I’m extremely suspicious of companies where it’s difficult to properly describe their business model, just by using the product. Sometimes the true business model of a company can be surprising. For example, did you know that McDonald’s make a lot of their money from real estate? Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not obvious when you buy a burger.

It’s even harder online. Google and Facebook are the world’s two biggest advertisers, but we rarely think of them that way. Lets quickly look at why that is an issue.

When I bring this kind of thing up, people often respond with a laugh that I’m worrying too much, and that you cant really affect how they make money, so why bother? This simply isnt true though. Both companies are scrambling to try and find out how to appear more transparent and to keep your trust. However, they’re also still refusing to work with governments and condemning their own employees for protesting their methods. Amazon have even asked their employees to write good things about their working conditions on Twitter, with many suggesting the accounts are fake.

Given how they’re not only lying to us, but also to their employees, and as their employees, should we really trust them?

Not completely anyway. Especially when it’s difficult to truly see how they’re making money from the data the collect on us, and often how they can disguise their collecting of data as a “feature”. Remember if, it’s free, they are probably making money from selling your information eg how Facebook tries to tell you it’s better with location turned on.

Given how hard it is to believe and trust these companies, I dont want to give them any power. Power they get through money. And they get the money by you letting them sell your information. Think about it, you go for a coffee in Starbucks. Google and Facebook can now sell that information to put up the prices not only of ads for Starbucks, but local coffee shops who might be trying to compete with Starbucks in advertising ( super expensive ).

Do yourself and your local community a favor and dont enable these companies!