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2021, vol. 55, br. 2, str. 538-561
Tehnofeudalizam na primerima Trampove suspenzije sa Tvitera i spora Australije sa Guglom i Fejsbukom
Univerzitet u Beogradu, Institut za filozofiju i društvenu teoriju, Srbija

Projekat:
Ovaj rad je realizovan uz podršku Ministarstva prosvete, nauke i tehnološkog razvoja Republike Srbije prema Ugovoru o realizaciji i finansiranju naučnoistraživačkog rada

Ključne reči: društveni mediji; suverinitet; tehnološke kompanije; tehnokratija; tehnofeudalizam
Sažetak
Društveni mediji postaju nezaobilazan komunikacioni alat današnjice, uključujući i političku komunikaciju. Samim tim, tehnološke kompanije koje njima upravljaju imaju veliku moć. Svaka njihova intervencija u javnoj sferi može da ima dalekosežne posledice. Fokusiramo se na dva slučaja uticaja tehnoloških kompanija na medije, izborni i legislativni proces, kao osnovne činioce demokratije. Razmatramo implikacije zabrane Donaldu Trampu da koristi Tviter, kao i okršaj medijske politike Australije sa Fejsbukom i Guglom. Dolazimo do zaključka da su tehnološke kompanije u ovim slučajevima preuzele moć koja je prethodno pripadala sudskoj i legislativnoj grani vlasti, u smislu određivanja šta je govor mržnje, kao i regulaciju medija. Samim tim, ugroženi su informisanje i suverenitet država u kojima se sprovode ove intervencije. Ovi događaji ukazuju da svet ulazi u period dominacije tehnoloških kompanija, koji možemo nazvati tehnokratijom ili tehnofeudalizmom. Dalja razmatranja treba da idu u pravcu definisanja društvenih medija kao javnog dobra u kome uticaj treba da imaju društva, a ne samo tehnološke kompanije koji su vlasnici ovih komunikacionih platformi.

# Introduction

Technological development, either reflected in innovations in the production process or, as in the case considered here, in the emergence of new modes of communication, inevitable affects the entire social reality, changes the established forms of social relations and causes the appearance of new social phenomena that need to be examined. Therefore, as early as mid-20th century, Debord observes that a spectacle, i.e. “a social relation among people, mediated by images” (Debord, 2003, p. 18), is becoming the essence of life in all special aspects of information. Of course, Debord connects this primarily with the importance of television that emerged as the most important transmitter of symbols and messages, while today’s parallel may be found in social media which, as it will be seen further in the paper, are becoming a transmitter without which the society would be impossible to imagine.

At the beginning of 2021, at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, two events undermined the world public, indicating that there was a potential transfer of power between states and high technological companies. First, at the beginning of January, Twitter Company decided to suspend the account of the leaving US President Donald Trump on that social medium due to his alleged hate speech (Twitter, 2021). Then, the multinational media company Facebook exerted a tremendous pressure on Australia to amend the draft law that would force this company to pay media publishers for their contents posted on this social medium (BBC, 2021).

These two events reached global proportions, reviving the debate on the globalization impact on the sovereignty of national states and witnessing that the world is entering a new technocratic or technofeudal order.

There are three schools of thought with different answers to the matter of state sovereignty in the globalization context. Hyperglobalists think that the state's role is rather reduced and its economic sovereignty is particularly threatened. On the other hand, sceptics see globalization as a product of the states themselves, claiming that their role and power have remained unchanged. Between these two theoretical poles there are transformationalists. The role of the state, according to them, has already changed significantly (Reddy, 2012, pp. 61–64).

A particular place is held by the literature focusing on multinational companies. While some authors recognize the impact of companies on state sovereignty (Vernon, 1971), others think that such impact has been unjustifiably emphasized (Kline, 2006).There is also an opinion that in the 1980s the state still had primacy, but the turn of the millennia brought substantial changes, including new technologies and the "emergence of the electronically networked world economy", which definitely brought state sovereignty to question (Kobrin, 2009, p. 3).

