Being more transparent, giving users more control can help build trust in tech: Facebook

PTI, Feb 20, 2021, 10:02 AM IST

New Delhi: Companies being more transparent about their frameworks and giving users more control over their interactions with technology will help enhance trust between people and enterprises as well as for the ecosystem, Facebook India Managing Director Ajit Mohan said on Friday.

Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan and Omidyar Network India Managing Director Roopa Kudva also noted large valuable businesses can be built in India by integrating features like local languages and assisted transactions, which can help accelerate the digital journey for the next half billion population that will come online over the next few years.

Speaking at a session on ‘How do we sustain trust in technology?’ at the 29th Nasscom Technology and Leadership Forum, Mohan said one doesn’t want a framework that stifles innovation.

“When we look at trust…there’s a bunch of things related to data and how you engage with the user who’s engaging with technology. Second, are you able to build associations of trust? You are making a distinction between the internet world and the real world, but the reality increasingly is that a lot of human associations are actually formed on the Internet,” he said.

He added that an important factor for building overall trust is whether the information that one sees on the platform can be trusted.

“…the private sector can do is how you essentially give users more control over their interactions, their connectedness to technology and on the Internet, as well as transparency. The more companies are transparent about what exactly they are doing, what is the framework, it enables companies to build trust and also the ecosystem to build trust,” Mohan said.

He highlighted that the government has a role to play in regulation as there are many issues “on which the tradeoffs are so complex, you don’t want an individual company or a set of companies to be making choices”.

“It is for the society at large, represented by government regulation to say, when we have a trade off between, let’s say free expression and safety, here is the framework. While companies have individual accountability…over time, we should move towards a more user control and more user transparency,” he said.

The industry representatives pointed that trust really is the backbone of the digital economy.

“When individuals trust the internet, they will participate more freely…It is also very crucial to protect this segment of the population (new users) from fraud and loss of data because such incidents can materially set them back and undo any progress that they might have made in their digital journey, and then getting them back online requires a disproportionate effort,” Kudva said.

She added that the issues related to misinformation and disinformation also need to be tackled for the people at large to build trust in the internet.

“I think it is time for businesses to look at privacy and data security as an issue going beyond compliance, but actually using it as a differentiator and competitive advantage. And as far as responsible data sharing is concerned, the onus has to shift from an over reliance on the use of informed consent by users to quality assurance by the providers,” she said.

Gopalakrishnan, who is also the Chairman of Axilor Ventures, said innovation will always be ahead of regulation, and so there is a need for technologies to be tested in sandboxes to get an understanding of the consequences and then rolling it out.

He added that an evolving regulatory framework is needed to respond swiftly and that regulatory bodies must include industry representation.

The industry veteran also pointed out that education must include digital literacy for all, including the older population and access to devices must be provided to narrow the digital divide.

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