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Anyone who’s been on social networking site Facebook recently would have caught snippets of Mark Zuckerberg’s awkward congress hearing on Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica debacle.

More than 50 million users’ Facebook information was shared with Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm without their consent. Facebook has apologized for the “breach of trust”.

Users around the world have good reason to stay vigilant and make sure their information isn’t being used to influence election results. The net neutrality fight is ongoing, as more users realize the importance of the internet as a global public resource: preferably open and accessible to all.

Prioritizing privacy issues

Using the internet to empower individuals isn’t new, but tech companies are businesses at heart. Building a robust developer ecosystem, having ad revenue and respecting user data are all concerns that need to be balanced.

With data sharing more prevalent, Mozilla wants to start a dialogue – and is also distributing a toolkit for developers and companies – on lean data practices.

With users’ privacy interests at its core, this best practices guide has a few golden rules to increase trust:

  1. Don’t collect data that does not add value
  2. Protect the data collected
  3. Make data collection practices clear to users

There’s value-add for businesses too: every unnecessary iota of user information stored increases operating costs and regulatory risk. Space in the cloud isn’t free.

Growth through strategic acquisitions

The desire to build user trust has led Mozilla to think about how to partner and acquire the right companies with its limited warchest.

Mozilla’s acquisition of webpage bookmark app Pocket was a result of a process led by trust-building. Many may know Pocket as the app that helps users save content to peruse offline, usually on mobile. Mozilla wanted to help users find new and relevant content easily and independently of platforms, social bubbles, or devices. The aligned mission for a free and open internet helped facilitate trust between the two firms.

More expansion efforts were led by Susan Chen, vice president of corporate and business development in Mozilla. Winning the trust of both users and strategic businesses were central to the company’s growth. As a smaller corporate back in the day, they had to learn how to negotiate with much larger players. Mozilla’s advice to businesses is to play by your strengths – be it through your product, or the value that this deal could bring to the partnership.

Sustaining growth without losing user trust

Monetization models should not be solely reliant on collecting and mining consumer data. But it doesn’t mean businesses should not collect and use user data either. Done right, it benefits users and businesses – think recommendation algorithms that predicts what users want, pointing them to needed content and services.

To protect users’ trust, companies need to give users more visibility over their privacy controls. For instance, Facebook’s data-sharing scandal meant that users demanded more visibility over data privacy settings. A user-friendly walkthrough feature was created for users who wished to update their privacy preferences, such as removing third-party apps with access to their data. New controls placed in a single portal will be rolled out over time.

Users ought to have the power to see the content they want on the internet by toggling clear privacy controls. Nobody wants to see a weight loss ad for the nth time. Browsing histories can be used as evidence for crimes (not that we disapprove).

And in extreme cases, users’ internet footprints could prove to be a life-and-death matter, especially for activists or journalists.

Mozilla has high standards when it comes to protecting user privacy control. In addition, consumers can learn how to avoid companies tracking their digital footprints, stay cyber-vigilant, and even reduce government surveillance while browsing the internet.

Data-sharing has proven to be dangerously convenient. With user sentiments swayed with hashtags, it’s time companies begin to think about how to earn back users’ trust in concrete steps before users log out forever.

What’s next for Mozilla?

On May 16, hear from Susan Chen, VP of Corporate and Business Development, Mozilla as she takes center stage at Tech in Asia Singapore 2018. Be among the first to hear her session titled “Growth and Sustainability in an Era of Giants”, which will unveil more about Mozilla’s journey and insights into the future trends in the tech industry.

Only four more days to get your tickets, see you there!

Get tickets now

This post Catch Mozilla at TIA Singapore 2018 as they share how to build trust with users in a world of data sharing appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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