate identity, it navigates contradictions between the attempt to preserve ideals associated with the company's founding and the demands of global growth. Through an ethnographic snapshot of Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California I explore the company's expansion toward one billion users and its efforts to dominate the few national markets in which competitors still have the upper hand. I argue that Facebook combines technical and geopolitical savvy by using cross-network pressure and the soft power of user data, or what it calls "the social graph," to win the market-share wars. These realpolitik demands trump the impulse to reproduce Facebook's idealistic origins outside the realm of its carefully crafted "corporate culture," performed meticulously in the company's office design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)927-955
Number of pages29
JournalAnthropological Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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