, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 139–145 | Cite as

Does Facebook Violate Its Users’ Basic Human Rights?

  • Alexander Sieber
Discussion Note


Society has reached a new rupture in the digital age. Traditional technologies of biopower designed around coercion no longer dominate. Psychopower has manifested, and its implementation has changed the way one understands biopolitics. This discussion note references Byung-Chul Han’s interpretation of modern psychopolitics to investigate whether basic human rights violations are committed by Facebook, Inc.’s product against its users at a psychopolitical level. This analysis finds that Facebook use can lead to international human rights violations, specifically cultural rights, social rights, rights to self-determination, political rights, and the right to health.


Facebook Human rights Biopolitics Psychopolitics 



  1. 1.
    Foucault M (2012) Discipline & punish: the birth of the prison. Vintage Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Han B-C (2019) What is power? Polity Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Howard SJ, Surtees W (2016) A case series review of suicides associated with social media use in South Tyneside, England. J Royal Soc Med 7: 2054270415619322Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Han B-C (2017) Psychopolitics: neoliberalism and new technologies of power. Verso Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2001) Universal declaration on cultural diversityGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Brown W (1993) Wounded attachments. Political Theory 21:390–410CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Heidegger M (2008) The question concerning technology. In: Krell DF (ed) Martin Heidegger: basic writings. Harper Perennial Modern Classics, New York, pp 139–212Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bergson H (1935) The two sources of morality and religion. University of Notre DameGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    United Nations (1948) Universal declaration of human rightsGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Brown W (2015) Undoing the demos: neoliberalism’s stealth revolution. Zone Books, BrooklynGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    United Nations, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) (2000) General comment no. 14: the right to the highest attainable standard of health (Art. 12 of the Covenant), 11 August 2000, E/C.12/2000/4. Accessed July 2019
  12. 12.
    United Nations (1984) Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, 1465 UNTS. 85Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    United Nations (1966) International covenant on economic, social, and cultural rights. Treaty Series 999: 3Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    United Nations (1989) Convention on the rights of the child. Treaty Series 1577Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    World Health Organization (WHO) (2002) The world report on violence and health (edited by EG Krug, LL Dahlberg, J.A. Mercy, AB Zwi, and R Lozano). WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Dussel ED (2003) Philosophy of liberation. Wipf & Stock Pub, EugeneGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Block JJ (2008) Issues for DSM-V: internet addiction. Am J Psychiatry 165:306–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Brailovskaia J, Margraf J (2017) Facebook addiction disorder (FAD) among German students—a longitudinal approach. PLoS One 12:e0189719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Brailovskaia J, Rohmann E, Bierhoff H-W, Margraf J (2018) The brave blue world: Facebook flow and Facebook addiction disorder (FAD). PLoS One 13:e0201484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Rogers-Vaughn B (2016) Caring for souls in a neoliberal age. Palgrave Macmillan, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    United Nations, Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights (2003) Economic, social and cultural rights. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health (Report of the Special Rapporteur, Paul Hunt, submitted in accordance with Commission resolution 2002/31; fifty-ninth session of the Commission on Human Rights, Item 10 of the provisional agenda; E/CN.4/2003/58. Accessed July 2019

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BrookfieldUSA

Personalised recommendations