John Harris

Journalist & Author

Little by little, big tech’s veneer of invincibility is starting to crack | John Harris

Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are rattled. And two women, one on each side of the Atlantic, are leading the way

Just for a moment, let us pull our eyes away from Brexit and focus instead on two interwoven stories about how the world has gone wrong, and what it might take to start to put it right. At the centre of each is a woman who has set herself against the male-dominated corporations we collectively know as big tech. What is happening is about high politics and the grind of government rather than street-level noise and mass activism, which is maybe why it still seems overlooked.

The frontrunner in the US Democratic party’s crowded nomination contest seems to be the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren. Over the past couple of years she has hardened her intentions to tackle the power of Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook. Thanks to leaked recordings of Mark Zuckerberg addressing a meeting of his staff, we know he seems to consider her plans an “existential” threat that would “suck for us”, and that he would “go to the mat” to fight them.

Her point was effective: ‘Facebook have decided to let political figures lie to you … while getting richer off the ads.’

Related: The great break-up of big tech is finally beginning | Matt Stoller

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