Thursday, 18 October 2007

Do no Evil…

Whilst the web2.0 world is an exciting new paradigm, i am, thro this post, exploring a reputational risk posed to the leading brands.

I was in the web2.0 summit the other day and listened to Mark Zuckerberg (ceo- facebook) on how he saw the social graph evolving, followed by Marissa Meyer (head of search, Google) who spoke about Google's foray into health. Both are companies i really admire, and are leading the charge in an entirely new movement on behaviour on the web- whether it be termed social networking or context aware web or anything inbetween...

However, as I listened to them, i started to wonder about how they epitomised a key challenge, that many other organisations are confronted with- given the huge information that the individual inadvertently or otherwise puts up into these organisation's platforms, the enormous information power held by companies Google and Face-book poses a reputational risk to their brand in terms of how user information could be used for nefarious activities.

They have tried reassure with the "Do no evil" cache- by building a brand of trust and being seen as doing good, they seem to be successful in ensuring that the world continues to adopt their platforms. But huge lacunae remain. Particularly in platforms such as Facebook, which do not have an effective answer to how they are going to avoid their users (particularly the gullible) being targeted ?

A smaller challenge, albeit a plausible one is what is to stop an engaged employee of an organisation with a lot of information from doing more profiling than would qualify under the "do no evil" cache.

My view- this is a land mine, that will need to be tackled- and much more proactively, including things like proactive customer education, defining an industry code and enforcing it, putting together strong processes internally and externally to ensure this would not happen ,and of course, hire lawyers J!.

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