Thoughts. News. Opinions.

News & Opinion Pieces

Who is the loudest of them all?

Nextwork’s Head of Digital & Public Affairs Lasse Perrild explains to the Danish newspaper Dagbladet Information, why the Danish Immigration and Integration Minister Inger Støjberg is dominating the political debate on Facebook.

A digital study that Nextwork and Analyse & Tal have done for Dagbladet Information, surveying more than 16 million data points, have shown that the Danish Immigration and Integration Minister Inger Støjberg is far more superior than her colleagues when it comes to Facebook reach and interaction. On an average her post will get 6,376 interactions, which is four times as many as the politician with the second most interactions, Pia Olesen Dyhr from SF, with 1,580 interactions per post.

Lasse Perrild accredits Støjberg’s success on Facebook to her sharp eye for divisive content, and her ability to disrupt people and most importantly – get them to react. “Almost all of her posts are about immigrants, which is a subject that we know divides the Danish population. She therefore gets a lot of negative comments but they are actually helping her to spread her message, because Facebook’s algorithms thereby assess it to be a meaningful debate that should be spread out to even more people,” Says Lasse Perrild in the article.

And Inger Støjberg’s massive present on Facebook is of great importance to her party Venstre. The digital study executed by Nextwork and Analyse & Tal showed, that Inger Støjberg was accountable for 25 percent of the Facebook interaction with Venstre and its politicians. Lasse Perrild points out that the political view of Venstre that the population is met with on Facebook is consequently massively dominated by Inger Støjberg’s opinions and posts. The study also shows that Støjberg has a unique ability to appeal to those who normally vote for the Danish right-wing party DFand that she is by far Venstre’s greatest channel to reach those voters.

Nextwork recommendations for policy on disinformation, as presented to the European Parliament

Thomas Albrechtsen will be a contributor and speaker at a conference called “Countering Disinformation: Democratic accountability and algorithmic transparency” hosted by the International Republican Institute.

Apart from giving a presentation, Thomas will be handing over a list of recommendations for potential legislation within this policy area. By now, Nextwork has build a pool of knowledge and understanding within the field of disinformation, and for this specific cause we have gathered our key points on how best to uncover and handle future influence campaigns.

There are three main points to our list of recommendations:

  1. Social media platforms have to work with authorities and civil society actors to unveil disinformation by sharing more data
  2. Social media have to be transparent as regards how they practice censorship, how their algorithmic recommendation feeds of suggested content work, and what adds are run on their platform
  3. Policy makers should be given fundamental training in the data-flows of social media, and the potential risks and pitfalls during an election

Our recommendations can be accessed in their full length here: Countering Disinformation

Web 3.0 will be a gamechanger for businesses

Blog post originally published on Version2 on August 14th, 2018

Cited on Techtobia: “Straight From the Tech Experts: What Will the Defining Feature of Web 3.0 Be?” on September 24th, 2018

Web 3.0 will be a gamechanger for business leaders and brand managers in the years to come

Web 3.0 will be a gamechanger for business leaders and brand managers in the years to come

Many of us probably dropped the jaw a bit when Facebook recently lost 13 billion USD as a consequence of the scandal surrounding the improper management of personal data. We have since then furthermore seen large telecom companies declare hand on heart that they will not sell customers’ location data anymore. These two strikes of lightning have made two things lightning clear: 1) The stock market understands the value of storing and making use of personal data. 2) Firms understand in all seriousness the risk associated with not handling personal data properly. Data security – and information security – will therefore be a key factor for companies going forward. Combined with other elements, this will give firms in the digital world a position which makes it possible to continue – and to an even larger degree – utilize and make use of user data.

Personal data has most certainly become ‘the new asset class’. And with GDPR – the General Data Protection Regulation – data ownership has irreversibly been given to the end user. Or the data source so to speak. As a consequence, it will be hard for the huge databases from the Web 2.0 paradigm to continue their as-is-practice, i.e. where the big tech companies to a large extent could privatize and monopolize the economic value of personal data. With Web 3.0, personal information storage will become much more decentralized!

