Google, Amazon mocked on ‘Saturday Night Live’ amid wider tech backlash

The tech backlash has moved beyond op-ed pages and into people’s living rooms, with “Saturday Night Live” delivering a couple of skits skewering Google and Amazon over the weekend.

The “Google Talks” skit was more directly brutal, mocking Googlers as mistakenly thinking they are enlightened and hip and “woke,” but implying that not all Google employees fit the bill.

In another skit, the TV show also showed representatives from various American cities begging a bald guy who was supposed to be Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to choose their city as the site for Amazon’s much-hyped second headquarters. Friday in real life, Amazon announced the 20 finalists in its Olympics-style bidding process for the site.

(The videos are below.)

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The “SNL” treatment is timely considering the growing criticism tech companies are getting from academics, politicians, regulators, consumers, consumer advocates and more. The reasons for the backlash abound: the spread of fake news, sexual harassment, diversity issues, censorship, avoiding taxes and just plain too much power.

Also in real life over the weekend, NYU business professor Scott Galloway, author of “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google,” said during a conference in Munich that he has “become 100 percent convinced that it’s time to break these companies up.

“The key to competitive markets is no one company has too much power and we have blown way by that,” he said, according to Axios.

The “SNL” skit wasn’t too tough on Amazon — it seemed to be poking more fun at how cities are falling all over themselves to get Amazon’s attention. But in his talk, Galloway went after both the online retailer and the cities.

“The most egregious example of our perversion of a society where we no longer worship at the altar of kindness and character but of innovation and money is the s***show called HQ2 going on with Amazon,” he said, “where basically governments have decided to turn over their civic responsibilities and taxation authority to the Seattle giant.”

Last week, the Wall Street Journal became the latest publication to examine “The Antitrust Case Against Facebook, Google and Amazon,” pointing out that today’s tech giants are just as dominant as Standard Oil and AT&T were before they were broken up or regulated.

“Just as Standard Oil and AT&T were once critical to the nation’s economic infrastructure, today’s tech giants are gatekeepers to the internet economy. If they’re imposing a cost, it may not be what customers pay but the products they never see.”

The Journal lays out the eye-popping numbers that show the backlash is bound to continue: Google has 89 percent of internet search; 95 percent of young adults online use a Facebook product; Amazon.com accounts for 75 percent of online book sales; Apple and Google command 99 percent of mobile operating systems; and Google and Facebook gobbled up 63 percent of online ad spending last year.

 

 

 

Photo: Logos of some of tech’s biggest companies on a screen last year. (DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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