Being A “Force For Good” vs “Not Being Evil”

In the past week, two companies showcased their unique approaches to acting in accordance with their beliefs.

Last Monday, Twitter CEO Evan Williams announced that the company had gone through a process to “define their operating principles“.

The number one principle is “be a force for good.”…from a business perspective, Twitter needs to fundamentally be about helping people make better decisions.

To “be a force for good” easily evokes comparisons to Google’s “don’t be evil” mantra. Google’s decision today to shut down its mainland China homepage, redirecting visitors to the uncensored Hong Kong version, might be seen as a manifestation of this policy.

However, the move brings to light the ambiguity inherent in such decisions. Is Google proactively encouraging a policy change that it believes is better, or is it blatantly defying local laws?  Is this a bona-fide move to stick by its principles, or is it a tactical withdrawal from a market it has had trouble gaining traction in?

Is it the same to be a “force for good” than it is to “not be evil”?

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