The Countries that Trust Facebook the Most are also the Most Vulnerable to its Mistakes
Whatever solutions the good folks at Facebook devise – or have thrust upon them by regulators and lawmakers – must work not just for the more recently outraged American or the already skeptical European user. The solutions must work for the world from where Facebook picked up its second billion users, and is looking to pick up its third.
Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in The Conversation
How Facebook Can Really Fix Itself
Company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to win back users’ trust. But his company’s efforts so far have ignored the root causes of the problems they intend to fix, and even risk making matters worse. Specifically, they ignore the fact that personal interaction isn’t always meaningful or benign, leave out the needs of users in the developing world, and seem to compete with the company’s own business model.
Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Quartz
by Bhaskar Chakravorti, Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi, and Ajay Bhalla
Read the full piece in the Harvard Business Review
The year 2018 is barely underway and, already, digital trust initiatives have captured headlines. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has said his platform will de-prioritize third-party publisher content to keep users focused on more “meaningful” posts from family and friends. Google has led off the new year by blocking websites that mask their country of origin from showing up on Google News. And the European Union’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will affect every organization around the world that handles personal data for EU residents. The regulations will also, no doubt, inform data protection laws and corporate trust-building strategies elsewhere.
Even China’s opaque behemoths have started the year with unprecedented acknowledgements of the need to address trust concerns: Tencent had to publicly deny that it collects user WeChat history after it was openly challenged; Alibaba’s Ant Financial apologized to users of its mobile-payment service for automatically enrolling them in its social-credit scoring service.
What these stories underscore is that our digital evolution and our productive use of new technologies rests on how well we can build digital trust. But is it possible to measure digital trust and compare it across countries? Are there countries where guaranteeing trust is a more urgent priority and will draw a larger share of trust-building resources and regulations? The Fletcher School at Tufts University and Mastercard have a launched a research initiative to address these questions by studying the state of digital trust across 42 countries. Here are some of our initial findings, drawn from the study, “Digital Planet 2017: How Competitiveness and Trust in Digital Economies Vary Across the World.”
Read the full piece in the Harvard Business Review
How Facebook could really fix itself
[Facebook] founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to win back users’ trust. But his company’s efforts so far have ignored the root causes of the problems they intend to fix, and even risk making matters worse. Specifically, they ignore the fact that personal interaction isn’t always meaningful or benign, leave out the needs of users in the developing world, and seem to compete with the company’s own business model.
Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in the Chicago Tribune
Three un-Davos men
None of these men are ideologues in the classic sense. They are the latest incarnations of Huntington’s culture warriors — they are masters of the culture of contradictions. Xi has revived his own form of Maoism, with unchallenged state control, now sauced up with dollops of market- and technology-infused pragmatism. Modi, for his part, embraces Hindutva and foreign leaders with equal vigour and is equally facile at following ancient texts and his WhatsApp feed to check on who has responded to his daily greetings. As for Trump, he is consistent only in playing to the base that brought him to power and to his own base instincts. He can also talk up America like a luxury condo he has developed for the exclusive use of global investors even as he sends strong signals that the condo is not open to the riff-raff, especially from certain continents or certain religions. These are the unDavos Men, who are consistent in their adherence to contradiction.
Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express
The Aadhaar Opportunity
In an age rife with digital innovation, India has made two meaningful contributions: The number “zero” and Aadhaar. Okay, I cheated a little bit with the first one, given its pre-digital age origins, but let’s not allow petty details to get in the way. Aadhaar is a monumental IT project and a monumental vision for inclusion. Aadhaar, as a concept, lays the very foundation of trust in the digital age. And it does so regardless of caste, Facebook status or creed, across a billion people. Unfortunately, this also means that Aadhaar is a treasure trove of personal data on a billion people; therein lurks a parallel potential for widespread mischief. A journalist writing for The Tribune suggests that, indeed, such mischief can be pulled off rather easily.
Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express
Trust in digital technology will be the internet’s next frontier, for 2018 and beyond
After decades of unbridled enthusiasm – bordering on addiction – about all things digital, the public may be losing trust in technology. Online information isn’t reliable, whether it appears in the form of news, search results or user reviews. Social media, in particular, is vulnerable to manipulation by hackers or foreign powers. Personal data isn’t necessarily private. And people are increasingly worried about automation and artificial intelligence taking humans’ jobs.
Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in the San Francisco Chronicle
There’s a Gender Gap in Internet Usage. Closing It Would Open Up Opportunities for Everyone
We have all heard about a gap when it comes to participation of women in the tech industry. Facebook, Google, and Apple have 17%, 19% and 23% women in their technology staffs, respectively. Multiple surveys, such as the “The Elephant in the Valley,” have documented systematic discrimination against women. And there’s a continuous barrage of news stories regarding the challenges that women face across a raft of iconic Silicon Valley firms. No more than a quarter of U.S. computing and mathematical jobs are held by women, consistent with the data that around 26% of the STEM workforce in developed countries is female. In developing countries, those differences are even greater.
But the gender gap problem doesn’t stop there. There’s also a shortage of women using some of the industry’s products. The International Telecommunications Union reports that the proportion of women using the internet is 12% lower than the proportion of men; this gender gap widens to 32.9% in the least developed countries. And even when a woman gets on a phone or is online, she might face additional hostility. A World Wide Web Foundation report says “women around the world report being bombarded by a culture of misogyny online, including aggressive, often sexualized hate speech, direct threats of violence, harassment, and revenge porn involving use of personal/private information for defamation.”
What this speaks to is an opportunity for the tech industry — both to address internal diversity issues and to address how companies think about the products they create around the world.
Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review
Memo to the World Bank: India should be rated even higher in the ease of doing business rankings the next time
Pop the champagne and pass the mithai — for it is, indeed, the epoch of belief, the season of light in the world’s largest democracy. After languishing in the World Bank’s league tables, India is, finally, getting its due: It has been admitted to the top 100 nation club for Ease of Doing Business. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one giant step closer to fulfilling every Indian’s dream.
It is now time to plot the next big move — to break into the top 80 nations club. With all the hard work already behind us, this next step should be a piece of cake. Here is how.
Read the full piece in The Indian Express