“Business leaders should be wary of Web 3.0, because this ‘user-utopia’ is here and it is happening!”

We can already see examples of platform companies providing users with secure encrypted personal data libraries from which the user can share data with the companies he or she trusts and want to interact with on a case-by-case basis. This will also have the implication that in order for companies to gain permission to use the end user’s data, they will need to focus much more on their online databrand e.g. credibility, likeability, brand proposition, raison d’être (the big why), USP’s, communication, data policies and data ethics, clarity of speech in the permission statements, benefits, user-friendliness, convenience, transparency etc. They should not least have a data-centric approach to IT security including what is called Data-Centric Audit and Protection (DCAP), which is specifically about data security rather than firewalls, networks, software-systems and hardware – not to forget data culture. With Web 3.0. we will see a de-monopolized Internet, which will be further accelerated by the Internet of (every)Things and the successful websites of Web 3.0 will be permeated by a well thought out databrand. Business leaders should be wary of Web 3.0, because this ‘user-utopia’ is here and it is happening!

However, many can claim to know prophecies of the future and have far foreseeing vision. So let’s review rationally at what we know – let’s wander down the PEST-road (political, economic, social and technological).

“The power dynamic between firms and users has experienced a shock treatment and we have barely begun to grasp what has actually happened”

Political focus on privacy and user-control
We have seen great political and regulatory enthusiasm about increasing privacy. Nothing indicates that this will not continue… We have just now seen and experienced GDPR which gives the citizen comprehensive owner-rights over data. GDPR also makes it possible for the citizen to take action against firms, on the basis of Article 20, and have his or her data transported between firms. And GDPR is not just a Europe phenomena – it’s setting the global standard right now especially for businesses with cross-boarder operations. A new law was passed in California by the end of June 2018 which is now the most extensive regulation of data management in the US. This also gives the citizen opportunity to sue firms if data breaches occur. The PSD2 regulation is another driver behind the de-centralization of data stores in the financial sector and it is likely that a PSD2 for insurance will also be implemented one day soon. The power dynamic between firms and users has experienced a shock treatment and we have barely begun to grasp what has actually happened.

Economic growth in data-generating devices and new data-business models
The stock market has, as mentioned, definitely started to react to the importance of personal data and privacy mishaps.

“…the cost of managing data as part of the business model have risen and so has the associated liabilities”

And with GDPR, the current ratios for valuing network based Web 2.0 companies will likely change. Ratios such as Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) and Monthly Active Users (MAU) are not very sufficent ratios for company valuation after GDPR. Simply put, the cost of manageing data as part of the business model have risen and so has the associated liabilities. With increased risk associated with Web 2.0 business models, the rationale for embarking on more web 3.0-like business models will be higher for many companies and institutions (for more on valuing the effects of privacy regulation on the cost base, please read this great article by GDPR and privacy analyst Chiara Rustici). IoT is also estimated to generate far more than 14.4 trillion USD globally in 2020, and this omens that the amount of data points will increase significantly with IoT. As a consequence, we can count on seeing many more firms which offer secure and encrypted storage of those personal data already in 2019. These will change the data infrastructure as we currently know it. Right now, it is primarily capitalistic activists who are driving forward Web 3.0, but the majority of the market will catch on eventually as we will begin to be able to meassure the immense liabilities associated with the current data business models.

Social consciousness of the value of personal data and changing user demands
Generally speaking, we are seeing an increased focus on personal data both in news columns and on screens, which contribute to increasing the awareness of personal data among citizens. The GDPR fines that the whole world is waiting for with anticipation will be an unfortunate catalyst for further user awareness regarding ones own personal data. The MyData movement is on a rise and great things are happening in fx Helsinki and France. ‘Personal Data Week’ as well as other similar international campaigns have also been held in the US in 2018. A quick search on the internet shows that unions and consortiums, such as, The Personal Data Trade Association and Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium, are popping up everywhere. These initiatives create attention, put focus on and lobby for citizens to be more enabled and empowered to claim their rights over their data. But more importantly, the MyData movement repressents a powerful philosophy about data ownership og retaliation mechanisms empowering the data owner – the individual. The new systems and infrastructures that are coming will also create new user expectations to data security and the opportunity for the user to claim his or her data. The data marketplace is taking shape and data brokers are emerging. We currently see companies responding to this by re-considering their ‘My Site’ universe on their web pages, making personal data much more transparent and actionable for the end-user. And from here, the right to data portability will eventually be enabled.

