Stop. Now’s the moment to say NO MORE.
Since the early 90s, we all have had access to internet at home. Some of us used it to play videogames… others to download movies or songs… and a few to work online. The possibilities were endless. Connecting people from around the world in real time, the internet seemed unthinkable for the time. But, as years passed by and the network grew more and more, with more people connected and newer products and services on the platform…and behold, a universe would soon come into existence. This universe would be created by people working from a garage with an idea, to be later companies that now dictate how the world turns.
Under a global capitalist mantle, the intention of these big companies is none other than to continue growing, invoice more and more and get users hooked on their products. Their control reigns through the smartphones and computers we use more than 50 times a day. Because of the materialism and capitalism that runs deep in our society, blame cannot be thrown upon them. Rather, the fault is ours. This is our nature -although some more than others- and ALL have contributed to the society that we currently see before us.
Most users know that, the almost “free” services of Google or Facebook translate into personal data being given away. Phrases like “I have nothing to hide”, “it seems good to me that they sell my data”, and “I prefer not to pay” are aplenty. Yet, users are unaware that we are manipulatable beings. We have always been. By just attacking dopamine -related areas, actions can be associated to pleasure-driven sensations. Indeed, this is how the best perfumes, slot machines, tobacco, junk food works…and social networks have been designed. With the best engineers, scientists and physicists at their disposal, companies know how to hook us in and keep us wanting more. And once you’re in, there’s no getting out.
Now comes the next phase in this series: how to make money by impacting targeted advertising tailored exactly for you. The problem is not the advertising itself… it’s that these big companies control what they show you on your timeline or in search results. The algorithm behind it all is opaque: companies control and modify it as they see fit.
Thirty years ago, publicity for a political party was the same for all of society—an advertisement and a single message on television or in the press. Today, it’s different: such is the control that Google has already announced that Trump will not be re-elected. Such is the control that Cambridge Analytica has managed to influence/manipulate societies like the British and Americans to achieve Brexit and Trump’s current presidency. Such is the control that thousands of companies exist with the main aim to help political parties reach their objectives. Such is the control, that two different messages to vote for specific parties can reach you and your neighbor simulatenously. Indeed, Facebook has more than 5,000 different parameters to identify us. These services do not come without a hefty cost to us, and yet we have given up our democracy.
For these reasons, we are to be responsible for our decisions, thoughts and actions. The NO MORE FAANG movement was born to raise awareness that the future society that we leave behind to our children depends on what we do today. The NO MORE FAANG movement aims to explain how we can stop using services and products provided by these large corporations. It will not happen overnight. It must be a progressive and constant change, wherein the quality of services does not suffer. Alternative services, mostly Open Source, exist so that you can see if these services sell your data and/or what is done with it. I this way, at least, we will have transparency of timeline results and services without advertising. FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) represents the companies that have the most power over us today. In the following list, we’ll offer you alternative and quality services, so that you can gradually stop using them at your own pace.
No more leaving it in the hands of others.
Let us empower ourselves and decide.