Revue Française des Sciences de l'Information et de la Communication

Analyzing the processes of culture platforming towards young people

Expected response for the 15/07/2022

Response type Contribution complète

Expected contribution type Article

Publication name Revue Française des Sciences de l'Information et de la Communication

Publisher SFSIC - OpenEdition Journals



While teenagers used to be a marginal target for television, digital industries have been targeting young people, teenagers and pre-teens, for the last ten years, and are competing mercilessly on this target. Gaming platforms, digital social networks and streaming platforms are developing techniques for capturing young people, easy-to-use interfaces and functionalities likely to interest them, entertain them and get them working (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tiktok, Netflix, YouTube,, Amazon, Steam, Twitch, Roblox, Discord, for the main ones). YouTube, TikTok and Roblox platforms have even become a playground for very young influencers.

The cultural practices of 12-17 year olds are therefore of primary importance in the digital economy, which plays a determining role in the global economy. They are also transformed by the socio-technical devices that these platforms offer them to create, distribute and monetize content.

The visibility of commercial strategies inscribed in computational devices through the “affective web” (Alloing, Pierre, Allard, 2017), the revelations of former employees of digital industries as to their manipulative intentions give new tools to grasp the stakes of the industrialization of culture (Bouquillion, 2013 ; Moeglin, 2016; Bullich and Schmitt, 2019) for young people, those of the instrumentalization of their emotions (Martin Juchat, Staii, 2016), and those of critical media education (Jehel, Saemmer, 2020, Petit, 2020).

The resources of persuasive design are particularly developed in applications aimed at teenagers that massively collect data on minors as revealed by the condemnations in 2019 by the Federal Trade Commission (USA) of YouTube and Facebook or that of WhatsApp by Ireland in 2021.

At the same time, the process of platformization is particularly complex to understand for young users. Without being the object of a consensual definition (Casilli, 2019), digital platforms can nevertheless be defined as companies, which organize through computational infrastructures the bringing together of several parties, in a multiversal market operation. Platformization is thus inserted into logics of industrialization and commodification (Bullich, 2018), but also of opacification.

It corresponds to a governance modality that hides the different levels of interrelation between users, and between users and recommended content, based on profiling and algorithmization modalities. Through the design of their interfaces and their marketing discourse, platforms develop emotional policies through which they seek to control and stimulate users’ activities and their expressions in digital spaces, in order to better capture and calculate the affective traces they leave there (Jehel, 2022).

What are the practices of teenagers on these platforms? How do they experience the injunctions to like, publish, play, smile, share and monetize the content they create? Do they implement strategies of “resistance” to such injunctions? What collective mobilizations can young people aged 12 to 17 build? What representations do they have of platformization? How can changes in access to knowledge among young learners allow us to rethink the community dimension of learning platforms?

How can teenagers who are early adopters of these platforms understand the cross-stakes of the commercial surveillance they exercise in relation to the services they provide? How can they grasp the nature of the rights recognized by the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the European Regulation for the protection of personal data? As minors, digital law protects the processing and storage of young people’s personal data in several ways. The RGPD provides for several provisions that update the rights of the child: right to erasure of data, parental authorization, what representations can children or adolescents make of it?

Four thematic axes are proposed for analysis, without being exclusive of other approaches: 

  1. Capturing young people’s attention by the gamification of online activities.
    This can be analyzed as well as the strategies developed by one platform in particular, or a strategy common to several platforms. It can also be approached through the downstream uses of young people. The role of influencers can be questioned. The ways in which adolescents adhere to or “resist” these systems can be explored.
  2. Platformization and harvesting of personal data.
    What precautions are taken by certain platforms with regard to young people under 18? What representations do young people have of this, depending on their age?
  3. Creation, commitment, and politicization of young people on platforms.
    Do some platforms allow the development of new dynamics of citizenship? Beyond the formatting of productions, what creative skills do they allow to explore?
  4. The uses of learning platforms.
    Do they change the way young users represent the functioning of the platforms? How do learning platforms redefine the principles of mediation and co-construction of knowledge?


The ages of the youth concerned by these strategies as well as these uses should be defined. Attention will be paid to the gendered differences in digital uses. The platforms will be precisely identified. The methodology of field surveys or interface analyses will be carefully described and justified.

Proposals related to the ongoing work of the MSH Paris Nord seminar “Digital industries and young people: Aesthetic and emotional experiences, content creation and the emergence of new social practices” will be welcomed.


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Guest Editors 

Sophie Jehel, MCF HDR Sciences de l’information et de la communication, Univ. Paris 8, Cemti, associée au Carism.

Valérie Inés de la Ville, PU Sciences de Gestion, IAE de Poitiers, Directrice du CEPE – Université de Poitiers, CEREGE.

Nicolas Oliveri, enseignant-chercheur HDR Sciences de l’information et de la communication, IDRAC Business School, Université Côte d’Azur, SIC.Lab Méditerranée.


July 15, 2022: Submission of full papers (30,000-40,000 characters) to the following address:;;

August 15, 2022: Notification and recommendations to the authors

September 15, 2022: Sending of the final version of the articles to the journal’s management

December 1, 2022: Publication of the special issue