Individuals Must Protect Themselves as Tech Companies Still Use 'Training Wheels': Author

February 12, 2019
Updated 1mo ago

By Chloe Aiello

As technology and social media exacerbate the spread of misinformation, much of the burden is on individuals to keep themselves informed, said Shiv Singh, author of "Savvy: Navigating Fake Companies, Fake Leaders and Fake News in the Post-Trust Era."

"What is most important is for us to take control of the moment and for us to steel ourselves and train ourselves to determine what's fact and what's fiction. We can't just blame others for it anymore," said Singh, who spent years in leadership roles at both PepsiCo ($PEP) and Visa ($V).

Despite the timeliness of the book's title, Singh insists his use of the term is less a nod to Trump than a reference to broader dissemination of misinformation online and in corporate messaging.

"It's really important to consider that within companies every day, leaders are sharing information with their employees," Singh said. "What does happen in some cases ー a great example is Theranos in Silicon Valley, or Uber a year or two years ago ー is the information is used to mislead and deceive."

That's where individuals come in. Singh said it is imperative in today's world for people, whether they are employees at tech firms, social media users, or consumers of news to train themselves to spot truth ー especially at a time when it seems as though everyone is out to deceive.

But when does corporate responsibility enter the picture?

Singh, who identified himself as "bullish on Facebook," defended technology companies like Facebook ($FB) and Google ($GOOGL). He said they still have "training wheels on," as they learn how to handle user data. But he didn't let them completely off the hook.

"I think they've done a fabulous job educating marketers on the power of the platform," he said. "They need to educate us as well, and we need to step up in it."

For full interview click here.