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Tech Firms Failing on Digital Inclusion

Less than 14% of the world’s largest technology companies are delivering on digital inclusion, data from the World Benchmarking Alliance’s (WBA) Digital Inclusion Benchmark has shown. The benchmark assessed 200 firms on whether they are enabling greater access to digital technologies, improving digital skills, reducing usage risks, and ensuring inclusive and ethical innovation. The results found that just 27 of the 200 companies surveyed scored at least 50% on these key criteria. The WBA said that since the inception of the Digital Inclusion Benchmark three years ago, there were “clear signs” that using benchmarking and stakeholder influence to hold tech firms to account is “helping to drive progress”. However, the WBA says that “worrying gaps in company action and accountability remain”, with those in developing countries, individuals on low incomes, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, and rural communities at risk of missing out on digital access. “The digital divide is a huge problem, and we need tech companies around the world to step up to address it,” the WBA said in a statement. “Tech companies have the potential to make a profound positive difference [but] with the pace of change across the sector currently too slow, policymakers and investors must help to raise the bar.” 

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