Social media as a public utility
Social media as a public utility is a theory which argues that social networking sites (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Google Search and Twitter, etc.) are essential public services that should be regulated by the government, in a manner similar to the way electrical and phone utilities are typically government-regulated. Applying utility-status regulation to social media websites has been a debated topic within Internet policy since 1992.Social Media as Public Expectation: The New Public Utility
Look at the definition of a 'public utility.' It is "[a] private business organization, subject to governmental regulation, that provides an essential commodity." Now consider that YouTube has become a place to make or break campaigns; LinkedIn is a portal for business survival; and places like Facebook and Twitter "help people stay connected" during "troubled times." Taken together, social networks are an essential commodity; one few people could survive without in a digital world. Try imagining staying up-to-date, relevant, and part of the business world without social networking; envision being part of the political conversation on world and local events without social networking; comprehend what would happen to your personal life without social networking. Additionally, with the ubiquity of cell phones, the accessibility to social networks is not limited to higher socioeconomic levels, making social networking classless in scope.
While social networking is not life crucial as electricity or water is, many people would be hard pressed to live a fulfilling and successful life without it. Social networking has become a utility for living in an interconnected world, and as such users are feeling that need and becoming vocal about it. The call for a users' bill of rights gives strength to the concept that we are moving into an era where social networks are part of the fabric holding society together. We need them to function as we do gas, water, and electricity.
The concept behind public utility is that while it is run by a money making corporation, there is an understanding that the needs of the public for access are important and must be looked out for.