The impact of social media on political processes is constantly growing, and some studies say that the election candidates in the West increasingly use Twitter to promote and realize contact with potential voters (Enli, 2017; Enli & Skogerbo, 2013; Graham, Jackson, & Broesma, 2016). Apart from the unambiguous significance of social media in everyday life as one of, or perhaps even primary, mode of communication among people, what particularly attracts the politicians' attention is the fact that through social media, chiefly Twitter, they can realize direct contact with voters, thus bypassing the editorial policy of traditional media. In that way, politicians have the power to present themselves and their message much more strongly and with more control, as well as to create the impression of direct communication and responsibility with an individual. This is an important fact at the modern historical moment, where voices that accuse politicians of alienation from everyday life of their citizens are growing louder and louder (Enli, 2017; Ouyang & Waterman, 2020). This role of social media is also observed by Gainous and Wagner (Gainous& Wagner, 2014) who state that social media are shifting the field of power to the benefit of politicians, where "Twitting to power" is becoming a political standard, something that is obligatory at the modern political moment and which will have even more importance in the future. In that manner social media become an inevitable part of political processes.

As we have shown, the impact of social media on political processes can already be characterized as crucial, while that significance is certain to grow in the following years. However, now our analysis should include the fact that these social media are actually the product of private companies which reserve the right of their moderation. As Varis (Varis, 2020) reminds us, although some theories, such as semiotic democracy, as well as those companies that use marketing to present their platforms, try to present social media as defenders of democracy and the space where free speech is guaranteed, it is neither their primary function nor intention. In fact, moderation is not a peripheral but central function of social media, i.e. the way in which social media achieve their set goals in the market actually determines whether groups and interests are permissible or not (Gillespie, 2018).

The problem of hate speech on the Internet can be observed, on one hand, from the aspect of the right to the freedom of speech as guaranteed by the US Constitution. On the other hand, many jurisdictions worldwide clearly define the concept of hate speech. There is definitely a conflict between the broad understanding of the freedom of speech and the guarantee of dignity of individuals and groups that may be subject to hate speech (Heldt, 2019). We should also take into account the prohibition of censorship by the state because it has been prescribed by many countries, thus additionally guaranteeing the freedom of speech.

One of the starting points of this consideration is that states and companies share responsibility for the regulation of fake news, hate speech and various sabotages that may appear on the Internet. Here the greatest pressure is exerted on the owners of the leading social media – technological companies mostly located in the USA. In this case it would be inappropriate to accuse a priori the companies which are social media owners of censorship, because the absence of regulations has led to the current state of affairs. Of course, it should be taken into account that this does not justify explicit interference in the election process in such a way that a technological company transparently takes one of the sides participating in the election. Such decisions can provoke fierce reactions in the public, and threaten democracy as well.

One of the decisions adopted by Facebook Company refers to fake news, undertaking that it will reduce the visibility of such disinformation so that it will not be widely distributed, although the Company would be entitled to it in line with the applicable recommendation systems – algorithms that show contents to social media users. These posts are labelled as fake, which is done by independent experts (Facebook, 2021). Moreover, Facebook has also established the appellate process that enables the decisions of this company to be disputed by the threatened parties. The appellate body is supervised by a special board (Collins, 2021).

