Opinion: Occupy Silicon Valley Is Coming Faster Than Most People Think

Jamarlin Martin
Written by Jamarlin Martin

Uber

Some ethical issues involving Uber include an alleged theft from Google’s Waymo, sexual harassment, and misleading city regulators with a hack to impair regulatory tracking.

Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo claims in a lawsuit that a former employee stole its technology for a laser-scanning system to guide self-driving cars. The former employee started a new company, later acquired by Uber.

The complaint reflects an escalating talent war in the burgeoning autonomous-driving arena as tech and auto companies alike compete for skilled engineers, Bloomberg reported.

When former Uber employee Susan Fowler published a blog about the culture of sexism and sexual harassment at the company, the wheels started to fall off Uber, Forbes reported. Fowler’s piece prompted a deluge of reports from female employees and a backlash against Uber unlike anything it had seen before. The media pounced, and board members publicly criticized CEO Travis Kalanick.
Uber became the brand that democratized power — or at least, the power to get a ride. But the allegations made by Fowler and others who came forward after her report make it clear that power and equality were not a part of the experience working as a woman for Uber. Uber may have been dedicated to treating customers fairly, but not its employees.
For years, Uber has used an app to identify and impair regulatory tracking in areas where authorities said Uber was breaking the law. The program, involving a tool called Greyball, uses data collected from the Uber app and other techniques to work around officials who are trying to clamp down on the ride-hailing service:
At a time when Uber is already under scrutiny for its boundary-pushing workplace culture, its use of the Greyball tool underscores the lengths to which the company will go to dominate its market, New York Times reported. Uber has long flouted laws and regulations to gain an edge against entrenched transportation providers, a modus operandi that has helped propel it into more than 70 countries and to a valuation close to $70 billion.

Facebook

In search of profit and clicks, Facebook helped develop fake news and the clickbait ecosystem.

Facebook has been a massive profiteer and enabler of clickbait operations and now that it controls nine out of 10 new digital ad dollars with Google, it has room to clean up the damage it created and act like the good guy. I have been in this digital media industry for over 10 years and I don’t recall an actor that has drained so much value out of the industry while putting very little back in, said Jamarlin Martin, CEO and founder of Nubai Ventures, in a recent Moguldom report.

Facebook is the crack dealer who exploits the community (publishers) and then invests money in more and better policing in that same community.

Facebook was recently fined $122 million by the European Union for misleading antitrust regulators about the acquisition of Whatsapp. Facebook said in 2014 at the time of the acquisition that it could not automatically match Facebook and WhatsApp user accounts, according to the European Commission, competition watchdog for the E.U. Two years later, Facebook launched a service that did exactly that, CNN reported:

Facebook paid $19 billion for WhatsApp, by far its largest acquisition ever. Using the messaging app’s data allows Facebook to target its ads better, boosting profits.

Facebook said it had made an honest mistake. The E.U. said Facebook knew exactly what it was doing and misled regulators.