Trust in the age of anticipation

We’re in the midst of a pandemic of plummeting trust of government, of our employers, of our neighbors, of social media, of businesses that handle our financial data.

Facebook, to take an example ripped from the headlines, has suffered a loss of public trust recently due to ongoing media coverage of the Cambridge Analytica incident involving the misuse of private data of up to 87 million Facebook users. If data is the oil of the internet economy, as the spills proliferate, the revelation of social and search media’s damaging impact on free democratic elections in the U.S. and possibly the EU could be the Exxon Valdez that finally prompts more privacy protection policy, regulation and corporate activism.

By every means possible, we need to up our game in the restoration of trust in institutions, brands and each other, which requires recognition that one of our most vital social and economic lubricants is drying up. With trust imploding everywhere, innovation stalls, civic participation falls, violence and political partisanship increase, brand loyalty weakens, consumer confidence is shaken, and countless other social ills befall a public demoralized and disoriented by their inability to parse what can be trusted from what cannot.

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