Although the above-listed examples prove that, with respect to legislation, Facebook establishes a system similar to the state system and thus partially takes over the authorities of one branch of power, this is only an initiative calling for an urgent reaction to the challenge emerging in the vacuum of new technologies and obsolete laws. We can classify this matter within the concept that is defined in the literature as the "problem of many hands", i.e. the difficulty in pinpointing decisively who is responsible in complex environments, where many factors are involved in decision-making. Thompson describes this issue in detail, listing a number of examples in an attempt to establish the approach in defining responsibility (Thompson, 2014). Van Drunen also explains the "problem of many hands" from centralized to shared responsibility (van Drunen, 2020). Accordingly, the connected world refers to online platforms with a far-reaching impact on societies throughout the world. The new concept of functioning imposed by the Internet causes the transformation of markets, procedures and democratic processes (Jevtović, 2020).In the analysis of the societies based on online platforms, the emphasis is placed on the conflict between ideological systems and social factors, which includes governments, companies and the civil sector, as well as the allotment of interconnected responsibility, in order to achieve privacy, security, fair environment, availability and democracy (Van Dijck et al., 2018). These values are actually threatened in the society with a significant impact of global and regional online platforms which permeate public and private sectors, but also many areas, for example information, transport, healthcare and education. Some of these processes refer to local matters, while many of them also affect the global sphere. Having this in mind, we should emphasize the conflicts between multinational companies, governments and multilateral factors as relevant in the consideration of power redistribution in the digital technologies era.

The phenomenon we focus on in this paper refers primarily to the impact of technological companies, i.e. of social media, on democracy and sovereignty in the United States of America and Australia, as illustrated by the suspension of former president Donald Trump's Twitter account, and the clash between Australia's public media policy with technological giants Facebook and Google. We will perceive all this through the prism of sovereignty.

# Sovereignty and globalization

In classical texts (Bodin, 2002; Hobbes, 1961), the value of the existence of a sovereign usually lies in his power to guarantee peace. In contrast, modern authors speak of the concept of sovereignty in much more diverse ways. Political theoretician Harold Laski wonders whether "the state should have ultimate power with no limits of any kind" (Laski, 1934, p. 62). He concludes that "there is no permanent right to power" and that "every government must subordinate to the opinion of those that suffer the consequences of its acts" (Laski, 1934, p.). Jacques Maritain has a similar opinion in that respect. To him, this concept is "essentially wrong" (Maritain, 1966, p. 29).

The authors who reject the concept of sovereignty (Duguit, 1997) or speak about it in the negative light (Laski, 1934; Maritain, 1966) usually understand sovereignty in Bodinian terms (Jean Bodin). To that end, it is truly difficult not to be critical towards the concept that does not suit our time. However, it seems wrong to reject the entire concept just because of one of its ideas.

The broadest definition determines sovereignty as an "ultimate authority in a certain territory" (Philpott, 2011, p. 3). In its contemporary concept, the holder of sovereignty is neither appointed for life nor has absolute competencies in all areas (Philpott, 2011, p. 3). From this perspective, sovereignty itself is not necessarily problematic. We can speak of an illegitimate sovereign and illegitimate authorities, but if we reject anarchism and manage to justify the existence of political authority (Perry, 2012), we can no longer speak of illegitimate sovereignty.

The concept of sovereignty in the globalized world is used in contrast to the "emergence of transnational networks with private interests" and "to express frustration and anger because of the decreasing area of collective redesigning, creating and reshaping individual and group identities" (Koskenniemi, 2011, p. 70). Nowadays sovereignty serves to "articulate the hope that we will… keep our own lives in our hands" (Koskenniemi, 2011, p. 70).

According to Nenad Dimitrijević, Professor of Political Science,

"the essential modern connection has been broken between political power, democracy as a political form of power and law as an assumed legitimate system of social coordination. Democratic politics is retreating from privatized global management mechanisms that also exist and function in the unconstitutional environment" (Dimitrijević, 2019, p. 79).

The residents of modern states feel helpless and that is why the narrative of sovereignty is present to such an extent, because "sovereignty points to the possibility, no matter how limited and idealistic it may be, that the man, whatever happens, is not only a pawn in someone else's games, but… the master of his own life" (Koskenniemi, 2011, p. 70).

If we look at sovereignty from this perspective, we may observe that in the centre of the narrative there is democratic self-governance and the value of public autonomy, i.e. positive freedom. Even the most liberal interpretation of democracy, which starts from negative freedom as an ultimate value and understands democracy instrumentally, does not allow re-examination of the existence of the political community itself (Dimitrijević, 2017, p. 229) or the possibility of stepping out of it. The very fact that the political community cannot be chosen has made liberal theoreticians to insist on the set of fundamental rights and freedoms that must be unconditionally respected by the holder of sovereignty. According to them, only in this case there is an obligation to respect binding democratic decisions.

