An open letter to tech companies

6/6/2023 - Levi Neuwirth - for immediate publication

TLDR: Listen to the users; when the majority of your userbase is advocating against a change, maybe think twice about making that change.
It goes without saying that we are living in an era of greed. Tech companies help propagate the current state of the job market (bad) and the current quality of life for the executives (high) at the price of their users. Let's take a few examples:

- YouTube removes the like button, against the wishes of basically every YouTube user
- Discord removes the identifer (#1234, for example) after usernames, in contrast to the wishes of the users.
- Reddit makes API access beyond unaffordable claiming the prevention of AI training while actively selling personal user data without consent to AI companies.
- Google trains Bard (an AI model) on user emails without consent and after promising to stop.
- YouTube throttles the use of adblockers whilst increasing the duration and frequency of ads, all without supporting the actual creators that keep the platform alive.

Perhaps tech companies should think more about the loyal communities that keep them alive rather than chasing infinite growth (impossible) and shareholder greed (they don't really make any money anyway, for the most part).

Companies can't exist without users. It's clear that the users will make their voices heard - all you need to prove that is a look at the numbers. Maybe take a look at Twitter and Snapchat, two popular social media platforms in turmoil currently - Snapchat due to the introduction of an unsafe, invasive (even by their standards, since their entire app is massively invasive) AI model spying on the users, and Twitter due to API and platform changes similar to Reddit's recent horrible choices. 

Executives at these companies need to be down to Earth and have an understanding of the reason that their platform has an appeal in the first place, rather than jumping in when the platform is well-established and abusing that notability. 

Would anyone choose to upload videos to a new service today that doesn't allow for feedback, constantly advertises (with many containing malware), and doesn't support creators (but constantly demonetizes videos without reason)? I don't think so. The only reason YouTube can do what it does is because they have a notabilty monopoly. The same goes for other tech giants.

Change is necessary.

The future lies in open-source software. Open AI models (no, not OpenAI, I mean AI models that are actually open!) are on pace to destroy those of the tech giants that invaded the privacy of users to train. Many people are flocking to providers like Signal and Proton, fleeing the abusive practices of corrupt companies like Google. And if other companies choose to abuse their power and disregard their very own communities, they will fail without exception.

To the tech companies - I urge you to listen to your users and be transparent, honest, and thoughtful. That's a lot to ask in the present day, and it's sad that this is the case. Know that your day will come if you do not heed this advice.

this text may be freely distributed - 6/6/23, for immediate publication