The Data Cartel: Can the monopolies of Google, Facebook, and Amazon be broken?

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I’ve lost count of how many privacy and data security articles I’ve written about but there have been many. I’ve said it before, the digital age is on top of us and we’re happily surrendering the most important part of our place in it. Our privacy and our data. I ran across a TEDx talk from Kat Chrysostom from back in December 2018 in which she calls three large tech companies “The Data Cartel.”

The Data Cartel is the advertising/technology behemoths that are Google, Facebook, and Amazon. While many would call these three technology companies, others would say they merely use technology to mine for user data to serve you advertising. In a sense, they are both.

Chrysostom opens her speech by asking the audience if they’re aware of the trackers that websites have in place when you visit them. I’d wager to guess that most people aren’t aware. Most trackers are placed there to collect demographic information for ad serving purposes. We admittedly use a handful of ad servers such as Google, Amazon, and others on our website.

Currently, the ads business model is the single best way to earn revenue from the hard work many websites put into their content. It’s not always pretty. I’ve personally worked with several ad companies who served ads that were not in the interest of our readers and I’ve pulled their plug. Google is the father of this business model and frankly, we wish there was a better way to earn from our content production.

Chrysostom goes on to say that user data is the most valuable asset the data cartel possesses. According to Chrysostom, Facebook and Google own 78% of the US$80 billion dollar digital advertising market. The two companies have a market value of over US$1.2 trillion dollars. Chrysostom also says that, aside from Amazon, Google and Facebook basically have no competition in the digital advertising market and their shares just continue to grow.

Algorithms with no transparency on these platforms are shaping what we see, therefore controlling our perceptions.

They are implementing software that knows things about you before you know them about yourself.

Kat Chrysostom

This is a very interesting TEDx talk indeed and one everyone should at least watch and consider sharing. Check out the full twelve-minute presentation below.

Chrysostom’s idea of people owning their personal data and being reimbursed for that data by big tech/advertising companies is interesting. Some may argue that users are being paid by using the services and technologies these companies provide free of monetary charge. That conversation is sure to bring a lot of contention and debate and it will be interesting to see how that all pans out.

What do you think of this TEDx talk? What do you think of Kat Chrysostom’s idea of The Data Cartel? How about her idea of tech companies paying users for their data? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, or Facebook. You can also comment on our MeWe page by joining the MeWe social network.

Last Updated on February 14, 2021.


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