Want to break the FAANG shackles?

If you're sick of your data being fucking stalked across the Internet because in 2011 you wanted to take a personality quiz one time; the right to repair being taken from you; getting fleeced for "subscriptions" to media you never really own; the asphyxiation of independent business through predatory pricing models and illegal monopolies and trusts; the abuse of underpaid and heavily surveilled delivery and warehouse workers who are left to die in the middle of extreme weather events; and democracy being undermined for the sake of the almighty dollaridoo, perhaps divestment from the Big Five tech companies is right for you.

Table of Contents

  1. What is FAANG?
  2. What are FAANG's crimes?
  3. Replace FAANG in your life
  4. Increase your privacy online

What is FAANG?

FAANG is a Wall Street acronym (follow the money, LOL) that stands for:

  • Facebook, which owns:
    • Instagram
    • WhatsApp
  • Amazon, which owns:
    • Amazon Prime 🤮
    • Goodreads, Abebooks
    • Whole Foods
    • Ring doorbells and Echo home assistants (fucking creepy anyway, btw)
    • Zappos
    • Twitch
  • Apple
    • iPhone, Macbook, and other shinies
    • Mac OS, iOS, and App Store
  • Netflix and other subscription media services, like:
    • Hulu
    • Spotify
    • Audible.com—oh shit, it's fucking Amazon again!
  • Google
    • Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive
    • Google Chrome and ChromeOS
    • Google Maps and Google Earth

These aren't the only tech companies that do evil things and contribute to a worse society, but these are the big five in both economic influence and everyday interaction with your life, so it's instructive to examine the issue through this lens.

What are FAANG's crimes?

facebook: cambridge analytica, trust creations/buying out companies to stifle them

apple: https://pluralistic.net/2021/02/02/euthanize-rentiers/#r2r monopolization

amazon: surveillance of workers, brutal underpaid working conditions, https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/11/business/amazon-deaths-warehouse-tornado/index.html - monopolization, undercutting and then price gouging, no control on fake products

netflix and subscription media services: arbitrary removal of goods and services you paid for, you don't own anything anymore

google: surveillance of everyone everywhere

Replace FAANG in your life

To replace Facebook:

Make a Neocities website! Kind of kidding, but not really. Start an email newsletter. Text people. Download all your data, photos and all, and say goodbye. You probably won't miss it, unless I guess you have a business. I haven't been brave enough to do it yet because I'm worried people will forget about me and not want to invite me to events anymore, but on the other hand, who really invites people to things on Facebook anyway?

To replace Amazon:

This is a serious one to cut the cord on, but probably the one that will make the biggest positive difference in your life after increasing your online privacy. I love buying shit from other places besides Amazon. Books: BOOK SHOP DOT ORG and Better World Books. Kitchenware: WebstaurantStore.com, Sur La Table (yes, I'm white), thrift stores and estate sales. For most things: search the name of the product, and you can usually order it directly from the manufacturer's website. Sometimes they'll even have coupons.

If you're a Goodreads devotee, I gotta evangelize to you about The Storygraph. Way better recommendation algorithm based on tone, length, and mood, vastly better UI, much better ability to tag and organize your own library and TBR list, and Black-owned! Plus, for you stats freaks out there, orgasmically enjoyable charts and graphs of all kinds, including the ability to examine your reading trends year by year. And the pièce de resistance: You can export your Goodreads full history and reviews and automatically import it into The Storygraph, retaining all your crucial info. Make the switch today!!!!!

To replace Apple:

System76 and Pop!_OS = laptops and desktops running ubuntu/flatpack
Framework laptops = fully repairable, customizable, upgradable, and affordable "apple-style" laptops. don't be tied to apple's $800 "genius repair" bs anymore..... order replaement parts and fix it yourself wth a simple home screwdriver

If you have an iPhone, use Overcast as a podcast listener instead of Apple Podcasts.

To replace Netflix:

filez (come on, you used to do this all the time, just get a good VPN and do it again)

To replace Google:

Use DuckDuckGo as your web search. Use Firefox as your browser (uses less memory than Chrome, has more built-in anti-tracking features, open-source, and more). I am not great at this one since I still use Gmail, Google Calendar, and other productivity (??!?) tools. But even the fact that I'm locked into this whole system and the switching costs are so high is another reason to want to switch...

Want to increase your privacy online?

uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger, Facebook Container, Firefox Relay (email service), Bypass Paywalls. And sign up for the Electronic Frontier Foundation newsletter for updates on Internet privacy and your rights as an Internet user.