“It is very likely that we will see users demanding high ethics in terms of data-usage, user-friendliness, and security regarding their information”

Just like how Amazon and Netflix has changed our patience when it comes to movie and tv-shows – don’t we all remember the 60-seconds-long menu- and copyright warning sequences, which were a custom in the DVD universe. It is very likely that we will see users demanding high ethics in terms of data-usage, user-friendliness, and security regarding their information.

Technologies promoting privacy and control
The growth within Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (PET) is in full swing. Encryption technology is gradually as advanced as Usain Bolts leg muscles and the technology is being used in several places. The development within Cryptography and Differential Privacy has made important progress. This technology is about preventing loss of privacy whilst the same data is being used aggregated where they create value, improve AI, and create innovation and new products.
There you have it…

“Web 3.0 is about baking a larger data-pie and maximizing the benefits by inviting the user to have a seat at the table”

But Web 3.0 should not be seen as a threat for the giant tech-firms’ existence as much as it should be seen as a rescue operation. Because while the practices of the tech-giants in Web 2.0 might be useful for some it is not sustainable in the long run. They simply cannot continue ahead with the digital decency and dignity parked at home in the startup-garage because of the risk of a big techlash that lurks in the horizon. And this will be harder on the big tech-firms but worst of all on all of us who sit in the dark if the doors close and the lights are out until the generators have cooled off.

Anyways, all business leaders should look out for this opportunity for developing new competitive advantages in regards to the data economy. Web 3.0 is about baking a larger data-pie and maximizing the benefits for all by inviting the user – the data subject – to have a seat at the table.

Google re-considering moving into China

Google re-considering China

Follow me on social media:

Thomas Albrechtsen invited to join the SIRI Commission, as it investigates how to strengthen the digital immune defense of the democracy

As the monopoly of truth is abolished, public belief and opinion becomes volatile. Multiple human as well as AI actors are competing to obtain influence. How do we best equip politicians, people and press to handle and regulate the flow and quality of information in a digital age?

Nextwork CEO, Thomas Albrechtsen, has been invited to join an expert group under the Danish SIRI Commission by virtue of his work with disinformation and democracy in a digital age. In the months ahead, Thomas will be working with the commission to develop a range of recommendations on how to handle the digital disruption of information and news.

About the SIRI Commission

The SIRI Commission is a think tank founded by Danish politician Ida Auken and the Danish Society of Engineers. The commission works to map out the changes, challenges, and potentials of artificial intelligence and digital disruption in a broad sense. The commission addresses multiple secondary themes one after the other, and sets up a working group of experts for each theme.

Thus far, the commission has dealt with the themes transportation, health and fintech. The next theme of the commission is called “AI, media and democracy”. The permanent members of the commission and the appointed expert group will present its recommendations by February 2019.


More about the work group and the theme (Danish):

More about the work of the SIRI Commission (Danish):

Read a discussion piece by Thomas Albrechtsen, published in the Danish newspaper Politiken, on the issue of conveying truth in a digital age (Danish):

Could Russian interference impact the next Danish election?

At Nextwork we advise a diverse group of clients on how to navigate and utilize a rapidly changing and increasingly digital media universe. Denmark as a democratic state will be facing a major digital challenge, as the next general election approaches: How can we make sure, that the election is determined by the Danish voters, without interference by foreign agents?

Over the past few years, we have seen multiple examples of foreign states trying to influence national elections using adds, fake news websites, internet bots and trolls etc.

