By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech
A small group of anonymous activists, artists and tech industry workers launched an app Dec. 3 designed to block internet users from purchasing from Amazon or its affiliates. The code for the Chrome extension is available on Github.
“It could be structured to be a good company,” said a group member and Queens resident who wishes to only be identified as Woody of Amazon. “But it’s not.”
Woody coded the app, “Block Amazon For Me,” to work like an ad-blocker, a type of software designed to prevent advertisements from appearing on a website.
After installing the app onto their web browser, every time a user attempt to visit Amazon’s website or the website of a company owned by Amazon, a pop-up message will appear.
If a user wishes to ignore the pop up and enter the site they must first uninstall the browser extension.
“This is meant to put people in an imaginative space,” said Woody. “What would the world be like without Amazon?”
Since Amazon announced that one of the location for its HQ2 would be in Long Island City, politicians, local residents and activists have protested its impending arrival in 2019.
Many Queens residents and politicians believe that Amazon will ultimately prove to have a positive impact on the borough and the city at large by bringing jobs and stimulating the economy.
But others view the company as an unethical behemoth bent on displacing local residents.
The apps website includes a section listing possible reasons to boycott Amazon. Environmental impact, workers rights and supporting local business as are listed as reasons to not purchase from the home-delivery giant.
In addition, the four creators of the site thought the app would benefit internet consumer culture as a whole by educating internet users what other company’s make money off of Amazon.
“So if The New York Times and Wirecutter tries to send us to Amazon to make money on that affiliate, this pushes back on that,” said Woody. “We are not without agency.”