by Leah Nicholson
As the COVID-19 pandemic picked up during March, it began to change the way the public interacted with big tech companies. Sites such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter have become increasingly news-oriented, providing access to statistics from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and spreading them through a social media platform.
In the past, such companies have erred on the side of silence when it came to such events, but COVID-19 has become the exception. Public perception of big tech companies has become vastly altered, both positively and negatively, due to this involvement, with many praising their attempts to do good as the pandemic continues. Facebook’s pledge of $100 million dollars in grants to small businesses and Amazon’s increase in hiring as unemployment began to rise were acts of particular note for many people.
Not everyone entirely optimistic, however. Many have criticism towards tech companies’ involvements in the pandemic as elevated PR stunts, choices that will cease as soon as COVID-19 begins to fade. Others hope that these companies’ charitable responses will continue in the face of future events, leaning further into the image that big tech companies have cultivated over the past few months.
One thing is certain: this new precedent has undoubtedly altered the public view of big tech. It could well be that backlash towards these companies will continue to decline as 2020 continues forward, as these corporations continue to have a deeper connection to customers’ lives through the news cycle and social media.
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