Scrolling is not Extended Mind-Wandering: How TikTok's 'For You,' Andrew Tate, and the Attention Economy are Jeopardizing User Autonomy Online
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In the following thesis, I argue that passively scrolling through TikTok significantly interferes with an agent’s capacity to claim autonomous endorsement of repudiatory socio-political values consumed on their “For You Page.” I reject the claim that task-unrelated smartphone use is a form of ‘extended mind-wandering’ to motivate my argument. I then argue that scrolling on TikTok is a source of value-inculcation, particularly with respect to antifeminist values. I argue that in order to autonomously endorse or repudiate values of this tenor, an agent must reflect on their alignment with such values in an extensive and collaborative way rather than in a brief way. I then move to show how TikTok’s For You page does not provide a space wherein such reflection can take place, and conclude by displaying how these findings jeopardize user autonomy online.