Where Tech Companies Thrive, No Sincere Apology Because Users Are Addicts

Hafiz Rahman S.
Founder of Eyerys

When someone did something wrong to us, we may demand an apology. In most cases, that is sufficient, especially when the person in question knows where the mistake is, and promises to never repeat that same mistake in the future.

But when that someone did a crime, a mere apology may not be enough. The person may face the law, and get some jail time or fines. That is for the punishment, ensuring that the person will never commit the same mistake again.

This is for the deterrence for such crime.

Things however, is different when it comes to big companies, like tech giants that thrive on the web. From Google to Facebook, to Amazon, Apple and some others who have the power and the money, and the user, as well as the influence.

When those tech giants make mistakes, we as users may demand their sincere acknowledgement of wrongdoing. That is the most people can do to them.

Even if those companies violated their own policy, there is nothing much users can do, other than asking for their sincere apology.

Hafiz Rahman Sukarni

However, their sincere apologies are more likely to be an attempt to evade bad PR. More than often, those apologies are publicly stated, even before any systematic change has been thought of. And usually, those apologies are just delivered through a blog post, or through media interviews.

Rarely they apologize in which follows a real change in the underlying structures that caused the issue in the first place.

There are some particular reasons why this happens, and the most prominent is because the solution to the problem doesn't benefit them.

Conflict Of Interest

As long as the solution conflicts with their business models, the answer will take like forever before being implemented. Or unless they have no choice.

Take Google and Facebook as an example. Those two companies thrive on user data and track whatever users do, and many times they do that to target users with ads that are scarily accurate. We may want them to stop in doing what they do, and leave us users happy without over-tracking.

Unfortunately for most users, the solution we wish they would act conflicts with their goals.

We want more privacy but they thrive on targeting and personalization of data; we want control of our data but they collect as much as possible from us, by distracting us with ads; we want safe, ethically-built devices that don't track us without our knowledge, but they make profits by manufacturing those devices as cheap as possible, with services that are free to entice us.

As we continue using their products, the more data those tech companies can extract from us to benefit themselves, as well as advertisers.

Users Are Still Addicted

Another reason why we can't demand sincere apologies from those tech giants, with them to never repeat their mistakes, comes from us as their users.

While at one point we demand their apologies, as well as for them to stop doing what they do to our personal information, we are also addicted to their services at the same time. While we want to stop using those services, we crave for them for many reasons.

For example, there are many publishers who rely on them for exposure. Many others are influencers who make money from them, and others are regular users who cannot stop seeing those family pictures, memes, or even cats.

The more we think about how we could connect with friends without those services, or find what we need, get our work done, or even spend out lonely times, the more we crave on those services. We live our lives through tech, and have deliberately become addicted to them, fearing the withdrawal.

This make us return to them. And the more we crave, the less guilty those companies feel.

As tech giants with stocks traded, pretty much everything the companies do is tied by their business models to please investors. These companies are always on the move to book increasing quarterly earning to enrich those who put real money on them.

Tech giants won’t improve enough on their own.

This is why those companies, those gatekeepers, and those who thrive on user data, should be regulated.

Some rules need to be applied, in order for those companies to compete healthily, preventing massive mergers, allow smaller ones to thrive, and giving users the right to interoperable data portability so they can easily switch away from those services that treat them poorly.

But again users are unfortunate, as there are little to no alternatives to those giants. If we are indeed addicts, we must accept that shaping the future for the collective good may be inconvenient.