Behavioral Trends: Distrust Culture


Distrust Culture


We don’t trust banks, politicians, social media, neighbors, brands and advertising in general. We have a skeptical attitude towards everything. We are looking for honesty, integrity, transparency… the authentic.




The Internet is filled with unfounded claims, urban myths, rumors, articles and opinions. These pieces of often misleading and inaccurate information are difficult to verify, especially when they’re relatively recent or cause a volatile reaction in the public. Spanish-language VerifiKado helps with that: it is a fact-checking and verification platform that quantifies and assigns a percentage of “truth” to each piece of information it analyzes, after a series of internal processes. They consider ”truthful content” as that which can be accepted in a court of law in the United States of America. Their scale has three levels: False (0-35%), Undetermined (36-74%) and True (75-100%). VerifiKado can be a trustworthy ally in navigating false information, especially with lesser-regulated Spanish language content, in this age of generalized distrust and fake news.

Distrust Culture - VerifiKado


President Trump is proclaiming at his rallies that coronavirus is a “hoax” constructed by the Democrats. Conspiracy theorists on YouTube say it’s a false flag. Millions of tweets argue a number of conspiracy theories, including that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation cooked up the virus. Rush Limbaugh is telling his millions of listeners that media emphasis on the virus is designed to destabilize the stock markets in a threat to Trump’s presidency, and that coronavirus is “the common cold, folks.” Bots on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and elsewhere are sharing stories meant to cause more confusion and chaos. WhatsApp had spawned countless fabricated “cures” to help stop the spread of the virus, which, in many instances, could likely make it worse. Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump appointed to help stop the spread of the virus, seems more concerned with downgrading how bad this could be. He spent the weekend going on talk shows to tell Americans it’s not necessary to buy protective gear. Even Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, President of Mexico, pinpointed his oppositors as responsible for the alarm around the coronavirus, and even made jokes on National TV to keep hugging each other, ignoring the warnings from the World Health Organization.

Distrust Culture - Coronavirus and fake news

Vanity Fair (article by Nick Bilton)

World Health Organization (WHO) – On Coronavirus


Titan Security Keys are phishing-resistant two-factor authentication devices developed by Google, with the aim of adding a physical layer of protection against account interception. They must be inserted in the device to allow the user to complete their log-in. It works across several websites and services, including Google, Twitter, 1Password, Coinbase, Dropbox and Facebook. Extra-vulnerable users, like activists and executives, can request further protection by having an additional password.

Distrust Culture - Google Titan Security Key

LA BULOTECA (Spain) creates journalistic tools for detecting and avoiding “fake news” and online disinformation. They work with user-submitted material, with a community of users independently fact-checking the information and uploading the results on their website. A Google Chrome extension is also available for easier and faster verification.

Distrust Culture - La Buloteca


As part of their security-based campaign in Mexico, including tools, apps, warnings and tips for consumers to avoid fraud, Santander has launched a numberless credit card. A simple, yet elegant, clever and powerful idea from their innovation department: they removed all information printed on the card, such as name, numbers and date, to avoid scammers having access to that data when you pay at points of sale. All the credit card information can be accessed only by the user through the Santander Wallet app.

Distrust Culture - Santander Numberless Credit Card


In this hyperconnected society we prefer the honest and blunt new digital influencers rather than the old traditional media anchors. It doesn’t matter if they are telling the truth or just their opinions. We trust their intentions, at least, to be genuine and not managed by the interests and convenience of others.

distrust culture - el pulso de la república



“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The most famous quote by Albert Einstein, we all have heard it and even used it at least once, incorrectly. This is probably the most misattributed quote in history, among many others from Einstein and lots of other celebrities and famous people. In this new digital era, trust no one, double check everything, validate your sources before believing or sharing anything.

distrust culture -


When in a new city or town, you’ll probably want to get some advice about where to go, stay or eat. The problem with advertising is that, as per each business claims, they all are “the best option” to stay, eat or go. So you cannot trust them. Instead, many people have chosen to trust in anonymous reviews, evaluations and recommendations by other users. When massively grouped in platforms as TripAdvisor, you can get a real sense on what to expect on each venue.

distrust culture - tripadvisor


One of the most popular pieces of advice in Latin America is “DO NOT TAKE TAXIS ON THE STREET”, because you may get robbed or kidnapped or worse. While you still need to move around the city every day, and the current options were so insecure and disorganized, the opportunity was clear: to establish a centralized, better organized, and transparent option for your transportation. While you are still hopping onto the car of a stranger, at least you get the sensation of having an extra layer of information and security in your favor.

distrust culture - uber


The main tension of the Distrust Culture is that actually, at the end, we are social beings and need to trust each other, even when we shouldn’t. Not trusting corporations or politics has become the norm, but brands can take advantage of it and make it work in their favor, as Digicel did in El Salvador. In the middle of corruption scandals, and with other mobile companies playing dishonestly too, they launched this campaign based on values and claiming towards the end of these bad practices.

distrust culture - digicel


Click here to navigate our list of Behavioral Trends for value creation, full of insights and needstates, written from a post-demographic human-centered perspective by our partner Andrea Lobo.


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