Some of the events that happened last week with regards to US Presidential elections have been unprecedented. In aftermath of violence and other madness that followed President Donald Trump’s social media accounts were suspended by Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For all practical reasons I am not going to get in to Twitter and Facebook’s decisions. Purpose of this post is to look at wider implications of these actions.
Following Twitter and Facebook suspending his account President Trump had access to Parler to express his thoughts. Suddenly Google / Alphabet and Apple decided to remove Parler app from their platforms. This was followed by Amazon suspending AWS hoarding hosting services for Parler. In my opinion actions of Alphabet (Google), Apple and Amazon is a very big issue.
Reason I say that is this is opening up a box of pandora. All these companies provide services to various different individuals, companies and businesses. The message that has gone from their actions with regards to Parler is if you don’t agree with our philosophy you’re kicked out and essentially dead in water from online presence standpoint. Some might call this as bullying.
Imagine you’re CIO / CTO of a Bank who is looking to migrate workload to 3rd party cloud provider. After you migrate someone gets offended because (as a Bank) you’re doing business with a company in Guns business. So they decide to terminate your hosting service similar to what Amazon did to Parler. This is likely to have impact on bank’s business and there are likely to be angry customers. Here is another example. You’re an automobile company who is paying a 3rd party to host your online presence. Somebody at service provider gets angry due to something with your SUV and decided to block you. Your customers and dealers are impacted because of it. There can be various other examples where companies or businesses may do something legal but people don’t like it. But if that’s going to result in you thrown of online world, we’ve a big problem.
Prior to events of last week there were already discussions happening about Big Tech having too much influence and power potentially even monopolies. These actions with regards to Parler haven’t helped their cause. In my opinion, Big Tech companies have scored a massive own goal. This is going to attract extremely close scrutiny from Governments world over. Over the next few weeks and months, there would lot of attention towards their actions. Whether these events transpire in changes in Tech ecosystem is the big question…