The crossroads of the ‘Big Tech’

The overwhelming numbers of massive layoffs and stock market crashes recorded in recent weeks by some technology giants, with Meta (Facebook) and Twitter in the lead, are a turning point in the ascending career of these companies, so large and influential that they have changed social habits and economic models and have even played a role in the political debate. From the bursting of the dot-com bubble, at the beginning of 2000, that a general fall of this magnitude was not appreciated in the technological sector. Now, however, we are at a different time than 20 years ago, because if a classic bubble has been artificially inflated by speculation, today Big Tech is facing problems of a different magnitude. The main one, the environment of global economic uncertainty, with the ukrainian war as a backdrop, a inflation and rate hikes that affect all sectors, that restrains consumption and that slows down investment. An environment that was difficult to predict two years ago, when confinement and other restrictions due to the pandemic boosted digital consumption and the Silicon Valley party seemed endless.

the tycoon Elon Musk, who has had a rocky landing on his newly purchased Twitter, has even hinted that this social network may go bankrupt. For his part, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zukerbergsent a statement acknowledging the difficult circumstances that have led it to lay off 11,000 employees. Amazon announced a similar number of layoffs. They are not the only ones who have cut templates to resize the business to the new situation. Surely, in good times these companies They were overrated and now they are paying the consequences., as some analysts now recognize, but neither should they be considered finished so soon. The technological giants are at a crossroads, a moment of transition, and their survival will depend on their ability to adapt.

The technological sector is in constant change and search for innovation, in its very nature is the continuous birth of new players, consumption alternatives, which sometimes manage to succeed and change the market. These are also the challenges of the ‘Big Tech’, the challenge of young companies that have been more agile than them in capturing new trends. Given the first voices that Twitter could disappear, there have been no shortage of candidates to take its place. The 21st century society has assumed the use of the Internet and new technologies, some companies may collapse, but there will continue to be a market for others. Another question that remains to be clarified is whether the crisis will affect the global level in the same way as in the United States. Some contagion is to be expected, since the layoffs announced by companies with decision-making centers in North American cities also affect their business in the other countries where they operate. But in the European Union A minor impact can be expected, since Brussels has made digitization one of the financing priorities of the fondos Next Generation.

The current scenario of changes in the technology sector, in any case, should not distract us or make us lose ground in the vigilance against spreading false news and manipulations under the protection of a misunderstood freedom of expression. That is the real challenge facing modern democracies.

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