The long arm of Big Tech has touched our unassuming lives. We have been canceled. We don’t exist. If the oligarchs of Silicon Valley have their way, we will simply cease to be.
For years we lived under the thumb of Big Tech, compromises here and there, but we never thought they’d come for us. Sure Mark Zuckerberg kept track of our every “like,” and Google maintained a long list of searches and page visits. They told us all our passwords were safe from malicious intruders, and we believed them. We trusted them, and figured those annoying targeted ads were a small price to pay for access to the world wide web and our friends’ cute pet videos.
Then they came for us. We don’t know if it is personal, something we have done; maybe an opinion we expressed. We do know they are telling the world, our world, that we no longer exist. We don’t count; we don’t matter.
The street where we live is new. It’s a cul-de-sac, seven houses and two empty lots. Not very many years ago, they carved our cul-de-sac out of a cornfield near the edge of the woods. It’s a nice setting for the seven houses and two empty lots. But Google says our seven houses and two empty lots don’t exist. Google our address, and you’ll be told to try again. “Check the address,” they will say.
FedEx has told us they can’t deliver a package to our address because it doesn’t exist. We tried to set up an online account with another company and were forbidden from doing so until we entered a “valid address.” We’ve been canceled. Invalidated. If they meant to shame us, we feel that shame. Google is like an estranged friend. No more friendly waves as we pass on the sidewalk. Eyes averted, pace quickened, they walk by as if they never knew us. It’s as if all those years of using their maps and finding just what we were looking for thanks to their search engine didn’t matter. Our loyalty doesn’t count.
They made their money off those targeted ads. They knew we were suckers for their click bait. Canceled without a word. No “Good bye.” No “We’re sorry.”
A word for the problem solvers among us: we know what’s going on. I have notified Google of their cruelty and they have attempted to appease us by allowing our street to be listed as a place on their maps. But, still, our little cul-de-sac is not listed as a legitimate street (nor is the other cul-de-sac just down the street). Our house number is still listed as invalid. The FedEx driver now knows where we live, but that other company still won’t open an online account for us.
No malice. The Google Maps algorithms or data scans simply haven’t gotten around to our little seven-house, two-empty-lot cul-de-sac. They will in time, for there’s money to be made. And, by the way, Apple Maps loves us still. We’re right there when we do a search.
We’ll get over Google’s snub, but, frankly, it’s been a bit of an inconvenience.
It is more than an inconvenience for those who live in a world that denies, degrades, discounts, and demeans them because of their race or their profession, their faith or their convictions.
The Biblical message to our world that denies, degrades, discounts, and demeans – to a cancel culture – is of the one so much bigger than Big Tech, so much more caring than the oligarchs, so much more powerful and merciful than any king or prince. This one, this Lord, declares that he knows us (Nahum 1:7, John 10:14) and loves us (1 John 3:1).
Nice try, Google, but we are still here. And we are loved by the one who knew us long before our little cul-de-sac was carved from a cornfield at the edge of the woods.