There's a debate going on about whether or not scholars should participate in Academia.edu. The case against it is: because, capitalism! That is, it is a profit making venture and so doesn't have 'our' best interests at heart. But then, do existing colleges and universities?
Gary Hall is one source of this discussion. His Should This Be the Last Thing You Read on Academia.edu? has, at this point, been seen almost 12,000 times. A paragraph:
Of course, the majority of academics who are part of Academia.edu’s social network are the product of the state-regulated, public higher education system, as is their research (a system, it should be said, from which public funding is steadily being withdrawn). But just as Airbnb and Uber are parasitic on the public ‘infrastructure and the investment’ that was ‘made by cities a generation ago’ (roads, buildings, street lighting, etc.), so Academia.edu has a parasitical relationship to the public education system, in that these academics are labouring for it for free to help build its privately-owned for-profit platform by providing the aggregated input, data and attention value. We can thus see that posting on Academia.edu is not ethically and politically equivalent to making research available using an institutional open access repository at all.
I am currently participating in two discussions of the matter at Academia.edu. One of them is hosted by Eileen Joy, publisher of Punctum Books: Open Letter to Rosemary Feal, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, and the Modern Language Association. The other is hosted by Tim Markey: On Staying With academia.edu.
I've expressed by own general views on the issue in the first two sections of my working paper, Personal Observations on Entering an Age of Computing Machines.