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CEO labels Google a zealous pirate and dubs LinkedIn “spam city”

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Prior to his position as CEO, Thomson served as editor-in-chief of Dow Jones, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal and editor of The Times. And aside from turning Google’s newly conceived parent company called Alphabet against itself – “A is for Avarice, B is for Bowdlerize, through to K for Kleptocracy, P for Piracy and Z for Zealotry” – Thomson also blasted social media companies Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

He suggested the words “Intellectual Property” didn’t appear in Google’s alphabet either. Thomson explained that none of the social platforms actually created content, and certainly had little intention of paying for it.

“But the platforms do redistribute the content created by others – and would argue that such redistribution is a natural extension of being a social network,” he said. “I would argue that much of the redistribution is an unnatural act.”

Thomson is of the belief that these companies are taking advantage of the content that others create, “co-opting and corralling audiences and consciously devaluing brands.” 

“We are entering a new phase of development by the big distribution networks, a phase in which such companies are not only appropriating content but deciding what content is appropriate and inappropriate,” he continued.

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Thomson also took aim at LinkedIn: “The spammers at LinkedIn discovered that CVs are only burnished occasionally and anyone who tweaks their CV a few times a week is probably not worth hiring. Anyway, the bosses of these companies now see themselves as a news distributor, and news organisations who cozy up too closely to them are guilty of techno trendiness. It is patently important to be aware of the trends but a grievous sin to be too trendy.”

It’s certainly not the first time that a CEO has slammed a social platform. In June 2015, Apple CEO Time Cook suggested that Facebook, Google and Twitter had lulled customers into complacency about their personal information.

“The platforms are gobbling up everything that can be learnt about you and trying to monetise it. We think that’s wrong.”

He delved further into privacy, hitting out at Google’s Photos service for the information it gathers in order to offer the service free of charge. Cook said: “We don’t think you should ever have to trade privacy for a service you think is free but actually comes at a very high cost. This is especially true now that we’re storing data about our health, our finances and our homes on our devices.

“We believe the customer should be in control of their own information. You might like these so-called free services, but we don’t think they’re worth having your email, your search history and now even your family photos data mined and sold off for God knows what advertising purpose.”

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