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
Originally posted on Fletcher Admissions Blog
Great news for our students: Fletcher’s team in the CFA Institute Research Challenge emerged as champions in last night’s Boston-region competition! Presenting their research on the company Boston Scientific, the Fletcher team topped competitors Babson College, Brandeis University, and Hult International in the final round.
The winning team consisted of JP Craven (first-year MIB), Doris Hernandez (second-year MALD), Ashray Dixit (second-year MIB), and our own Admissions Bloggers Mariya and Adi! Professor Patrick Schena was advisor to the team and Office of Career Services Director Elana Givens added her input and attended the competition, as did Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti.
The next round of the challenge will be the North and South Americas regional competition (coincidentally) in Boston on March, with about 50 teams competing. The winner of the regional competition will go to the global competition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in April.
Congratulations to Professor Schena and the successful team!
raceAhead: Unilever Threatens to Pull Ads from Facebook
by Ellen McGirt
How Facebook and others will respond will be instructive. Bhaskar Chakravorti, Senior Associate Dean, International Business & Finance, Tufts University, and digital trust expert says the issue is basic business.
“Our research finds that companies working toward corporate social responsibility will only succeed if their efforts align with their core business models,” he says. An advertising model, which is how Facebook makes most of its revenue, encourages quantity, including harmful or untrustworthy content, over material that’s been vetted and verified. And when it turns out that bogus stories, hate speech, and screaming memes are more engaging, judgments get even cloudier.
Read the full article featuring quotes from Dean Chakravorit in Fortune
by Venkat Prasath Perumal (MALD 2018)
The number of people using the internet around the world is increasing at a rapid pace. With that, there has been steep expansion in global e-commerce. According to Euromonitor, in the US (the world’s biggest consumer market by sales volume), e-commerce accounts for 10% of all retail sales. Further, Euromonitor predicts that share will increase to 16.6% in 2021. All this growth brings immense business opportunities for companies like Amazon and Alibaba. At the same time, the number of people using social platforms on the web is also on the rise. As of 2017, Facebook had 2 billion global monthly users, followed by YouTube’s 1.5 billion, WeChat’s 889 million, and Twitter’s 328 million. Many of these internet companies generate revenue using targeted, personalized ads.
Mark Patel, McKinsey Digital, San Francisco shared his insights on digital trust
The growth of any platform-based business depends fundamentally on digital trust — the trust that the platforms create between sellers and customers which leads customers to buy seller’s products and services. For example: if Amazon’s product listings — the goods sold directly by Amazon and its partner merchants — couldn’t be verified as authentic products, customers wouldn’t buy them and might switch to a competitor. Similarly, a fraudulent phishing attack using customer’s stolen credit card is common in platforms. When this happens, the seller would suffer because, in addition to loss of merchandise, he would have to bear the costs of preparing and shipping the merchandise.
America’s Digital Infrastructure Is Crumbling, Too
But in the 21st century, infrastructure is more than concrete and metal. Equally important is the digital infrastructure that underlies America’s economy and governments. In an era when goods, services and ideas are increasingly transported via the internet, the strands of fiber, routers, servers and seemingly endless lines of code that compose our digital highways and hubs are quickly becoming the backbone of U.S. infrastructure — and it too is crumbling.
Read the full op-ed from Fletcher School Dean James Stavridis
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