How long has it been since you’ve used Facebook? Google? Amazon? Apple?

A day?

Several minutes?

Using them right now?

“Google controls

92%

of internet searches. Last year, Google and Facebook attracted an estimated

84%

of global spending on digital search advertising, excluding China.
alexa Amazon owns over

70%

of the ebook market and, through Alexa,

71%

of the in-home voice market.”

- The Nation

That's a lot

“Over the past decade,

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google...

have aggregated more economic value and influence than nearly any other commercial entity in history. Together, they have a market capitalization of

$2.8 trillion

... and a staggering

24%

share of the S&P 500 Top 50.”

- Esquire

stock market

So what?

What are we paying for these services?

Let's look at their characteristics

invasive centralised controlling
invasive “many of the biggest names in tech, including

Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft

, were part of a program called PRISM that let the NSA tap into services - accessing things like chats, documents and emails.”

- Washington Post

centralised“Competition has fizzled, replaced by pockets of extreme concentration. Inequality has spiked and extreme wealth — alongside its evil twin, extreme power — has pooled in fewer and fewer hands”

- The Nation

controlling“This concentration of power creates a new set of gatekeepers, allowing a handful of platforms to control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared.”

- The Guardian

Sounds dystopian

“These companies are analogous to feudal lords and we are their vassals, peasants and – on a bad day – serfs. We are tenant farmers for these companies, working on their land by producing data that they in turn sell for profit.”

- The Guardian

serf

Could you stop using them?

“If an evil, tech-phobic monarch forced you to abandon each of the Frightful Five

[Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft]

,
in which order would you do so, and how much would your life deteriorate as a result?”

- The New York Times

No more stalking people on facebook?

No more funny videos on youTube?

No more shiny new iPhone?

No more next day delivery?

No more likes?

no more ♥︎s?

Using Bing??

captive captive
“These are the tools of modern life. They’re necessary to a career and a social life. Opting out just isn’t a viable choice for most of us, most of the time; it violates what have become very real norms of contemporary life.”

- The Guardian

What about alternatives?

Well...

“These dominant platforms are able to lock in their position by creating barriers for competitors. They acquire startup challengers, buy up new innovations and hire the industry’s top talent.”

- The Guardian

pacman
“The platforms have become so dominant because they benefit from “network effects”. Size begets size: the more sellers Amazon, say, can attract, the more buyers will shop there, which attracts more sellers, and so on.”

- The Economist

pacman
“In addition to the many platforms they own already, one or more of the Five are on their way to owning

AI, voice assistants, virtual and augmented reality, robotics, home automation,

and every other cool and crazy thing that will rule tomorrow.”

- The New York Times

pacman

Should we welcome our new tech overlords?

What if we could use these services in other ways?

Terms Of Service

A unilateral negotiation

Terms of Service agreements define our relationship with a service provider.
What do terms of service permit us to do? What do they forbid?
unionising
Unionising

Collectively sharing one user profile to compose one digital individual.

swapping
Swapping

Swapping the function of one service with that of another

analoguing
Analoguing

Inputting equivalent analog content in digital contexts

timesharing
Timesharing

Sharing a profile with other individuals according to allotted times

cloning
Cloning

Cloning profiles in order to split information gathering

routing
Routing

Routing information through different profiles in order to obscure provenance

donating
Donating

Passing on disused user profiles to new users.

squatting
Squatting

Taking over digital real estate for non-contextual activity

Terms of Service is a platform
for exploring ways of using
common digital services
in uncommon ways
It is a dispersed platform hosted on Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple's platforms.
By being unpredictable users can we carve out a space for user agency within the constrictions of terms of service agreements?

For more information on how it works click here

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