The Big Five—Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft—essentially control America. In the United States, the pandemic resulted in the permanent closure of 200,000 businesses. People lost their jobs, their livelihoods, and too many lost their lives.
But the pandemic didn’t affect Big Tech. In fact, rather perversely, it seems to have helped. Amazon just released its first quarterly report of 2021. The company’s net income is up by 48.4 percent. Total revenue is up by 27.2 percent. Apple, spearheaded by Tim Cook, has seen its revenue soar by 54 percent to $89.6 billion. With Facebook, as Reuters recently reported, “total revenue, which primarily consists of ad sales, rose about 56 percent to $29.08 billion in the second quarter from $18.69 billion a year earlier.” Compared with last year’s first-quarter report, Google’s overall revenue increased by 34.2 percent. Last year, the company reported $41.2 in revenue; this year, it reported $55.3 billion. With a market value of $2.15 trillion, Microsoft isn’t suffering, either.
Big Tech poses a direct threat to democracy. For years, without a sliver of success, American politicians have attempted to break up the Big Five. However, as the likes of Amazon and Apple become more powerful, the chances of successfully dismantling the likes of Facebook and Microsoft become slimmer and slimmer.
Meanwhile, in China
Around 7,200 miles away, a Big Tech crackdown is taking place, and it’s proving to be a particularly brutal affair. In reality, the crackdown has been taking place for months. In April, the Chinese regime targeted Jack Ma, ordering a swift restructuring of Ant Group, the billionaire’s fintech conglomerate. Then, three months later, the regime targeted Didi, an event that I covered for The Epoch Times.
In China, it’s all about optics. The regime, more than anything, wants to appear strong, both at home and abroad. As Shuyao Kong, a journalist at Decrypt, recently wrote, “it’s not about the damage that Big Tech has done but the perceived influence these new titans wield.” What the regime finds particularly worrying, argues Kong, “is the perception that Big Tech is too big to fail, and therefore not subject to government control.” Such a narrative, if allowed to continue, inevitably undermines “the Chinese government’s total control over the economy.”
Kong, who was educated in China, is indeed correct. Perception is reality, and the reality in China is a harsh one. 2021 is indeed the Year of the Ox, but it’s also the year in which Ma and his billionaire brethren take a crash course in reality.
Meanwhile, at Home
Back in the United States, Big Tech intends to give American citizens a crash course in reality. As Reuters recently reported, the likes of Facebook and Microsoft are teaming up to form a “counterterrorism organization.”
Yes, Facebook, a company with a history of spying on users, is going to police the American public. The new counterterrorism unit will specifically target “the types of extremist content shared between firms in a key database, aiming to crack down on material from white supremacists and far-right militias,” according to Reuters.