The Internet is a Corporate Sphere that Tolerates Public Speech

#Internet

Thu, Dec 9th, 2010 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Facebook and Twitter, notes Ashlee Vance and Miguel Helft in this article in the New York Times, have been perceived as outlets of "free speech". In a way, this is true: oppressive governments are finding it increasingly more difficult in trying to shut-up their citizens from voicing their concerns.

But one must not forget that Facebook and Twitter are, ultimately, corporations, more interested in the bottom line. This bottom line is provided by advertising. And advertisers will only advertise on places that they feel does not make their brand look bad.

"This leaves [Facebook and Twitter] with tough public relations and business decisions around how they should handle situations as politically charged as the WikiLeaks developments", and situations like WikiLeaks "highlights the complexities of free speech issues on the Internet, as grassroots Web companies evolve and take central control over what their users can make public."

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