Want to see Big Tech’s monopoly over the internet? There is a browser extension that blocks any website that sends requests to IP addresses owned by the four Big Tech companies, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. If you use the extension just for a few hours, you will realize the modern internet is almost impossible to use without these companies.
To prove Big Tech’s monopoly, the Economic Security Project developed a browser extension called the Big Tech Detective.
Available on Chromium browsers and Mozilla’s Firefox, the extension tracks requests sent by websites and what companies the requests are sent to. You can configure the extension to block websites that send requests to the four Big Tech companies. A red pop-up will appear with information on the requests so you can get an idea of what is being requested.
Long story short, there is not a lot you can do on the internet without Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook. Even alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo send requests to Big Tech.
To be fair, not all requests sent to Big Tech companies mean tracking, snooping, or some other fishy activity. Many websites will send requests to Amazon because they use the web hosting service AWS, or to Microsoft because they use Azure. Others will send requests to Google because they use Google Fonts. But it does show the monopolistic extent of Big Tech.
Because of these companies’ domination in ads, many websites will send requests for trackers provided by these companies.
But, attempting to avoid Big Tech while browsing the internet is synonymous with quitting the internet. From search, to online shopping, to news websites, Big Tech is present. Some online shopping sites like Etsy send requests to all four companies. Even if you decide to use the internet solely for entertainment, and somehow manage to avoid Google-owned YouTube, use Big Tech Extension and you will realize you cannot use Vimeo, Netflix, Hulu, and many other video streaming or sharing sites.
It is worth keeping in mind that the Big Tech Detective extension does not secure your data from Big Tech. The developer says even if it blocks a page, it does not really prevent the data-collecting trackers from accomplishing their task. The main purpose of the extension, according to The Verge, is as “a visualization tool to show you that if you want to use the internet without these companies, you are not going to have a good time.”