Some of the social media organizations have been found to control the feeds of content and provides new content stream on the basis of the past behaviour of the users depicted online. Hence, the posts that are viewed by the users across their news feeds are often manipulated (Burgess and Green, 2013). For an instance, if the NTD News channel is followed by the users, the advertisements surrounding other news channels and relevant products will be advertised. People engage within the different areas and pages on such platforms on the basis of their interests which are exploited.
It has been suggested by the researchers that the individual empowerment on social media is more of an illusion than a reality. This has been considered as the illusion of individual empowerment is instilled by the social media organizations to be able to undertake surveillance on the user generated content and personal information for the purpose of mining and selling to the third parties and advertisers (Deodato, 2014). This practice is central to the most of social media organizations as their business and revenue model entails generating profit through advertising. Therefore, the organizations are required to provide the user’s information to the advertisers in order to enable them to target the users effectively and accurately. This process improves the sales of the products that are advertised (Fuchs, 2013). This provides leverage to the social media organizations to increase their charges for the advertisers. Hence, it is the power relations surrounding the social media which prevents the true citizenship empowerment.
The underlying monetary and profit making motivations of the social media organizations encourages users to personality their activities and the type of information that are received. This personalization of the users enables the advertisement customization (Loader et al., 2014). Therefore, the contextual advertisements are employed but the sites to reflect the lifestyle interests implied by the information obtained about each social media user.