This Year’s Big Tech Conferences Are About Taking Responsibility

By Mark Sullivan | FastCompany

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg opening his keynote at the F8 developer conference on May 1: “It’s not enough to build powerful tools. We have to make sure they’re used for good.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella during his keynote at the company’s Build developer conference Monday: “Privacy is a human right.” And: “These advancements create incredible developer opportunity and also come with a responsibility to ensure the technology we build is trusted and benefits all.”

Judging by what’s being said at the tech company developer conferences so far this year, Big Tech is feeling the need to reassure both developers and consumers that it’s a force for good–not just profit–in the world.

Many in the general public and in regulatory circles have begun to wonder, and with good reason. A recent Harris poll found that among the world’s 100 most visible companies, Apple fell from the second most-trusted company in 2016 to No. 29 in 2018. Part of the reason may be the “Batterygate” flap. Google fell from No. 3 in 2016 down to No. 29 this year. This may be related to political ads posted on YouTube by Russian agents in 2016. Facebook–which not only provided an open platform for fake news and Russian propaganda during the 2016 election, but let the personal data of 87 million users fall into the hands of a sketchy political ad targeting firm–came in at No. 51.

Read more at Fast Company.