Seemingly authoritative in some cases, Google and Facebook are more democratic and flexible than many of today’s policy developers.
While 61% of the world’s population lacks internet access, many of those with access remain severely restricted by the personal agendas of their governments.
Although privacy is a concern among Google and Facebook users, free speech and free market competition promotes relatively secure and acceptable user policies.
For instance, Google+ users are contesting the new ‘Shared Endorsements’ advertising policy, similar to Facebook’s ‘Sponsored Stores’ which promoted products via Likes but was eventually terminated due to violating user privacy.
Rather than have their faces featured in Google+ advertising, users have changed their profile pictures to the face of executive chairman Eric Schmidt. It has been a good laugh for many online, plus a clever tactic—perhaps enough to have the policy reconsidered.
The unprecedented level of user-developer dialogue provided by Google and Facebook is a rare privilege experienced by a small percentage of today’s population.
Overall, the user-regulated internet of the western world is a relatively secure and positive environment. It sets a great example to promote increased transparency in countries with fewer freedoms.