Amazon, Facebook, Uber: The 10 most dangerous companies in the world that follow you
Slate decided to do ranking the most dangerous companies in the world. The top thirty included such well-known giants as Airbnb, IBM, SpaceX and - unexpectedly - even Disney. MC today prepared a translation of part of the material. Here's what the top ten most dangerous looks like.
10 Exxon Mobil
Year of merger: 1999
Chairman and CEO: Darren Woods
About company. The largest oil refining company in the world, having spent millions of dollars so that people forget that climate change needs to be studied.
Villainy. In the 1970s and 1980s, even before it became popular, Exxon hired scientists to study climate change. But when the company learned that carbon emissions affect global temperature, they not only did not change course, but also began to spread false information about climate change.
In addition, the company lobbied for a law preventing the United States from joining international environmental agreements like the 1998 Kyoto Protocol.
Year of foundation: 2012
Founder and CEO: Zhang Yuming
About company. Startup social network with the main office in Beijing. In China, ByteDance launched an artificial intelligence news reader. This led to predictable problems with censorship (according to the requirements of the authorities, they almost closed them, forced to change some algorithms and block individual bloggers. - Approx. Ed.).
However, in the USA, the company became known thanks to the TikTok application. This is a favorite American teenager program to create funny videos.
Villainy. Most major social networks avoid diphakes (a technology that allows you to replace the person’s face in the frame with another. - Approx. Ed.), because with their help you can spread any false information.
But ByteDance is not one of them. In early January, TikTok and its sister application Douyin found an unreleased code. With it, users can create their own diphakes.
ByteDance denies any involvement in the implementation of this creation feature in TikTok.
Year of foundation: 2006
CEO: Jack Dorsey
About company. This microblogging platform suffers from the same problems as larger social networks like Facebook or YouTube: harassment, misinformation, fake profiles.
Twitter is a very attractive platform for companies trying to manage news, such as bot campaigns and @realDonaldTrump.
Villainy. Last month, Dorsey announced that he was creating a team that would develop an open and decentralized standard for social networks (he believes that moderation from above is already ineffective. - Approx. Ed.).
However, some critics saw this offer as a convenient way to shift responsibility to Twitter users.
Year of foundation: 1975
CEO: Satya Nadella
About company. The software startup, created by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in a garage in Albuquerque, grew up despite the antitrust thrashing twenty years ago.
And he grew up in a multinational technology corporation, which “launched its paws” in absolutely everything: from cloud computing to game consoles. For fiscal year 2019 alone, Microsoft spent $ 9,1 billion on 20 companies (including a deal for GitHub worth $ 7,5 billion).
Villainy. In April, the Financial Times found that a Microsoft research subsidiary in China was engaged in three scientific developments in the field of artificial intelligence. They also investigated face recognition technologies, which, according to critics, can help the Chinese government monitor citizens, especially the Uighurs in Xinjiang, and suppress dissatisfied people.
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Also in 2016, the company created an open database, which included 10 million photos of 100 thousand writers, activists, high-ranking politicians and other famous people. No one asked the owners of the photo for consent.
Chinese companies SenseTime and Megvii, developing technical surveillance tools for the government, have used this database to train their own face recognition systems.
Microsoft closed the database only in June this year.
Year of foundation: 1976
CEO: Tim Cook
About company. Creator of your favorite gadgets. Critics say the company grabs too much of the App Store’s profits, pays too little taxes in the United States and is too loyal to the Chinese Communist Party - more than Facebook and Google, which do not offer their basic services in China.
Villainy. Just read this newspaper headline dated October 10, 2019: “Apple, for the sake of China, removed the Hong Kong protest card from its App Store” (it was an application that protesters used to track on their smartphones how the police travel and where they use tear gas. - Approx. Ed.).
Year of foundation: 2009
CEO: Dara Khosrovshahi
About Us. The transport company that created a really convenient application for calling a taxi and delivering food. However, in the third quarter of 2019, its net loss amounted to $ 1,16 billion.
