This is a response to an article by Osama Manzar. Read the original article here.
If we did suppose Facebook to be a nation, as Manzar suggests, it would be the only nation that is ruled by a few individuals, in their private interest, and still is not called undemocratic. There are no calls for its 'public and democratic governance' and people are happy to eat out of the 'owners' hands, in fact, calling their enterprise a bulwark of democracy globally. Patently paradoxical, at the least!
No country gives you free space, free art and photo gallery, free postal service, free parking area, free entertainment and free space for a business office. Facebook does all of these.
People and communities will soon find out how they are paying for it, and how much really.
I agree with the content creation part, but there is some short circuiting of logic here. The future of a nation depends as much on how dependent or not it is on 'content' platforms and other digital platforms, over which it, and its citizens, have no ownership and control. For, it is through the ownership of these mega digital platforms or applications that real economic, social, cultural and political control will be exercised. Just contributing more and more content to these platforms, while having some use in the short term, is simply giving them free what they will sell back to you for a price (if in an insidious way).
We also need to ensure by law that network neutrality principle is observed, whereby all content has to be given the same treatment on the Internet. It is being openly violated now on mobiles in India; with exclusive packages of only facebook plus google plus twitter plus.... available cheap, and the public internet is more expensive. (See DoCoMo's 'pay per site' offers'.) This practice will kill the Internet as we know, and with it certainly the chances of content creation and contribution from the edges, other than at the terms of the platform owners. As there market power increases, and violation of net neutrality on the mobiles is a huge step in this direction, these terms will become more and extractive and exploitative.
Therefore, caution is advised before an uncritical celebration of the Facebook phenomenon vis a vis opportunities for people on the margins.