Arguments For And Against Big Tech Companies

Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Twitter, Amazon are generally called Big Tech companies. These companies are being seen as becoming too big for their boots.

Arguments In Favour of Big Tech Companies

  • We are all ardent users of Big Tech goods and services.
  • Big Tech companies provide citizens powerful platforms to transact, express themselves, seek out information, and consume entertainment.
  • Social media has democratised communications
  • Social media has also weakening the power of traditional media gatekeepers.
  • Big Tech has brought us doorstep delivery of a wide range of services and products.
  • It is Big Tech that enabled us to conduct our lives near-normally through the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Modern life would not be possible without Big Tech.

Arguments Against Big Tech Companies

  • The internet, once the promised land of free and open interactions for all, is now controlled by these big tech companies.
  • Recent events in the United States (US), when these same companies shut down a sitting US president, without due process, have alerted us to their unchecked power.
  • While providing us these benefits, Big Tech has also been accumulating vast, unregulated powers.
  • These big companies are accused of not adequately protecting individuals’ privacy.
  • Social media platforms have the power to shape narratives and, therefore, incite public behaviour. 
  • Consumers have very little protection against digital platforms when many use so-called “guidelines” and “algorithms” to decide to mute or amplify content on totally non-transparent terms. 
  • Social media platforms become a dangerous force multiplier for fomenting hate and violence.
  • Pricing and promotion decisions by e-commerce platforms such as Amazon can make or break millions of small merchants.
  • Big tech companies are acquiring more monopoly power;
  • Big Tech companies also kill competition as they continue to acquire smaller, fast-growing companies.
  • Big Tech firms have acquired extraordinary amounts of data on individuals.
  • Big tech companies have begun to curate and generate their own content, creating possible conflicts of interest
  • They have empowered new players, but they also seem to destroy lots of businesses. 
  • Big tech companies, especially Facebook and Twitter have started behaving like a sovereign power. Banning Donal Trump from social media, and Twitter’s refusal to comply with the government of India’s orders remind how powerful they have become.

Free Speech And The Constitution Of India

  • Big Tech companies need to be evaluated whether big tech companies are respecting Article 19 of the Constitution of India.
  • India’s Constitution has defined free speech under Article 19 and the limits that can be put on that right to free speech in Article 19(2). 
  • Constitution has clearly defined free speech and the limits that can be put on that right to free speech.
  • The takedown policies, community standards or algorithms of all platforms must be compliant with and not go beyond Article 19(2) exceptions.