Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and multiple hack attacks that affected millions of people’s data across companies like Yahoo and Uber, the number of calls for stricter regulations against big tech has increased. Indeed, roughly two out of five Britons would like to control the Facebooks, Apples and Googles of the world more, according to a new study by reputation management and PR agency FleishmanHillard.
Having surveyed 1,002 people in the US and the UK each, the researchers found that 54% of Brits think the American corporates face enough regulations whilst 39% believe they need to be regulated more. Interestingly, they seemingly thought the yanks should follow in domestic tech companies’ footsteps as 60% of Britons believe UK technology businesses are regulated about the right amount. Only 32% wanted them to be regulated more.
But while some argued for American tech firms’ power to be reined in, the report also showed that 82% of US and 79% of UK consumers still trust them. Although, the trust in tech wasn’t spread evenly across generations. In the UK 38% of older generations didn’t trust big tech whilst the corresponding number was 13% among millennials. However, this relationship was flipped when the researchers ventured across the pond with 26% of Generation Z and 22% of millennials not trusting technology companies in America.
The report also noted that, even though most people seemed to trust tech titans, 70% of Americans and Britons would view them even more favourably it they were seen to take action when their policies had unwanted consequences. A similar sentiment was shared by the experts Elite Business spoke to recently about how YouTube should’ve dealt with the backlash from not banning a vlogger who allegedly spewed hate speech and homophobia through his videos.
Commenting on the survey, FleishmanHillard’s president and CEO John Saunders noted that this highlights a trend towards tech becoming more transparent. “Consumers are becoming more aware of data collection and how that information is being shared,” he said. “[Tech] companies are trying to address any impact they’ve had through greater collaboration and transparency [whilst] businesses are navigating through the impacts of artificial intelligence. [Moreover,] governments are considering new ways of managing the sector through legislation and regulation.”
He added: “As companies navigate the increasingly complex environment, the best approach is to commit to being transparent and to work collaboratively with government, regulators and academia. At the end of the day, it comes down to always doing the right thing and ensuring you’re operating with the highest ethical standards and in the best interest of your stakeholders.”
With Mark Zuckerberg having faced ridicule for saying people are too negative about Facebook’s privacy issues and with initiatives like the Theranos whistleblowers launching an initiative to bring morals into the tech echo system, this report seemingly shows that tech companies may want to brush off Google’s old “Don’t be evil” motto, be more transparent and open to change when things go wrong.