The news is filled with stories about how you can’t trust anything online. Frauds, scammers, malicious trolls, conspiracy cranks, and “fake news” infest the digital world. Tech companies are blamed for not filtering the good from the bad, while advertisers rethink digital platforms as trustworthy partners. But in reality, says Stanford communications Professor Jeff Hancock, by blurring the line between our public and private lives and allowing us to interact on a daily basis with total strangers, the internet is radically transforming how we trust one another. Companies and individuals alike need to understand the new psychology of social media, steering it away from the blind trust of unreliable sources and toward optimizing their brands, lives, and relationships for meaningful trust.

People have to understand how to identify trustworthy partners – from new customers to first dates to choosing elected officials – in order to secure the well-being and continued growth of our companies, relationships and democracies.Click To Tweet

Hancock – social media psychologist and founder of Stanford’s Social Media Lab – proposed in his TED Talk, “The Future of Lying,” that the ability to tell fact from fiction has a clear advantage in the digital age due to the ever-increasing digital footprints left by people on the internet. In that eye-opening talk, viewed by over a million people, Hancock argued that these footprints can be analyzed to decipher patterns that convey honesty or deception and which communication patterns are trustworthy. Hancock’s insights on spotting deceits in the digital world are of immense value to journalists seeking out lying politicians, companies sifting out fraudulent job applicants, and ordinary people who want to avoid being swindled or misled online.

Fundamentally, says Professor Hancock, people have to understand how to identify trustworthy partners – from new customers to first dates to choosing elected officials – in order to secure the well-being and continued growth of our companies, relationships and democracies.

Ultimately, every brand in every industry has a stake in understanding the new psychology surrounding online interactions. Through his speaking, workshops and consulting, Professor Hancock helps companies navigate fact from fiction as we are ushered into this brave new world.

Jeff Hancock is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, conference talks and advisory/consulting services through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.