Tech leaders fear consumer trust is waning in the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal but being a force for good could turn that around
The social media storm swirling around Mark Zuckerberg’s business resulted in the Facebook boss testifying at Congress where he was grilled by senators on topics such as regulation, competition and responsibility. The high-profile and surprising affair has ricochetted globally and UK tech leaders are now concerned it will be detrimental to the sector overall.
Tech London Advocates, the network for tech professionals in the UK capital, has surveyed more than 250 members about the current state of the market and 51% feel consumer trust in the sector is at a record low.
The organisation proposed steps to iron out issues and preserve the industry as part of its 2023: Future of London Tech report. Philanthropy and giving make up a key component among the recommendations, with companies advised to commit 1% of profits to social schemes and local communities to sustain and support the sector.
However, it would seem tech leaders feel they’re already having a positive social impact on London, with job creation and economic contribution the top two ways they believe they’re doing good at 35% and 30% respectively.
One target proposed by Tech London Advocates as part of the report includes producing a secretary of state for digital, which builds on the network’s previous campaign that saw Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, appoint a chief digital officer. Moreover, businesses have been challenged with attracting $6bn of investment annually and 33% gender diversity.
Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, said: “There is a clear disparity between the positive potential of technology and public perceptions in the industry. I want to galvanise the private sector in London tech and beyond to celebrate the positive impact tech companies have on the city’s people, society and economy.”
In the five years since Tech London Advocates launched, the industry has changed a great deal. And in the midst of uncertainty and distrust among business and consumers, it’s inspiring to see the outfit and Shaw pushing for even further change – albeit for the better.