Nopology (nôpäləjē): noun a non-regretful acknowledgement of an offense or failure.
The number of corporations caught with their hands in your cookie jar is growing daily. From security breaches that would make your eyes roll back into your skull (Equifax) to selling your personal data (Facebook) to cheating authorities (Uber) to downright stealing your money (Wells Fargo) — and these are the ones that we know of. Many times, the only way we learn of these wrongdoings is through whistle-blowers, sometimes long after the transgressions occurred.
And just when you thought those exposed companies should apologize, pay for the crimes, and go stand in the corner quietly, some “wise” PR people decided it’s time to unleash a torrent of nopology commercials on every available channel. According to some of those ads, everything was peachy, then “something happened”, and from now, we’ll be better.
Let’s examine 3 of those commercials, what they claim, and what you should do to award those companies for their nopology.
The crime: Facebook, the largest social network on the planet, sold your personal information to malicious companies, such as Cambridge Analytica, and as found out recently Samsung, Apple and Huawei. Other than giving your data free of charge to Chinese companies (who, according to the FBI and CIA, work with the Chinese government), they also actively encouraged people to post fake news, including items that directly impacted the last election cycle in the US, the UK Brexit referendum, and who knows what else. That’s on top of the many occasions of selling your data to “regular” advertisers, or just plainly spying on you through your phone.
The nopology: watch this douchy Facebook ad. The nopology occurs on the 30th second, if you can’t stomach the bullshit up to that point.
Yes, as you can plainly see, all was peaches and cream: you met all your friends, you got to know your uncle, etc. But then “something” happened and “we” had to deal with spam, click bait, fake news and abuse. No mention of the fact that all those things happened by design, dictated by Facebook’s algorithms, designed to keep you on the site, engaged and enraged. No mention of the fact that the “spam” is orchestrated by Facebook itself — that is after all their business model. It just “happened”. But now that they got “caught” (and I air quoute that — they still haven’t been charged with anything, or paid any fine), they’ll be better, and it’ll all go back to creepy sharing like before.
How will it be better? Will they stop selling your data? Will they prevent political ads on their platform? Nah. They will just “be better”. Trust them. It’s not like they’ll keep lying.
The punishment: if you haven’t already done so, delete your Facebook profile. Yes, it’s hard, yes your “friends” are there (let’s admit it, if your “friends” are only reachable through Facebook, they’re not real friends), yes, you have to post a picture of your omelette, child, dog, whatever, to get validation. Get over it. You are being used and abused by a cold-hearted money machine. And you’ve noticed I’ve used “your data” above — I deleted my profile 2 years ago.
2. Wells Fargo
The crime: for years, thousands of employees in one of the biggest banks in the US, opened millions of bogus accounts, just so they could hit internal sales’ goals. People were actually charged for fees in accounts they didn’t know they had. They’ve used faked names and emails, and cost people a lot of time, money and grief. Yes, many of them were fired, but the top executives are still there. Including some of the douches who promoted these internal sales schemes.
The nopology: here’s Wells Fargo’s attempt at an apology ad:
The first 20 seconds tell you about all the trust they had. Around the 20th second they just state “we lost it”. You see, they didn’t cheat, steal, mismanage your money — they just “lost your trust”. It might even be your fault! And after that, of course, all will be nice and good, and you’ll go back to trusting your money to a bunch of thieves, right? Wrong. They continue to misbehave, and only stop when they get caught. Why even bother with this ad?
The punishment: close any account you have with Wells Fargo. It took me 5 minutes to close mine. The branch manager didn’t even ask me why I wanted them closed. I guess I was not the only one asking for that service. While you’re on it, they weren’t the only ones: Bank of America, SunTrust and PNC, among others, may have opened tons of fake accounts as well. If you have accounts with any of them, it’s time to consider a Credit Union — they provide the same services as a bank, have no fees, and are usually not-for-profit, so are less incentivized to lie and cheat.
The crime: oh, where to start? Other than building a system to deceive authorities, tracking riders after they left the ride, spying on journalists, stiffing their drivers, and orchestrating operations to harm its competitors, they are also a docuhy, misogynistic company.
The nopology: Uber is getting better now: they’ve replaced “bad boy” CEO Travis Kalanick with ex-Expedia Dara Khosrowshahi, and all is well with the world, as their ad claims:
No acknowledgment of specific wrong doing. But guess what, Dara promises to be personally accountable for every fuck up from now on. So please, feel free to contact him when (not if) the next one occurs.
The punishment: delete Uber. There are other ride sharing apps out there. And while Lyft, their biggest competitor, is still not 100% squeaky clean, at least they are not as creepy as Uber.
Finally, we get to the den of idiots known as Equifax, the company that collects all our most private information, all the details that can assist in stealing our identity, and then lets hackers have the way with the data.
Unlike the other companies mentioned above, Equifax didn’t bother putting out an ad. Or apologizing. Or caring. Why? Because you’re their customer for life, whether you want it or not. There’s no opt out of Equifax. They even charge you money to freeze/unfreeze access to your credit report that contains your information, that they collected without your permission.
Needless to say, no one at Equifax’s management suffered as a result of this breach, nor will anyone suffer at the next breach. The only way to be done with this gang of incompetents (and the other credit agencies are not one iota better) is through legislation, and change to our current credit law.
In the meantime, here’s a list of things you can do to protect yourself from the fallout.
As you can see, nopology is an art, practiced by many companies. Until someone steps up, takes responsibility, admits to his wrong doings, and actually change their way, we should all keep our eye on them, and sift through their bullshit.