In other words, even if we maximally reduce the importance of public autonomy manifested in the process of the democratic self-governance, and if we substantially limit the scope of legitimate decisions that may be made by the sovereign, one thing will still remain indisputable: we can leave the political community if we do not agree with the decisions of its majority. This is the minimum guarantee of stability (Dimitrijević, 2017, p. 229).

If we put the whole narrative into a certain ideological context, we will see that the expansion of neoliberal capitalism has decisively influenced the feeling of helplessness of the residents of modern states. A global economic area of freedom has been created, but not a global political community as well. That is what enabled private economic actors to "use the ever-present threat of capital flight to prevent popular mass expectations from coming true" (Slobodian, 2018, pp. 155–156). Despite the fact that neoliberals tend to cite the primacy o negative freedoms, the neoliberal project has actually violated at least one condition of stability of the democratic political community and enabled private actors to step out of it.

The ideological context we have just presented completes the theoretical segment and establishes the framework for analyzing two recent cases: Twitter vs. Donald Trump, and Australia vs. Facebook. According to the listed concepts, we will place the power of social media within the context of the conflicts permeated by the "problem of many hands" and concerning sovereignty and ideological apparatuses. In that respect, through these examples we will consider the indications of the transfer of power that may be perceived between the participants in the political process, the states and technological companies.

# Suspension of Donald Trump's Twitter account

The power of social media has never been more evident than in the case of the 2016 presidential election in the United States of America, particularly when speaking of the campaign of Donald Trump, the winner of the election. Although, according to some expert (Ceaser, Busch, & Pitney, 2017), Trump entered the final stage of the election with little or no chance to beat the Democratic Party's candidate Hilary Clinton, he won in the end and became the 45th president of the United States of America. This unexpected victory encouraged social scientists and political experts to elaborate theories in relation to the causes of Trump's success.

One of the theories attempting to explain Trump's victory is the free media thesis. This thesis postulates that the key contribution to Trump's unexpected victory was his use of social media, through which he managed to avoid advertising costs in traditional media, as well as to realize direct communication with potential voters and the public (Khan, 2016; Le Miere, 2016; Yu, 2016) According to Francia, Twitter was often in the centre of Trump's ability to generate free media attention" (Francia, 2017, p. 2). This author shows that Trump had more media attention by as much as one third1 than Hilary Clinton in the final election year (Francia, 2017, p. 8). In addition to this information, Francia adds that Trump also had a larger number of followers on Twitter, as well as that a larger number of people confirmed they more often saw Trump in social media (Francia, 2017). However, these findings do not confirm the causal connection between a greater ability to generate free media attention and Donald Trump's victory in the presidential election. As a matter of fact, these findings show that social media, particularly Twitter, have become an indispensable factor in political processes, that through their efficient use there is also space for approaching potential voters outside traditional media, and that their significance will inevitably grow in the future, i.e. that we will definitely see politicians trying to repeat Trump's success by applying his strategy of using social media.

Two days after violent protests2 in Capitol3, on 8th January 2021, Donald Trump, still the President of the United States of America at the time, was permanently suspended from the social medium thanks to which, as we have seen, he had been elected to that position for the most part. In the official Twitter address, Trump was suspended from this social medium because of two tweets that by "glorifying violence may inspire others...to repeat criminal acts committed in the US Capitol on 6 th January 2021" (Twitter, 2021).

