I decided to translate the part in the last randform comment, which deals with democracy and social media, because it is of a more general nature.


As a matter of fact one should ask more about transparency and democratic exertion of influence within social media. In some simplifying sense some big social media companies are meanwhile something like “ministates” – especially if they are commanding strong customer ties and if they receive regular customer “payments”. Customers of such companies can in this very simplifying sense be quite regarded as “inhabitants”, likewise the “payments”, like in the form of “content”, or in the form of “willingness to perceive advertisment” or e.g. in the form of real payments for services could accordingly be regarded as “tax payments”.

Of course the social binding in a real state ist much bigger as for example in a commercial social network, on the other hand the (social) binding of a very active network member is usually rather strong and often much stronger than the typical binding to a “brand” even in the case of a strong customer retention policy.

Correspondingly one could compare the usual questions of transparency and democratic exertion of influence within states with that of social media. I find it a bit strange that this isn’t discussed to a greater extend. So for example it is strange that Googles private business decisions regarding the perfomance rights of youtube users or the restricted means of youtube user participation in Googles general business decisions concerning youtube seem to be seen in wide social spheres as completely acceptable, whereas similar policies in “real” states would eventually be already regarded as “undemocratic”. But may be I have here a wrong impression.

In short: a social network is no “state”, in particular one doesn’t “have to” become a member of a social network like youtube etc., though the economic consequences of non-integration within networks can meanwhile have social consequences which could approach in some sense those of a sort of “statelessness” and this needs to be thought about.

I would like to point out that Google is here only an example, which I took because the german gema comment dealt with the perfomance rights of youtube users, that is I see this comment here as a general comment about social media. In particular it should be mentioned for fairness that Google is here at least interested in settling performance rights (this seems not always to be the case – if I understand this comment here right).

The democracy problem within social media would also not be so problematic if there where more big companies or “social media cooperatives”, which treat their customers more or less as complete democratically participating members. Because in this case one could just change the company and could – where applicable – take part in decision making.

2 Responses to “translation”

  1. joe Says:

    I find it not appropriate that you critizise Google of being not democratic enough. Finally Google is a business and you can’t expect a business to work if everybody can mingle with your business! Moreover Google provides real democratic services like links to important newspaper articles, here you can even choose the language (see for example this news paper edition) in order to get information that is curtailed to your needs. I am not sure but but I think Google has also some inbuilt math which chooses the articles according to your interest!

  2. Bibi Says:

    I actually have to agree with joe. In particular I do not understand why people always need to critizise (see also my previous comment at, you may come in quite a trouble with this! People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Do you think you may find a job with an opinion like the above? In my opinion you should set your’s house in order first before you turn on others.

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