Wednesday, September 05, 2018 by Isabelle Z.
Tech giants get a lot of flak these days. Their successes might be admired by entrepreneurs around the world and studied by business students for generations to come, but their immense power puts them in a position that makes a lot of people uncomfortable, and they’ve already abused that power in a lot of disturbing ways.
In fact, it’s hard to say which evil corporation is worse: Google or Amazon. They might not be direct competitors in the simplest sense of the word, but there’s a lot of overlap in what they do – and their behavior has a lot of dangerous similarities. Here’s a look at some of the biggest offenses of each firm so you can decide for yourself.
Taxes: Their original business model was based on legally skirting requirements to collect sales tax – an advantage that allowed them to set lower prices and build market share momentum early on. This eventually saw states like Texas going after them for hundreds of millions in sales taxes. The situation has changed somewhat since then, but they’re still finding ways to game the system.
Worker treatment: Amazon has long come under fire for its poor treatment of its workers, with long hours and workers dealing with problems like cancer and miscarriages being pushed out instead of treated like human beings. Workers are encouraged to tattle on each other to higher-ups for offenses such as “complaining about minor tasks” and are berated for not immediately answering emails and texts around the clock – even during their time off.
Too much power: Amazon’s super competitive pricing means they’re putting smaller companies out of business left and right – and even some bigger ones as malls close across the country. Yes, other companies are free to sell their goods on Amazon’s platform, but they then compete with them by monitoring their transactions and selling their top sellers themselves.
It goes a lot further than that, though. Amazon has major financial relations with the CIA, between its Amazon Web Services Secret Region service for the CIA and a $10 billion Pentagon contract that has prompted lots of questions about conflict of interest related to Pentagon personnel who have ties to the firm.
Censorship: Google’s near-monopoly when it comes to search results enables them to silence views that don’t align with their own. They bury sites in the search results they don’t agree with and ban their videos on YouTube, for example. They have the power to economically destroy independent media and conservative sites, and they’re all too happy to use it.
Data collection: Google offers free services that make life easier for millions of people, such as Gmail, Google Maps, and its search engine. However, it appears that everyone has forgotten that nothing is truly free. People are paying for this with their personal data – so much of it that Google knows more about you than you do yourself. It knows where you are, what you’re looking for, who you surround yourself with, what you buy, and so much more – and they sell this information to advertisers.
Mind control: Google influences your thinking in ways that you don’t even realize – ways that serve its own interests, of course. It controls what people see through its search engine results and the videos it displays on YouTube, and it does this in a manipulative way that can shape your opinions and even your likes and dislikes by virtue of the information it chooses to share with you and the information it hides from you.
It’s hard to say which company is worse, but one thing is clear: you should do your best to avoid supporting them and their services and seek out alternatives. Use search engines like Good Gopher, stick to free-speech video platforms like REAL.video, and buy from local, family-run businesses as much as possible.
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