Tech's most powerful companies have repeated the story time and again that any threat to their trillion-dollar businesses will trickle down, hurting small companies who rely on them.
Contrary to all the positive stories that big tech has shared over the years, many business owners are not comfortable relying on large, opaque corporations. They often don't have any recourse in the event of a problem.
These are the kinds of things that Accountable Tech, a tech watchdog, wants to highlight with its new awareness push. It includes a full-page ad next week in San Jose's Mercury News, digital ads across all social media platforms, and a video series that highlights small business owners who have experiences that go against the tech company PR narratives.
The Main Street Alliance, Small Business Rising and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance have supported the project.
Jesse Lehrich, co-founder of Accountable Tech, said that the [campaign] highlights the multitude of Big Techs harms these small business owners are exposed to. From misleading and unreliable information to hidden costs and sudden changes in rules or algorithms that could cripple their entire company without access to customer support, TechCrunch was told by Jesse Lehrich. Every entrepreneur has a story to tell and a reason to speak out.
Lehrich describes Facebook's long-standing PR campaign for small businesses as incredibly cynical. Some Facebook employees seem to agree with this assessment. Small business owners are often subject to the influence of large corporations, which can make it difficult for them to run their business on these big tech platforms.
Lehrich stated that they are totally at the mercy these giants and have little access to customer service or metrics. It is not a partnership, it is exploitation.
The public sentiment seems to be shifting into a phase in which people are recognizing that even free tech platforms have a cost. This could be in the form privacy sacrifices or endless streams of user-created material that can be used as a canvas for advertising.
Although small businesses might rely on the tools of dominant tech companies, that does not mean that an upstart competitor could not create something that is just as good or better. TechCrunch's Lehrich explained that Big Tech corporations are monopolies or oligopolies and their services are essential because they have engaged in anticompetitive behavior in order to be the only one in town.
While Congress grapples with updating laws for an era long before the internet, tech's biggest companies will continue to leverage their market dominance leaving users and businesses with the same old thing.
To avoid scrutiny from regulators, monopolists such as Amazon, Google and Facebook have spent millions convincing lawmakers and the public that their products are a lifeline to small businesses. However, Nicole Gill, Accountable Tech Cofounder and Executive Director, stated that the reverse is true. Small business owners are now fighting back, sharing their personal experiences to reveal the true relationship between Big Tech (and Main Street)