Winston Mano talks about Big Techs at Aljazeera Conference in Qatar
CAMRI’s Winston Mano was invited to speak at a joint conference between Al Jazeera Centre for Studies and the Department of Mass Communication at Qatar University. The theme of the 2-day conference was “Social Media Networks and Ideological Polarisation: Power Relations and Socio-Cultural Impact”. Mano spoke against the predatory behaviour of big information technology (Big Techs) companies, such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet (formerly known as Google), Microsoft, Orange, given how they are partaking in a new scramble for digital ecosystems in the global South. He discussed ways in which Big techs are using their power and financial muscle to take over the rich digital dividends in developing countries, using well-rehearsed capitalistic processes and models. The problem is that platforms and operational procedures controlled by the Big Techs are designed to aid their own business objectives rather than to further the developmental needs of developing countries. Mano referred to his ongoing work which centres the technological vantage point of the global South. The conference sought to explore the ramifications of the imbalance of power on the structure and performance of social media networks along with the economic interests that trigger the usage of these networks in the cultural wars. It also sought to examine how social media networks are used by international powers to manage political conflicts and international wars. The event, held from March 1-2, 2023, was attended by local and international professionals, researchers, experts and academics.