The Significance of a Manifesto for Tech Platforms

October 28, 2023
by Jonathan MacDonald

In today's digital age, technology platforms have an unprecedented influence on our lives. Whether it's social media, e-commerce, or software services, these platforms shape our interactions, information consumption, and even our worldview. With such immense power comes a growing need for tech companies to establish and communicate their values, and many have chosen to do so through a manifesto. But, is it important for a tech platform to have a manifesto? In this blog, we'll explore the significance of manifestos, the role of values, whether these values should be presented to the public, and if a manifesto is the best format for expressing these principles.

Are Values Important?

Values form the moral compass guiding the decision-making process of any organisation, tech platforms included. In the tech industry, where innovation often outpaces regulation, a clear set of values becomes crucial. These values define how the platform treats its users, manages data, and navigates ethical dilemmas.

For instance, a commitment to user privacy can lead to robust security measures, while a focus on transparency can foster trust among users. The importance of values is undeniable as they drive ethical practices, which are becoming increasingly important in an era characterized by data breaches, misinformation, and algorithmic biases.

Should Values be Presented to the Public?

The public-facing nature of tech platforms necessitates transparency in terms of values. Users, stakeholders, and the general public should know what principles guide these platforms. Transparency builds trust, and trust is a fundamental component of a thriving tech ecosystem.

When companies articulate their values, they not only communicate what they stand for but also establish a benchmark by which their actions can be measured. This can help hold tech companies accountable for their decisions, fostering an environment where platforms prioritize the welfare and interests of their users.

Is a Manifesto the Best Format?

A manifesto is an effective format for presenting the values and principles of a tech platform. A manifesto is typically a succinct, impactful document that outlines the core beliefs and objectives of an organization. It often serves as an inspirational call to action, rallying employees and stakeholders around a common purpose.

Manifestos provide a clear, easily digestible statement of principles. They can be shared widely, enabling a tech platform to communicate its values not just to its employees but also to the wider world, including users, investors, and regulators. At SELF, our manifesto is in place to serve all these purposes.

However, it's important to recognize that a manifesto is not the only means of expressing values. Companies can also use their terms of service, privacy policies, or codes of conduct to communicate their principles. The choice of format should align with the platform's unique culture and objectives.

In conclusion, having a manifesto is a valuable tool for tech platforms. Values are indeed important because they form the foundation of ethical conduct. Making these values public is a means of fostering trust and accountability. While a manifesto is an effective format for this purpose, the key lies in embodying these values through actions and decisions. Tech platforms should not just have a manifesto; they should live by it, using it as a guiding light to navigate the complex ethical terrain of the digital world. As users and stakeholders demand greater accountability from tech companies, a well-crafted manifesto can serve as a beacon of transparency, ensuring that tech platforms steer a course in the best interests of their users and society as a whole.

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