What Big Tech Wants Out of the Pandemic

By FRANKLIN FOER

Long before the coronavirus pandemic, the tech industry yearned to prove its indispensability to the world. Its executives liked to describe their companies as “utilities.” They came by their self-aggrandizement honestly: The founding fathers of Big Tech really did view their creations as essential, and essentially good.

In recent years, however, our infatuation with these creations has begun to curdle. Many Americans have come to view them as wellsprings of disinformation, outrage, and manipulation—and have noticed that the most profitable companies in human history haven’t always lived by the idealism of their slogans.

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