Should America Nationalize Facebook?

August 17, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

Philip N. Howard advocates for a radical idea: The US government should take control of Facebook.

  • Facebook’s share price has plummeted. Almost half of all surveyed Americans believe that Facebook will eventually fade away.
  • This would be a pity – Facebook’s dominance in the social media sphere makes it incredibly valuable to the public.
  • Under the government’s control, Facebook’s privacy standards could be solved with federal laws being enacted to safeguard our data.
  • While Facebook works towards the social good a lot of the time, there are times when it doesn’t. Such as when it banned Palestinian pages, or its policy against using pseudonyms which hurts democratic activists in authoritarian countries.
  • Facebook employees might even support such a move – with government control they would no longer have to devise ways to get people to click on more ads and generate revenue. Rather, they could focus on combing through the data for important social research.
  • Non-Americans might dislike the idea of the American government taking control of Facebook, but there are plenty of government owned properties that are accessed and appreciated by the world over such as the BBC.

It’s a fascinating article and well-worth a read. If you click here you’ll find out the feasibility of such an idea, the potential risks, why international users might support such a move, how such a move could stimulate new business ventures, ethical implications of Facebook’s management decisions, how Facebook could help us in the fight against sexually transmitted diseases and terrorism, how it would be like a public utility, and greater analysis of all the issues involved.

Source: Slate