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Can big tech fix its trust problem

The vast majority of people agree: Tech companies are too big.

CGO/YouGov Tech Poll Tech companies are too big

Across all demographics, we’re looking at amazingly high numbers of people who are (legitimately) concerned about this.

But what should we do?


So if most people agree that many technology companies are too big, should it be up to the government to 'break them up'?

should the government break up big teck

While a majority agree there's a problem, a majority either don't know how to fix it or that its not something that the government should do.

Most people over 45 years of age support government actions to break up the tech monopolies. I find this interesting. Perhaps due to a greater familiarity or comfort with this concept given historical efforts to break up and/or regulate monopolies.


The gap between people who think the big tech monopolies are too big compared to those who are ready to send in the Marines to break them up is fairly significant.

But why?

Well the below chart may reveal the answer. It asks whether or not the implications of breaking up 'big tech' will make them better or worse off.

Will breaking up big tech be an improvement?

Compared to the above charts, these results reveal significant increase in the ‘’don’t know” category.

A clear benefit of breaking up big tech may not be as powerful as the current benefits - so many people see a risk. The impact of a break up of Google or Facebook is a huge unknown that carries it with it substantial concerns, and it likely explains why a person can believe that 'big tech is too big' while also believing that they concerned about what happens if the government were to break them up.

I understand this. As a digital marketer, having all of these platforms sharing data together so I can listen in on private conversations and then manipulate them to purchase products they don’t need is something I am concerned about if big tech gets broken up.

There are likely more concerns with a government driven solution, paramount is a concern that people don't really trust the federal government either!


Can society can be considered healthy with so many of the important institutions that we all depend or rely on now demonstrating a significant trust deficit?

We can all hope so!

But in the meantime, here are a few suggestions:

FOLLOW YOUR PRINCIPLES: Many of our institutions either adopted or started with high-minded principles - ideas such as 'free speech', 'fairness', and a pluralistic sense of empathy for others. Many of them have strayed from these ideas, resulting in a loss of trust. Institutions should adopt new principles that reflect their new priorities to address the hypocrisy of claiming a virtue or practice that is no longer followed.

VALUE YOUR STAKEHOLDERS AND CUSTOMERS: This is self explanatory, but it's a symptom of a lack of connection that large organizations can adopt if they are entrenched within their own sphere of confirmation bias and beliefs. A focus on diversity and data may help to better understand customers while allowing for different points of view and can prevent the unintended alienation of existing customers.

FACT BASED LEADERSHIP: We need leaders in both the public and private sphere to use data (as opposed to opinion) to articulate solutions to addressing the trust deficit, while also acknowledging and identifying the reasons that monopolies were able to form.

TRANSPARENCY: Mistrust is generated when decisions are made in a secretive or opaque manner - particularly decisions made by government, but just as likely when made by large companies. As with the clarity accomplished when new priorities are adopted, decisions (as well as feedback and criticism of these actions) should be made public. Most people want to feel that their voice is heard, even if they also realize that their voice is one of many. Excluding or hiding information or actions from stakeholders is the clearest way to lose trust.


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