The rise of social media has been one of the most powerful technological advances in world history. It has given a voice to the voiceless, a platform to every person across the globe, and a forum to those without a space to share their thoughts – from the small farmer in a third world country, to the President of the United States. With the click of a button, anyone – world leaders, activists, news outlets, and the average user – has the power to transmit the latest, bleeding-edge information, ideas, and news instantaneously.
But over the last few years, as social media has risen as the world’s premier platform for communication, so too has it risen as the world’s premier censor. Individual social media companies have increasingly blurred the lines of competition with big corporations – and Big Tech has morphed into an oligarchy of opinion with a monopoly on free speech.
The four most popular social media sites of the last decade (Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram) are all owned by Facebook. Microsoft owns #6 ranked Skype, Google owns #9 ranked YouTube, and Twitter, owned by its parent company of the same name, comes in at #10. Facebook alone supports over 1 billion active users across the globe – while the other companies represent billions more. Meanwhile, Amazon and Google reign supreme over the rest of the internet – including its search engines and ads.