There is a common adage about getting things for free. What was it again? "There's no such thing as a free lunch"? It is a reminder that with everything, there's always a cost.
There's a new saying that is perhaps more appropriate in this day and age: "If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold."
A bit clunky. Perhaps we can shorten to: "If you're not paying for it, you're the product."
But what does that really mean? With the boom of free online services, apps, and products, don't you ever wonder how these companies are making money? I mean, Google offers free email, office programs, search engine results, even analytics for website traffic. All for free.
Facebook is a social media giant, with over 1 billion active users. They offer free messaging services, video streaming services, image hosting, a news feed, and a growing list of features for you to communicate and learn about the world. All for free.
What are they getting in return? For companies like Google and Facebook, it's more than just ad revenue. With every post you make, every picture you upload, every "Like" you share, they are compiling data. Data about your activities, whereabouts, relationships, career- almost every aspect of your life is being recorded by these companies. And while they have certain privacy policies to make sure you're not completely exposed, the vast amount of data they have on much of the world is enough to give them unprecedented power.
Google and Facebook can control what you see and how you learn about the world. They have their fingers in your emails and private messages to family and friends. It doesn't take much for the government to gain access to all that information.
Big tech companies hold a lot of power in our society. They make trillions through the buying and selling of user information. Maybe not your Social Security Number, but your likes, dislikes, habits, and tastes are all datasets they can sell to advertisers, companies, and research groups. We're like a giant farm for them to harvest, to better manipulate you into buying the latest TV, virtual reality headset, or voice recognition gadget that listens to your every word.
In the end, the powers that be think of us as cattle to feed off of. For them, we only exist to use their products, making them more powerful and rich. Tech giants and big data only serve to help corporations continue their crusade of turning American citizens into mindless consumers, whose only role in life is to buy their products.
They don't mind if you get into debt over it- that just makes you a better slave.
Believe it or not, the election of Donald Trump is the biggest blow to this enterprise in decades. Although he may be a rich man himself, his businesses were built on real estate, not the buying and selling of your personal information to transform you into a consumer.
As an outsider, with his own source of wealth, he is not like the countless politicians who sell out to special interests. In order to gain money most of our leaders in Washington, both Republicans and Democrats, pass laws that benefit these powerful corporations. They look out for their interests, not the interests of the American citizen.
So it should come as no surprise that these tech companies are suffering over the Trump win.
With a 9 percent crash of “FANG” tech stocks in the post-election stock boom, Wall Street is fretting that President Donald Trump could be a modern day “trust-buster.”
There had been a stunning double-digit underperformance of tech stocks versus other market sectors since Donald Trump’s election triumph. The ground zero for that reversal of fortunes involved the U.S. tech behemoths, dubbed the “FANG” stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google). (via Breitbart)
You may be asking yourself why? Why would big tech companies suffer under a President Trump? If he is going to cut corporate taxes, wouldn't his administration be a boon to companies and businesses?
To normal businesses, yes. But to companies that thrive off of the manipulation of American users, no.
FANG performance dominated stock performance over the last two years. The group rose 83 percent in 2015, compared to only 1.19 percent for stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500. FANG stocks continued their leadership this year with a 15 percent gain through the end of September, versus 5.9 percent for the S&P 500.
The biggest contributor to FANG companies’ success had been the wildly favorable U.S. regulatory environment they enjoyed under the Obama administration. Prior to November 8, FANG expected a more supportive relationship under President Hillary Clinton. (via Breitbart)
As regular companies suffered under the burden of Obama's America, tech companies thrived. Our government looked the other way as Google, Facebook, and other big data companies fueled corporations' takeover of our personal lives.
The tech industry has been on the forefront of the outsourcing epidemic that has been destroying American jobs. For companies like Microsoft and Apple to do as well as they have, it's vital that their manufacturing is done overseas, in sweatshops in China and elsewhere, to keep costs down. Obama and the rest of the establishment have allowed this, depriving Americans of good jobs.
Not only will Trump penalize companies that outsource their labor, but he will negotiate trade deals that make working with foreign companies unattractive. He will put American laborers first, ensuring that they have jobs. This is good for most Americans, but bad for the CEO's and corporations who want to get rich by depriving us of work.
That's not all. Big data has a lot to fear from Trump. As with Teddy Roosevelt, Trump has his eye on trust-busting.
There are substantial anti-trust concerns that the FANG corporations wield the same concentration of power to squash competitors as the trusts did in the Gilded Age. Google controls 64 percent of all U.S. search engine traffic, Facebook controls 45 percent of all U.S. social media traffic, Netflix has over 1/3 of all U.S. households as customers, and Amazon controls 60 percent of all online sales.
The power is currently being held by a shocking few. Google has their hands in everything we do online. Facebook knows every detail about our families and friends. Netflix dominates our viewing habits. And Amazon controls what and how we shop online.
Companies in Silicon Valley overwhelmingly supported Clinton, because her high tax plans would make it impossible for new startups to emerge- those who might threaten their stranglehold on the industry. An up-and-coming company would never be able to rival Google, Uber, or Facebook if taxes were such that they couldn't make a profit. With taxes being high and a liberal government punishing American workers, only the established elite would thrive, destroying competition.
We are entering an age where the American citizens will regain control over their lives. We will not have a government that bends to the whims of special interests and corporations. We will have a government, at least for a few years, that will dismantle the toxic relationship between lawmakers, corporations, and tech giants. Be it through trust-busting, new regulation, or changes in trade deals, the current powers will lose ground tremendously.
Plus a climate will be created where even giants like Google and Facebook could be toppled by new and emerging startups.
That's why they fought so hard against Trump and why Americans fought so hard for him.
Be sure that the resistance will be fierce. As Trump's administration makes headway in the coming years, the liberal establishment, tech giants, and other corporations will fight vehemently to stop him. The mainstream media will continue to rally against Trump until they're all out of fuel, not to mention readers. It will be a messy few years, but ones in which we will see victory.
Now is the time to find alternatives to the big tech companies that want to own our personal lives. Consider alternative social networks and search engines for a start.
It just might save your life.