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Facebook, Twitter, Google and where Silicon Valley's money comes from

Levi Sumagaysay, The Mercury News on

Published in Science & Technology News

We're coming to find out that "anything you use that's financially free might have another cost to it," said Ann Skeet, director of Leadership Ethics with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, in a phone interview with SiliconBeat Tuesday.

"Companies respond to customers and markets," Skeet added. Maybe that means "not using a site for a while until certain conditions are met."

She said many of these tech companies began with, and still have, good intentions.

As they've grown and made money from various sources and users, some of whom do not share those good intentions, "they have to decide: Is that the business they want to stay in?" Skeet said.

And amid troubling times in tech, Silicon Valley historian Leslie Berlin, who has written "Troublemakers," a book about the tech industry's rise here, said in an interview with this publication last week: "We can't lose sight of how important these companies have been for pushing economy forward, and for really enhancing people's lives. (The problems) are the flip side of how important they have become to us."

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