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Inglorious Big Tech

Note: this page is a work in progress.

GAFAM stands for Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft. Another acronym often used is FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google). These several tech companies are well known for their sins, yet they still dominate and profit.

This page is meant to be an overview of what each of them did to make our lives worse and how we can liberate ourselves.

Companies mentioned in the acronyms above are of course by no means the only bad actors out there. There’s Twitter, Reddit and many others. They’re just not as huge as GAFAM.

Corporate abuse

The key problem with these giant companies is that there are only a few of them, yet they control substantial part of the internet. If you doubt that could be true, read following articles by Kashmir Hill:

Privacy International (a British NGO), has created a timeline of corporate abuse, a relatively small collection of evidence that these companies are up to no good.

Facebook

Cambridge Analytica scandal was particularly well covered by the mainstream media. But it wasn’t the only one — there’s even a page called days since last Facebook scandal that records evidence of Facebook’s wrongdoings.

At the time of writing (2021–04–11), most recent Facebook scandal was data of 530 million Facebook users had been made publicly available. A company that encourages people to share this information should process it responsibly, right? Well, Facebook doesn’t think so. According to their statement, everything is fine because the data wasn’t stolen by hackers — it was merely collected by scraping.

Blaming the users for not being aware that all their data was available, instead of providing reasonable defaults or not collecting the data, is just toxic corporate propaganda.

Further reading:

Alternatives

If you enjoy being in touch with your friends online or want to be up–to–date with interesting events nearby, there are always other tools you can try.

But first and foremost, don’t let FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that Facebook, Twitter and others induced in all of us, harm your wellbeing. If you don’t know immediately about an interesting event — that doesn’t mean you’d never learn about it. Eventually you will and that’s the beauty of natural, human–centric social networks. And even if you don’t — that’s OK too! When something important happens, somebody will let you know.

When all you want is staying in touch with friends, it’s quite simple:

Google

Google started as one of several search engines. It grew over the years, finally becoming the giant it now is.

Further reading:


This work by Piotr Mieszkowski is licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0