Is Facebook The New Government?

More people are not only using Facebook but becoming actively involved reading, engaging, and voicing opinions over user policy changes daily. The level of participation has exponentially grown and often Facebook has taken into account the thoughts of its users, like a true democracy, and adjusted settings as necessary.

In a time where people tweet more than text, send links more than resumes, email more than mail, its only a matter of time before there will need to be regulations related to social media and not just to protect people’s interests but also to create organizational processes. Just as the SEC is an independent agency that monitors and enforces securities markets, soon there will need to be an agency to monitor and enforce online and privacy rights – or maybe we already have a new processes to interact with our online lives: Facebook.

The purpose of a government, specifically under Capitalism, is to the protect rights of its people and facilitate commerce. In the U.S ‘the people’ are American citizens. For Facebook ‘the people’ is the world and anyone with the internet can join. We’ve seen charity causes (like with Haiti Relief) grow to help those in need on a large international scale as well as political campaigns built and won using social media (Blackberry wiz President Obama), so with all this online democracy spanning across districts, states, and countries where are the voting lines drawn now?

And if the world becomes more virtual many services may even become slowly extinct, like the postal service. Even bank accounts are becoming less important with users now able to use credits, online rebates and virtual accounts to pay for goods and services. There’s already a Facebook tax in place for Facebook Credits which charges fees to publishers of online games like Farmville and Social City.

How much longer until users start paying taxes to cover new programs and structures to support user needs. Earlier this year Australia agreed that court notices could be served through Facebook and that Facebook summons are legally binding. Imagine not being able to log into Facebook until you paid your taxes. Scary but very possible.

A friend once told me “Twitter is the new Wikipedia” which, if true, leads me to believe “Facebook is the new government.” Without even knowing it we have been voting and affecting corporate strategies just by our online activity which is the purest form of capitalism – keeping production privately owned.

Is Facebook the new government and our government more like supplemental enforcements? The FBI, CIA and police authorities already use Facebook for gathering and pursuing evidence so if Facebook can control that knowledge to the government its obvious the power is in the hands of Facebook, since Facebook is not dependent on the government for data.

With a big brand new data center in Pineville, Oregon, Zuckerberg’s rejection to sell even for seemingly astronomical amounts of money, and larger partnerships with affiliate websites its only a matter of time before Facebook knows nearly everything we are doing online. For advertising and products that’s fantastic. For finding medical treatment it may be a bit problematic.

That epic party you had for Bay to Breakers, yea that might have just denied your claim for treatment after verification against your Facebook ID. Its not here yet but its only a matter of time before our lives are completely online and getting approved or denied a home loan may actually depend on your Profile and activity. National healthcare is almost here, do we know who Facebook plans to partner with on that?

Publish date: May 26, 2010 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT