Big Tech, Social Media & You
Social media has risen over the last 3 decades from becoming a fringe corner of the internet to becoming a massive and arguably necessary part of daily life. Rarely do you find someone who does not utilize any part of social media or it’s services.
A major issue with this is that Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple and Amazon have grown so large and become so integrated into daily life that we now must address the elephant in the room that no one realized was there. There is a significant debate to be had about whether Big Tech (traditionally thought of as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple and Amazon) has grown to impede competition through monopolistic practices, or if they have become too big to fail?
Along with this, Facebook is going through a lawsuit right now regarding anti-trust. Over the summer, Big Tech testified in front of Congress about whether their practices are anti-competitive. While each of the big 5 tech companies has a slightly different argument against them, the consensus is the same.
What concerns me is how much social media has absolutely infiltrated every aspect of life. Many daily conversations take place vis direct messages on social media platforms, many people make use of the video calling features. How many people do you know that consume news and information from traditional sources? How many people do you know that use only reliable or vetted sources on social media to consume news?
Misinformation and disinformation are a discussion for another day but that has become increasingly difficult to control issue as seen in the 2020 election and COVID-19 crisis. What worries me about this is how many people do not understand the commonality of misinformation and disinformation on social media.
What concerns me the most is how these companies profit from our data and strategically design features which suck you in. Use your phone’s digital wellbeing or social media monitoring app to see how much time you really spend on socials daily. Also, I highly recommend The Social Dilemma on Netflix. A truly harrowing documentary about the evils of social media told by the people who once designed it.
I leave with a couple of quotes from Andrew Yang, “Data is the new oil. It is the most valuable commodity of the future and big corporations are taking it from people, without payment in return, and making billions.”
“Data is a commodity we didn’t know was a commodity”