Democracy by the Numbers: How Personal Freedoms are Perceived in the Digital Age

A number of recent media reports, including in The Economist and Financial Times, have raised the subject of the declining state of our democracy. Some have likened recent actions by so-called “established democracies” as resembling those of autocratic states – such as the recent banning of social media in Turkey and the US government’s blanket on-line surveillance of citizens worldwide. How have all these news reports affected people’s sense of freedom and democracy in this post-Snowden age? Is there a … “Democracy by the Numbers: How Personal Freedoms are Perceived in the Digital Age”

Internet access firmly established as “fundamental right” in developing world

Earlier this month, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) predicted that on current trends 39 percent of the world would be connected to the Internet by the end of the 2013. Penetration in developing countries is expected to reach 31 percent by the end of 2013. And, in a sign of the growing centrality of the Internet to modern life, our global tracking reveals that majorities in most countries consider Internet access to be a fundamental right. When we polled the … “Internet access firmly established as “fundamental right” in developing world”

Despite privacy controversies, IT industry’s reputation is on solid ground

At the end of last week, Twitter announced that 250,000 of its users had had their passwords stolen in a cyber attack on the company. Though just a fraction of the social media site’s 200 million users, the episode illustrates how the social media boom has increased the potential for personal details to fall into the wrong hands. Such controversies may explain why respect for the IT industry is falling. Though still the most highly regarded industry among those GlobeScan … “Despite privacy controversies, IT industry’s reputation is on solid ground”

Chinese consumers use social media to learn about CSR

In the past few years the internet has become a widely used tool for Chinese people to access information that would otherwise not be available, such as critical information about the government, but also for consumers to learn about the social and environmental responsibility of companies. In response to the banning of global social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, Chinese internet users have instead developed their own widely used platforms for social networking and microblogging. China now boasts more than double the internet users of the USA, and more than 300 million Chinese consumers use social media according to a recent survey by McKinsey.

Chinese consumers use their newfound access to information to find information about the behaviour of companies; recent findings from GlobeScan’s 2012 Radar research programme shows that Chinese consumers are much more likely than consumers in other key markets to use social media to discover how responsibly companies are behaving on social, as well as environmental, issues. Compared to British or American consumers, the Chinese are twice as likely to claim they use social media to learn about CSR.

In 2011, several corporate scandals in China were uncovered and spread through social media, such as food safety problems of China’s largest meat processor Shuanghui, tainted Mengniu milk products, and a cover-up by authorities of the oil spill in the gulf of Bohai by the American company ConocoPhillips. As more scandals emerge, Chinese consumers are becoming more alert to corporate misbehaviour and increasingly eager to spread the word online.


Finding from the GlobeScan Radar, Wave 1, 2012 

For more information on this finding, please contact Sam Mountford (Read Bio)

Precipitous decline in optimism that technology can address climate change

As the Durban UN summit struggles to reach an agreement that will keep climate change within acceptable limits over the next decades, GlobeScan tracking reveals that the public in much of the world is losing faith that there will be a technological solution to the problems posed by a changing climate.

The optimism that developing nations, in particular, felt that the same technological innovation that was helping to drive strong economic growth in their countries would also solve climate change with minimal changes to human behavior, appears to have waned significantly, with major falls in confidence in countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya, and Pakistan.

These falls are mirrored in developed economies such as the UK, USA, and Spain, which were already more pessimistic that painful lifestyle adjustments could be averted in tackling climate change. If well-founded, this pessimism only underlines how critical it is that governments achieve a strong emissions-reduction agreement in Durban.


Finding from the GlobeScan Radar, Wave 2, 2011

For more information on this finding, please contact Sam Mountford (Read Bio)

Social Media Users “More Active” As Ethical Consumers: Global Poll

20 July 2011 – Regular users of Facebook, Twitter and other online social media expect higher levels of corporate responsibility from companies, and are more likely to act on their values as ethical consumers, according to a new GlobeScan 28-nation poll released today. The poll of 28,889 people reveals that when compared to non-users of social media, regular users hold companies to a higher ethical standard, particularly when it comes to their environmental responsibility, and are also more likely to act … “Social Media Users “More Active” As Ethical Consumers: Global Poll”

Sharp fall in perceived responsibility of IT sector in China

Labour standards scandals such as those at Apple supplier Foxconn are having an impact on Chinese consumers’ perceptions of the CSR performance of technology companies, the latest GlobeScan tracking suggests.

At the start of the last decade, the technology sector was positively rated for its CSR by Chinese consumers, with a net score of +54, indicating that most tended to view the industry as “one of the best” in fulfilling its responsibilities to society.

This year, however, there has been a further sharp fall in Chinese ratings of the IT sector’s responsibility, and it now lies at +23.

This rating remains substantially better than many other sectors, particularly those like the oil industry with major environmental impacts to contend with, but also of the food and finance sectors.

But this decline – mirrored in other major economies – shows that leading technology companies cannot afford to be complacent as they develop their operations in China and need to show that their reputation for innovations does not become tarnished by sweat-shop workplace ethics.


Finding from the GlobeScan Radar, Wave 2, 2011

For more information on this finding, please contact Sam Mountford (Read Bio)