There is growing awareness in both the scientific community and among the public at large that technology is delivering unprecedented opportunities while simultaneously undermining privacy, equity, and democratic values. Less well known is that an unprecedented shift in the balance of power between multinational industry and national governments has been a necessary condition for this new terrain. How else could a freely elected American president be silenced by Google, Twitter, and Facebook? How else could Facebook’s Instagram be exposed as knowingly causing harm to teenagers without government penalty? And how did America reach the point where Seattle and Silicon Valley had the capacity to uphold national public order when Washington fell short? What consequences for social justice follow from that transfer of power in a global economy of multinational companies and diverse workforces?
"Who Elected Big Tech?" provides a political history of the changing balance of power between three tech giants (Amazon, Facebook, and Google) and government from 2002, the year Facebook went public, to the January 6 insurrection and its immediate aftermath. It tells the story of Big Tech’s rise to political power, both from the vantage point of company leadership at Facebook, Google, and Amazon and from underrepresented groups in the rank and file of the male-dominated workforce at each company. We need both perspectives to understand how Big Tech saw the light about Donald Trump but not about the work environment of its own employees.