Namely, Trump lost the election two months earlier, but until the violent protests in Capitol, he claimed victory, constantly encouraging his followers not to give up. Trump's refusal to accept the election results was identified as one of the causes of the events that day, when his followers stormed the Congress building. What is more problematic than the actual storming of the Congress is the fact that five people lost their lives and that the public could, equally through social and traditional media, actually witness the fatal shot killing one woman. No matter how Capitol riots may be characterized, it is indisputable that political violence with fatal outcomes was committed to question the presidential election results in the United States of America, or the world hegemon. Permanent Twitter's suspension of Trump, identified by this social medium as the causative agent of the violent protests, took away the platform of direct communication with his followers, allegedly in order to limit the possibility of the repetition of such events, as well as of the potential escalation of political violence. This suspension provoked a series of critical reactions. On one hand, conservatives perceived the suspension as an attack on the freedom of speech and as censorship (Haroun, 2021). Moreover, the suspension was criticized from the liberal camp as well. In his Guardian article, Kenan Malik claims that Trump's suspension might lead to the practice of broad restrictions, which is already abused by authoritarian regimes nowadays (Malik, 2021). Jeffrey Howard, Professor of Political Theory, claims that Twitter justifiably suspended Trump, but, from the moral point of view, it was not justifiable to make such suspension permanent (Howard, 2021). Of course, there were also those who fully supported Twitter’s reaction (Romano, 2021; Bensinger, 2021).

In order to understand fully the reasons for Trump's suspension, as well as the function and essence of social media, we must examine Althusser's differentiation between state repressive apparatuses and state ideological apparatuses. "What distinguishes state ideological apparatuses from state (repressive) apparatuses is the following basic difference: state repressive apparatuses function through violence, while state ideological apparatuses function through ideology" (Althusser, 2009, pp. 29–30).

Therefore, in Althusser's opinion, state repressive apparatuses constitute "government, administration, army, police, courts, prisons" (Althusser, 2009, p. 27), i.e. the unity of state institutions that can sanction opponents primarily through repression.

In contrast, state ideological apparatuses, for example, religious, educational, family, legal and, most importantly to us, information apparatuses, are numerous and diverse, as well as relatively autonomous, but united in their function of maintaining the exploitation relationship through reproduction and preservation of the hegemony position of the ruling class ideology (Althusser, 2009).

However, this ideal-typical "division of work" is not completely accurate. Althusser notes that there are no purely repressive and ideological apparatuses, but that the division points to the primary method of functioning, while both apparatuses also have a secondary function, i.e. state ideological apparatuses secondarily function through repression, while repressive apparatuses secondarily unction through ideology (Althusser, 2009).The relative autonomy of state ideological apparatuses also opens up the space or place for class struggle. This specific feature of state ideological apparatuses is conditioned by the harmony (that sometimes falters)" (Althusser, 2009, p. 37) between repressive and ideological apparatuses. Knowing that the state apparatus constitutes the unity of the repressive and ideological apparatuses, we can easily understand the potential conflicts and methods of fighting for supremacy over the state apparatus through separate "sub-apparatuses".

Being familiar with the essence and function of state ideological apparatuses enables us to understand the events at in the United States of America the beginning of the year. Therefore, we can place social media within the Althusserian framework, as a new form, as technological progress in information state ideological apparatuses4.

Although social networks are technological progress and innovation in communication and information technologies, they belong to the same social function, the function of state ideological apparatuses. As part of the modern information ideological apparatus, the social medium Twitter decided to use its secondary mode of functioning, repression reflected in suspension. Twitter allegedly advocated for the protection of the democratic process in order to ensure a relatively peaceful handover of power to the new President Joe Biden. It is important to note that, one week after the violent protests, the state repressive apparatus, i.e. the army, was activated as a guarantee of power handover. That act formalizes power over the entire state apparatus.

What we witnessed in the United States of America at the beginning of the year is the struggle for supremacy over the state apparatus between two factions of the ruling class, embodied in Donald Trump and Joe Biden, in which, by the nature of election processes, other social classes are also intertwined, but with no relevant impact. Twitter as a private social medium played the key role in this process and by applying censorship it strengthened its dominant position within the area of the ideological apparatus – the position taken over from traditional media.

At the beginning of 2021, Australian regulatory body for competition prepared the draft law that attempts to redirect part of the profit of technological giants such as Facebook and Google, to publishers (Beta, 2021). Specifically, the law is aimed at prescribing that "part of the money from each paid advertisement… must also be given to the media with the content of which the advertisement was posted" (Ilić, 2021). Google response to this proposal was to threaten by its withdrawal from Australia (Rujević, 2021).

