‘Big Tech’ isn’t one big monopoly

By | March 26, 2018

Concern about Facebook’s power in society – and in politics – has skyrocketed in the wake of revelations that users’ data was used in targeted political ads in advance of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Other tech giants have also sparked concern: Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have all faced objections from users, the public, and even government agencies. But in a recent article, Amanda Lotz, professor of media studies at U-M, suggests that lumping them together hides the fact they’re very separate and distinct – not just as companies, but in terms of their business models and practices. “It’s not that these companies are so different as to be unrelated or incomparable to each other. But despite simple perception of them all as ‘tech’ companies, their core revenue sources are clearly different,” she writes. “And those distinctions suggest ways people can understand and respond to anxieties about their growing economic and cultural influence.”

Monopoly rich man character holding money bags surrounded by tech logos

( The Conversation, CC BY-NC)