The New Dictators: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft et al

There is no purity in expression anymore. Everything is watched and moderated. Facebook recently blocked me from posting because I had put up a very tasteful, arty photograph of a bare breast, blurred to such an extent that the nipple was almost invisible.

They threatened to delete my account which I use extensively to connect with other authors and readers. It’s not an account where I use my own name. I use it invisibly, so you will never be able to find me on Facebook. That’s not because I want you not to find me but, rather it’s for writing I do in another genre that I prefer to distance myself from my life as a writer of fiction.

Facebook is an arch hypocrite and a thief. We all know about the thievery bit, but have you ever stopped to consider the extent of its hypocrisy? Facebook allows murderers and haters to live-stream its hateful actions on its Facebook Live media, but it deems ‘obscene’ an arty picture – half blurred of a female breast. I could go on, but I won’t. I am too enraged.

Amazon is another dictator. When I won the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award I was gob-smacked. I couldn’t believe it. I said to my family it was a fluke. Deep down I knew it was. I am part of a massive PR experiment I said to myself as I flew to Seattle to accept the award. It all sounds very cynical and it was/is but think of this. Amazon told me I would be number one, even before they had published my book. They told me: you wait, you’ll be number one and expect some seriously big royalties. Now this could be a vote of confidence – lovely – but it could also have been an intimate knowledge of how their algorithms – manipulated by them – push the authors they like (and by that, I mean the authors they want to make money out of) – up the charts. They pushed me up the charts. My sales paid back their advance and a whole lot more. They got back their ‘investment’ in me, then they dropped me. Standard business practice, you might say.

Apple refused to allow me to move my iTunes account to another device because it said I’d used it on too many devices. (I deleted iTunes and haven’t used it for five years). Skype (Microsoft) recently requested I fill out a massively detailed ID document to prove that I owned the Skype account I was trying to log into. It had recently upgraded its system. I had credit on my Skype account, but it refused to allow me entry into my account until I had provided them with intimate information, like the last five people I had emailed, the subject titles and the email addresses of those people. I refused, gave up and moved to Viber.

I recently bought Microsoft Word from an authorised reseller, but now – on Windows 10, every time I use Word it asks me to put in my 12-digit ID code even though I have put it in many times. It doesn’t recognise the authorised resellers version, even though it’s legit.

Google tracks my every move, asks me many times a day to allow them to lock down my location. I have disabled this function on my phone. It’s seriously creepy.

Amazon – the world’s greatest hypermarket – bombards me with SPAM every minute of every single day. I knew when they were trying to get into publishing with their Amazon Publishing imprints that they would never succeed, would give up and that they would move into other areas. They are all over every industry in the world. Do you know that? You name an industry, Amazon is trying to crowd out the market and take it over.

Look I am grateful for the hand of Amazon on my writing back in 2013, but Amazon can make or break an author. They can make or break any of us. Ditto the others on the list in my title.

Shouldn’t be all be rebelling against this? Where is the law, where is the legalisation? And people complain about the European Union. Isn’t this what the EU is doing with its new data laws and privacy laws.

At some stage in the future I will leave all this behind and go and grow tomatoes and olives to live off and live in a finca or a shack on some Spanish mountain.

Dictators rule the world, and these companies are the dictators of the world. Where is the Resistance? Where are the French?

If you think I don’t understand the ins-and-outs of all this hideous tech stuff, you’re wrong. I do. I am just writing about it in a vague way because that’s the way I want to approach a subject like this. For my sanity.

Over to you. Go grow tomatoes on a Spanish hillside.

Try MeWe and Viber. I am not going to be a pawn anymore. I am a pawn, but I don’t have to always be a pawn. Facebook’s publishes erotic images all the time. Do a search and you’ll find erotic, nude images in two seconds flat. You’ll not only find erotic images, you’ll find pornographic drawings and photography, yet it blocked me for an arty photograph of one female breast.

Facebook = Hypocrisy Central.

Why do we allow these dictators so much control over our lives? Because it’s all FREE. There’s nothing FREE in this world, except nature and death. And that’s still not free. You always pay for free in some way.

I am still shocked and disgusted the way people post private family photos to Facebook or any social media. It’s an abuse of the rights of the person in the photograph. Particularly tragic are baby and child photographs. Any pervert can drag them off Facebook. People are giving away their souls with these companies, Apple, Amazon, Facebook et al. None of the above is original. It’s our experience NOW. No one seems to be looking though. And nobody seems to care. Do you care?

Add to this list in the title headline: Uber, Airbnb, Trip Advisor, Deliveroo et al.

These billion dollars companies are being made rich by us. Why? Is it because we are too lazy to stop them? Too overworked? Too lobotomised? Too passified? Do we all hate ourselves so much that we’re prepared to live like this, to have our future shaped like this?

I am not a Luddite. I love technology, love control. I am not a communist. I am for technology shaping change in medicine, science, health, architecture, life in general, but not this. Dictators need to be topped. Monopolies need to be cut down. It’s incredible these examples of ultra-nuclear-Capitalism have now rendered our lives almost comparable to life in the U.S.S.R under Stalin.

Facebook censoring me while I am looking right now at pictures on Facebook on a friend’s computer of highly erotic images from some woman in America – her huge butt stuck in the air, legs open, ready to be penetrated from behind, smacks of ultra-control.

We have got find a way to slam down these dictators, and soon. I want them all to fail. Seriously. If we all walk away, stop buying from them, stop using them, they will vanish. It might take a couple of decades but they will disappear as quickly as they arrived in our lives.

Go grow tomatoes on a Spanish hillside.

Jo x





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