Snippet: Goodbye Big Five ☇

Shared on January 30, 2019

Kashmir Hill for Gizmodo in “Life Without the Tech Giants”:

Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple collectively make products that we love, products that we hate (but can’t stop using), and products that dictate how we communicate and how we are seen. Their devices and services make our lives easier than they’ve ever been before, yet more complicated in unforeseen ways. They are so ubiquitous and fundamental to our lives that their offerings have replaced core functions of our brains. We’re now realizing it’s as possible to get addicted to these buttons, clicks, screens, and scrolls as it is to get hooked on nicotine or heroin. Who, after all, can deny the high that comes from an Instagram like? […]

The common retort to these concerns is that you should “just stop using their services.” So I decided to try.

This is a story of how, over six weeks, I cut them out of my own life and tried to prevent them from knowing about me or monetizing me in any way—not just by putting my iPhone in a drawer for a week or only buying local, but by really, truly blocking these companies from accessing me and vice versa. I wanted to find out how hard it would be—or if I could even do it—given that these tech giants dominate the internet in so many invisible ways that it’s hard to even know them all.

I’ll be curious to see the next installments, as those are the two companies I’m mostly involved with. In the series, content is outright blocked at a network level, as opposed to just opting out of an account, which demonstrates the most extreme case. It’s an interesting experiment as we all continue to evaluate which companies are worth doing business with.

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