How Scared Should You Be of Tech's "Frightful Five"?

Have you ever thought about how powerful well-known corporations actually are? Shows like Black Mirror have exposed consumers to the risks and realities of what being a customer for certain companies are, and have forced many of us to come to the realization that these companies do more harm than good. I've seen a ridiculous amount of people (including myself), covering the cameras on their laptops with stickers to protect themselves from invasive surveillance, and even know some people who choose not to keep any money in banks in order to remain "off the grid". In recent years, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet (Google's parent company), Facebook and Microsoft have become a part of the infamous "Frightful Five". Collectively, these tech giants are worth trillions, and as they continue to see exponential growth, they are beginning to act more like governments than as companies. To help you become more of a conscious consumer, I've pulled some shocking facts about the Frightful Five.

  1. Apple: We are so used to admiring and praising Apple for their innovation, that we are blinded by everything they do wrong. Reluctantly writing this from a Macbook Air, Apple has been criticized for their anti-competitive practices, rash litigation, questionable tax tactics, and unethical production methods including the use of sweatshops. Not to mention, they embody everything that is wrong with capitalism. 
  2. Amazon: "Big Bad Amazon" as some have called it, has been known for various scandals surrounding treatment of employees, and the behavior of CEO Jeff Bezos being likened to that of a bully. They collect personal information, don't commit to protecting it, and have even been caught selling it. Additionally, they are running independent stores out of business, specifically local bookstores. Although Amazon presents itself to be the most convenient option, there are alternative places to shop, even if you prefer shopping online. 
  3. Alphabet: Parent company of beloved Google, Alphabet is at the top of the list of companies who genuinely don't care how the way they conduct business affects others. They're known for donating generous contributions to politicians who have a say in the legalities of conducting business for getting away with invasive practices. What is the most widely known search engine in the world, originally started off as a data collection tool. To this day, every search that we make on Google is tracked, along with our IP address, and is given to advertising companies who target consumers with product placement in our searches. 
  4. Facebook: In an effort to further globalize businesses, Facebook is known for spying on its users like you wouldn't believe. Unethical behavior conducted by Facebook in the past includes changing privacy settings with no warning, failing to remove posts which violate their privacy policy, and experimenting with user profiles without knowledge or consent. 
  5. Microsoft: Microsoft is most well-known for violating antitrust laws by acting as a monopoly in the PC operating system market.