In other words, Google initially responded in line with Slobodian's statements (Slobodian, 2018, p. 155-156). The threat by capital withdrawal was made possible by incomplete integration itself. Without economic integration, capital would not be able to move freely across the global market. On the other hand, complete integration that would also imply political integration, i.e. creation of the European or world "state" community, would enable the regulation of capital flows and substantially limit the blackmailing potential of private actors. In terms of politics and democracy, complete integration would ensure the minimum stability to the political community, preventing its members (and their capital) from leaving the community in case they did not agree with the legitimate majority decision.

Unlike Google, Facebook applied a different strategy. It threatened by blocking the access to information content through its medium, and then carried out its threats (Beta, 2021). Consequently, the residents of Australia "were not able to share and watch news contents on this platform" (BBC, 2021). Facebook also blocked "several accounts of the Government in the field of healthcare, as well as emergency services" (BBC, 2021).

Perfidiousness of Facebook's strategy is reflected in the fact that the leaders of this company relied on the democratic commitment of Australia. Having in mind that people's being informed is one of the basic prerequisites of functional democracy, and that Facebook is "increasingly becoming one of the greatest sources of news in the world" (Zorzi, 2021) this company put the Australian authorities in a hopeless position. In order to comprehend it, we should remember the modern understanding of the concept of sovereignty. In democracies, no matter whether sovereignty is assigned to the people or the parliament, people's representatives can have supreme authority only if people grant it to the democratically. Political representatives can legitimately keep such authority only if they rule within the prescribed frameworks and do not violate the democratic principle itself. The frameworks would refer to a set of inalienable rights and freedoms and fair and free elections, for example, are one of the elements of the democratic principle.

Considering this, this is what each option before the Australian authorities implied. In the first case, the Parliament can refuse to adopt the law and force Facebook to provide proper information to Australians. This decision would keep the connection between democratic legitimacy and supreme authority because one of the basic elements of democracy would not be violated. However, if we assume that the people elected their representatives so that the latter could successfully resolve the problem of media funding, the Parliament would act contrary to the people's will in the former case.

In the latter case, if the Australian Parliament adopted the law without paying attention to Facebook's blockades, it would question one of the key elements of democracy (informed citizens) and risk cancelling the source of its own authority. The members of the Parliament would still keep their power, but Australia would no longer be a democracy.

In other words, Facebook's ultimatum in a certain manner breaks the connection between sovereignty and democracy. If the Australian authorities decided to act in a sovereign manner and in line with their beliefs, they would risk causing serious harm to democracy. On the other hand, if they decided to provide the possibility of being informed to Australians, thus preserving the very essence of democracy, the authorities would have to play by Facebook's rules, i.e. suspend their own sovereignty. To make matters worse, by saving democracy, the authorities would make decisions contrary to the wishes of the majority, and in line with the economic interests of a single private actor.

This is how this unpleasant legislative episode ended. After several days, Facebook lifted the blockade. One of the company's vice presidents stated that the agreement had been reached, enabling Facebook and Google to choose on their own what media to support financially. Immediately after this agreement, "the law was enacted in both houses of the Australian Parliament, with new amendments making clear that Facebook and Google are not covered by the new law" (BBC, 2021).

# Final considerations

The suspension of Donald Trump's account on Twitter has shown that ideological apparatuses can play an enormous role in ensuring power over the state apparatus, while social media appear to be the most important representatives of information state ideological apparatuses. Since social media are already one of the key factors in election processes, we may conclude that their power over social life in the future will keep growing, if we take into account the importance of the role they played in ensuring power over the state apparatus. It is also important to point out that Donald Trump was still the official president at the moment when his account on social medium Twitter was suspended. Therefore, Twitter's decision may be seen as an attack on the US sovereignty.

