On this historic day, there is no shortage or suspicion surrounding tech platforms. Lucid chief exec Patrick Comer offers a look at public sentiment at this moment and explains why businesses and US leaders should continue to take the pulse of the population in order to inform critical future decisions.
If the traumatic and damaging political events that unfolded over the past few weeks are any indication, Big Tech is in over its head. From dealing with freedom of speech debates to facing tough decisions on if, when, and for how long to ban political figures and others who incite hate, these powerful players are navigating unprecedented times. In fact, according to our own data, 40 percent of national survey respondents say that the recent political unfoldings adversely affected their view of ‘Big Tech’ platforms.
With a new administration being sworn in today, what can marketers and advertisers expect as President Biden begins his quest to tackle Big Tech? How do the nation’s people feel about everything that’s been unfolding? And how does a research fit into this conversation? I may not have all the answers, but I have a few worth exploring.
Antitrust issues are on people’s minds
Antitrust issues will likely be of immediate importance and concern to the Biden administration. Reports show he already has his eyes set on two former Obama administration officials for the top antitrust job in the U.S. Department of Justice. While his potential picks will undoubtedly be met with criticism from Big Tech leaders and others, the urgency of appointing such officials will likely not go unnoticed by the American public.
Recent Lucid survey data shows that an overwhelming 70 percent of national respondents cited that they worry that the Big Tech platforms, operating under their current guidelines, encourage the dissemination of disinformation. Despite mistrust, there is hope for reform. Other survey results point to the following sentiments: 69 percent believe Big Tech platforms are inherently good; 55 percent trust Big Tech companies; and 70 percent stand with President Biden in agreement that online platforms should not be allowed immunity for content posted by users.
President Biden needs to benchmark
It is my inherent belief that every business professional must be directly dialed into changing sentiments of the general public; truthfully, they can’t afford to ignore it. As recent events in the US have shown, ignoring or downplaying public sentiment can have severe consequences.
In the weeks and months to come, there will likely be many studies, analyses, and deeper dives done on this topic. From this research alone, we can gather that yes, President Biden has his work cut out for him, as does any incoming administration. So, setting a benchmark to work toward is key – whether you are the President of the US, a business owner, or anyone whose success is reliant on understanding the public’s concerns. It helps you identify your goals and develop a plan that prioritizes those goals. And knowing people’s sentiments is a critical component of creating that benchmark.
Businesses need to take the pulse of their customers
For the researchers, marketers and advertisers reading this, what do we do? What about business leaders, at large? No matter where we are working, the answer remains the same. We actively listen. We continue to check the pulse of our clients and potential business prospects; we make sure we appropriately understand their viewpoints on Big Tech, and we adjust our plans accordingly.
There are a lot of unknowns, and there will remain to be a lot of unknowns, as we embark on this next political chapter. One thing we know for certain? If we’re open to understanding changing viewpoints and sentiments, we’ll get through it together.
By Patrick Comer, founder and chief executive, Lucid