Villainy. Uber is lobbying for the adoption (or non-adoption) of laws in its favor (for example, the California AB5, which should equate Uber drivers with employees and which is economically disadvantageous for the company. - Ed.).
And the company once spied on journalists using the God View tool, which, however, does not prevent it from posing as a fighter for protecting privacy.
In 2018, for example, in Los Angeles, they collected detailed data on electric scooter trips around the city in order to improve transport infrastructure. Now in a similar way they want to explore travel with fellow travelers. Uber, of course, opposed human rights defenders. The company does not want to share any information with the authorities (especially the information that is useful to itself).
4. Palantir Technologies
Year of foundation: 2003
CEO: Alex Karp
About company. Palantir collects and analyzes data for government agencies, investment funds and pharmaceutical giants. You may not even be surprised to learn that this data is not always used for good purposes.
Interestingly, the company was named after the evil-infected spy device from The Lord of the Rings.
Villainy. In 2018, Google terminated the contract for the Project Maven project (a program for analyzing video from drones. - Approx. Ed.) with the US government. Employees of the company believed that people should analyze the video, not cars, because the cost of error is very high - human lives.
Palantir gladly took the vacant seat, although its CEO has repeatedly emphasized that they are “very proud of their cooperation with the US government” and that Congress, not someone in Silicon Valley, should decide to limit surveillance.
Year Established (like Google): 1998
CEO: Sundar Pichai
About companyand. An Internet giant who, for good reason, abandoned his famous slogan “Don't be evil” (it was previously written down in the rules of conduct for company employees. - Approx. Ed.).
Alphabet, like most industry leaders, only pretends to abandon questionable practices. In fact, it was the company’s employees who destroyed Alphabet’s plans to create artificial intelligence for the Pentagon drones (see block above) and censored Chinese search engine. But such areas of business seemed incompatible with the positive image of Google ten years ago.
Google knows more about us than Facebook, and penetrates more and more into all areas - wherever it can sell our habits to advertisers.
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Villainy. Previously, Google employees could ask questions to superiors and discuss current issues at the weekly Friday TGIF meeting (Thank God It's Friday - “Thank God, Friday.” - Approx. Ed.).
Now there is no such opportunity. Director General Sundar Pichai recently reduced the number of such meetings to one per month and insisted that they discuss only “business and strategy” (one of the versions why such meetings were stopped is just a leak of information. - Approx. Ed.).
Year of foundation: 2004
Co-founder and CEO: Mark Zuckerberg
About company. A social network with an incredible impact on the whole world. Just remember the Cambridge Analytica scandal (then information about millions of social network users got into the company without their knowledge. - Approx. Ed.) and interference in the last US presidential election.
Villainy. Of the many problems Facebook can say that the social network is simply trying to attract new users and increase profits. However, the correction of harm caused is clearly not in first place in the list of priorities of the company.
Among the examples of problems - Facebook has for too many years been too free to use user data, expanding to countries whose languages the company personnel do not speak (with monstrous consequences).
Year of foundation: 1994
CEO: Jeff Bezos
About company. The online bookstore has grown into a giant in retail sales, resales, food delivery, video streaming, cloud computing, smart home technology, surveillance technology, and much more.
The company has enough opportunities to explore your habits and develop endless cheap fakes of popular products under the AmazonBasics brand. At the same time, the company itself is rather careless in its control policy: a huge number of fakes of other brands are sold on the platform.
And this is not to mention the hellish working conditions in warehouses and in the delivery service, as well as air pollution and other scandals.
Villainy. Last year, Amazon held a competition on where to open the company's second headquarters. They almost chose New York, but they had to refuse the deal - there were too many dissatisfied.
And it was because of that - the mayor's office promised Amazon ambitious tax benefits (about $ 3 billion over the next ten years) for the fact that it will build an office in Queens and create 25 thousand jobs.
In 2021, Amazon will still open an office in New York, but without such benefits.
And in early January, Atlanta Journal-Constitution journalists unearthed a deal worth $ 19,7 million at the expense of taxpayers - this is how Amazon opens a warehouse in Guinnett County, Georgia.
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