Comparing facebook revenue with country budgets

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Facebook's revenue in 2019 was 70697 million USD. The yearly budget of South Africa is 74840 million USD. This means that if Facebook would be a country, it would rank 29 in the list of countries ordered by their budgets. As a comparison, Israel's budget is 85310 million USD, Austria's is 85960 million USD [@zotero-300].

The shear scale of Facebook and other companies that build trans-national spaces require, I believe, new forms of government. We are used to giving democracy the utmost, unquestionable, value, but when it comes to social spaces with the same amount of power (at least the same amount of resources), we don't question the authorities of the space.

This is something I saw happening with Couch Surfing and its collapse when it was purchased by an investment fund. Facebook already surpassed state regulations in many countries to the point in which it claims that it can regulate itself, in pretty much the same way a state regulate itself. However, states are normally governed by the people that conforms them (plenty of caveats in this statement, but allow me simplification).

However, the form in which online platforms are governed is completely dictatorial. This is the case of Github, for example, (see: Is Github contradictory of open source values), and is without question the form in which Facebook, Twitter, TikTok are governed. Few un-selected people make choices with respect to how their users will interact with each other, what tools are deemed attention, etc (see: Choosing technology based on their incentives). Wikipedia may have a very different approach to governance.

Tags: #online-governance #online-power #community-building


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Aquiles Carattino
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