The Four Tech Giants
The day after the July 2020 Congressional Hearings where members of the US congress questioned the four tech giants (Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple), I watched various highlights and analyses of the hearing.
I am aware that you can never know fully know what is actually going on behind closed doors with these companies to be able to make a definitive conclusion. However, from the answers the four CEOs gave and their demeanour during the hearing, it was pretty clear (or at least it’s clear in my mind) that something is immoral with the control they have on the industry and they are doing all they can to keep their grip on the industry and hide what they are doing. At some points it was angering to see the CEOs either lie through their teeth with confidence or stumble on those lies. I am rarely a person to have strong beliefs so when I had the feelings of disgrace, anger and frustration as I learnt more about the Congress Hearings I knew this was something I wanted to act upon.
The Tech Congressional Hearing
On many occasions throughout the Hearings, evidence would be presented that the four tech giants threaten and force companies to dissolve or be bought out. Many times the Members of Congress would liken the practices of the four tech giants to being “bullies”.
Remember Instagram being bought out by Facebook? Evidence was presented that Facebook threatened Instagram saying they are developing a platform called ‘Facebook Camera’ which would force Instagram out of the market unless they sold to Facebook. This was a very interesting section of questioning as Mark Zuckerberg stumbled time after time again when asked about “Facebook Camera”.
Evidence was presented that Google refuse to put companies on their search results which could bring in customers to these businesses. Then, when these companies cannot remain in business as Google prevent vital advertising, Google then buy the company at a heavily reduced price and then use whatever the business has for themselves.
During the congress hearing, it became aparent that Amazon also have similar tactics by creating their own versions of items which are cheaper and advertised more because they can as it's their own website so they set the terms. This then forces out the original small business who are selling items on Amazon.
These are just three of the long list of examples that were outlined in the hearings. I won’t go into listing all of the evidence in this blog article but you’ll get a good taste of what terrible practices the four tech giants use every single day by watching these highlights.
Even after these hearings, articles are still being published highlighting terrible practices. All I needed to do was type ‘Amazon news’ into a search engine and the top results all mentioned poor treatment of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, avoiding purchasing any products from the company and how Amazon avoid paying taxes which would benefit the economy. I didn’t even need to search for specific news stories on these topics just the company name. Does that not speak volumes that these are the top news stories for a general search on the company?
There are less stories of this nature when searching for Google, Facebook and Apple. There are a few stories in the top search results which do mention that these companies threaten democracy and fail to contribute to the development of the economy. But the number of these stories are not to the level of stories relating to Amazon.
Therefore, after seeing how businesses, people and ideologies are desecrated by the four tech giants and the monopoly they have over the industry, I decided that I will change as much as I can to move away from the four tech giants.
However, one might ask “Why not convert to use all ethical technology?”
Unfortunately, with the nature of my hobbies and job, I cannot sacrifice performance or ease of use so the purpose of this blog is to find a balance between ethical technology in all aspects of life and performance of such technology and this will be the focus for a number of articles on basicallyBlog.
This one person may also ask “What effect can one person moving away from using the Four Tech Giants really have?”
To that I say....
In the words of a Chinese proverb……
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
And in the words of Tesco (probably not the best role model)……
“Every Little Helps”
Change away from these companies has to start somewhere and no one person can make the whole of humanity change the way they live, although Greta is doing a swell job of trying!
What we (or I) can do is make sure that the one person we can control (ourselves) makes the right decisions to move away from The Four Tech Giants.