An overwhelming majority of 77% founders surveyed agreed that technology giants are ‘of late perceived as evil for taking advantage of our deepest, darkest secrets and fears.’
Large tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Google have long been questioned around the huge data sets of customers information globally and how they leverage it to manipulate public opinions. Now, 77% of the startup founders surveyed recently have said that these large tech companies are indeed perceived as evil.
The survey of startup firms was conducted by First Round Capital, one of the prolific early-stage funds in the US. The founders agreed that technology giants are “of late perceived as evil for taking advantage of our deepest, darkest secrets and fears.”
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“It means that there is a lot of concentration of power in these companies because of the huge user data they have taken away from the government,” Amit Ranjan, who heads government’s National Digital Locker Project, said to FE Online.
Further, not just general perception, 50% of the startup founders surveyed themselves feel that companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Google are evil.
Last week, Alex Jones, founder and host of a far-right radio and online show called Infowars in the US confronted Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai with ‘Google is Evil’ chants. Pichai was heading into a congressional hearing against Google’s potential entry into China by helping build a modified version of its search engine for censorship in China.
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that Facebook had a “special arrangement” with technology companies for access to users’ information without consent. “Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent” and “gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages,” the report said citing internal company records and interviews with former employees.
In September this year, Amazon was reportedly embroiled into allegations that some of its staff had sold customer data to third-party businesses in China. A Wall Street Journal report said that Amazon’s employees sell internal data and other confidential information, usually through intermediaries, to merchants who sell their goods on its website.
The report mentioned intermediaries, in Shenzhen, working for group employees and selling information on sales volumes for payments ranging from 80 to more than 2,000 dollars. In November, Amazon revealed names and emails of some of its customers due to a “technical error”.