On the other hand, Google and Facebook forced the authorities of the country that belongs to the capitalist centre to enact laws in line with the economic will of these companies. Although the decision of the Australian Parliament may be interpreted like a desire to preserve democracy in that country, such interpretation would miss the essence of the problem. The problem does not lie in the decision itself but in the options offered. Democracy implies not only the appointment of representatives who will make binding decisions, but also effective power of those representatives to make decisions affecting the lives of all members of the community. The opponents of sovereignty feared that the sovereign would not "be subordinated to the opinion of those that suffer consequences" (Laski, 1934, p. 63) of the sovereign's decisions. Today we have a totally opposite problem. The sovereign wants to act in line with preferences of "those that suffer consequences" and, in line with the public interest, but the prince of such acting is too high.

The state has given the private sector control over resources necessary for its functioning. While, on one hand, Google's threat by withdrawing the capital is a consequence of partial integration, Facebook's reaction to the draft law is a logical outcome of media deregulation (Ilić, 2021). Both partial integration and deregulation were implemented with the aim of suppressing the power of the state. Since the state has the monopoly over the legitimate exercise of power, many liberals and neoliberals took care only to keep this power as small as possible. The process of breaking the state power did not lead to its fragmentation but to its shift to elusive economic actors who proceed outside law and with no legitimacy. At the end of the process we got a fatal combination. According to Dimitrijević, "democratic states have... lost much of their capability of political rule", while at the same time they "retained the capability of repression" (Dimitrijević, 2019, p. 78). Simultaneously, powerful private actors appeared and neither states nor citizens have any control over them.

Technological companies take from the media the funds necessary for their survival, although they are only the transmitters of the content created by others, which threatens the function of information in the society. Furthermore, the deletion of Donald Trump's account on Twitter is actually the takeover of judicial power by the technological company which, in this specific case, determines at its own discretion what hate speech is, despite the fact that it has not been defined in American laws. At the same time, this decision threatens the sovereignty of the USA because at the moment when his account was deleted, Donald Trump was still the official president. Based on the above-mentioned, it is clear that the concept of sovereignty is being further redefined and the transfer of power between states and technological companies may be perceived, which will have huge repercussions for democracy. These events seem to indicate a global entry to the new order of domination of technological companies that may be called technocracy or technofeudalism. Both events show that social media are, among other things, a public good on which democracy is dependent. The recommendation is that further research should be directed towards defining social media as a public good, which would involve the separation of the society's authorities in relation to their formal owners, such as in the case of traditional ether media with a national frequency.

# Dodatak

## Acknoledgement

This paper was realized with the support of the Ministry of Education, Science and TechnologicalDevelopment of the Republic of Serbia according to the Agreement on realization and financing of scientific research work.

# Endnotes

 1Shown in absolute numbers, Donald Trump got $4,960,000,000 of free media value, while Hilary Clinton got$3,240,000,000 of free media value. 2The very nature of the events on that day has not been completely clarified yet, so that there are cases of labelling the events as a coup or an attempted coup. 3Capitol Hill riots, where the name of Capitol as we use it is the usual name for the US Congress, and where the central scenes of this violent protest took place on 6th January 2020. 4Although the concept of private institutions playing the role of state ideological apparatuses may seem illogical, Althusser warns against such criticism. According to him, “the difference between the public and the private is the difference within bourgeois law and is valid in (subordinated) areas where bourgeois law exercises its ‘power’. The area of the state is moving away because it is ‘beyond law’ ... it is the prerequisite for every difference between the public and the private” (Althusser, 2009, p. 37). Having established such understanding of the relation between the public and the private, Althusser explains how it refers to state ideological apparatuses. “The same may also be said about state ideological apparatuses. It is unimportant whether institutions where they are realized are ’public’ or ’private’. Private institutions can perfectly ’function’ as state ideological apparatuses” (Althusser, 2009, p. 37). Such conceived difference between the public and the private does not postulate the subordination of the ideological apparatus to the state itself, but to the reproduction of the production system. The state is a place of power concentration, but it is also subordinated to that purpose if it is bourgeois.