At this year’s People’s Political Festival (Folkemøde) at Bornholm, Nextwork and Analyse & Tal have invited representatives from Google, Facebook, The European Political Strategy Center, and the Danish media industry to debate the magnitude of the issue, and what protective measures are being taken in order to sustain our digital democracy. We will be investigating previous cases, as well as the the risks and responsibilities regarding foreign political interference with the next Danish election.

Host: Thomas Albrechtsen, CEO, Nextwork

The event will take place on June 15th at 14:30, at the stage named “Det Akademiske Kvarter”, zone F14, Allinge, Bornholm.

Read more, and sign up for the event through Facebook (Danish):

Do data rights come with data obligations?

Nextwork CEO Thomas Albrechtsen and partner of Analyse & Tal Tobias Bornakke challenge the general perception of public digital data in a new article published by Danish newspaper Dagbladet Information.

The two authors argue, that we ought to consider a more solidary approach to the concept of sharing data. The social turn in the perception of public data is simple: all major agents should contribute to the pool of public data, in order to minimize monopolization and support research, transparency and democratic development.

When it comes to data, everyone seems to worry exclusively about their individual right not to be measured, tracked, filed, and observed. While this concern is honest and understandable, our fear of being monitored has so far led us to allow for further monopolization of the data collected by tech giants such as Facebook and Google. This, along with our resistance towards collection and pooling of public data by other organizations, will greatly weaken research within medicine, social science, infrastructure, communication, and language.

Can we justify our aversion against public data, when the scientific development and understanding of our social interactions and communities are suffering? Does it make us feel more safe, that the global pool of digital data is exclusively for tech giants to utilize? According to Albrechtsen and Bornakke, it shouldn’t. 

While everyone agrees, that data should be managed safely and with proficiency, and that GDPR is a step towards increased data security, a lot of professionals lament the further monopolization, which the GDPR, and recent violations of data regulations, have brought about. Scientists and researchers are suffering, as tech giants are manifesting their absolutism by locking away data in their servers.

Capitalist and totalitarian states are already benefiting from the possibilities of extensive data-collection. More effort should be put into developing socially sustainable and democratic data systems in Europe. The most well-functioning democratic states should lead the way and explore the possibilities of safe collection and use of public data. Albrechtsen and Bornakke also believe, that the only way to break the data monopoly, is to have tech giants make their data publicly available for responsible agents to scrutinize.

Read the article here (Danish):


Lasse Perrild announced as one of top 100 business talents of 2018

At Nextwork we have a knack for spotting talent. Last fall, we were pleased to appoint Lasse Perrild as the first Head of Digital at Nextwork. It has long been obvious to us, that Lasse holds a unique talent for understanding the political agendas of the digital age, and providing useful, forward-thinking consultancy to a diverse group of clients.

Now, the Danish corporate world has officially recognized this talent, in nominating Lasse as one of top 100 business talents of 2018. This year, involvement with the digital agenda has been a deciding criterion for the nomination of talents. At Nextwork we don’t hesitate in saying, that by engaging Lasse, we have gotten hold of one of the biggest digital talents, Denmark has to offer.

Lasse Perrild is former Senior Press Officer to the Major of Employment and Integration in Copenhagen. At age 26 he was appointed Special Advisor to the Minister of Employment, Ida Auken, and later he also served as Special Advisor to the Minister of Taxation, Holger K. Nielsen. Moreover, he has worked as Press Coordinator and Speechwriter to the CEO of the Confederation of Danish Industry, Karsten Dybvad.


Read the portrait following the nomination here:

How to combine big and ‘thick’ data – new paper in Big Data & Society

Big data enables us to crunch millions of data points, thereby adding scale of behaviour when studying social phenomena such as customer behaviour. ‘Thick’ ethnographic data, on the other hand, enables us to calibrate and contextualize the big data findings, adding the why to unexplainable patterns within the big datasets. Therefore, it can be very fruitful to combine big and thick data sources, and recent works have suggested an analytical complementarity. These works have, however, remained as programmatic suggestions, leaving us with limited methodological inputs on how to archive such complementary integration.

In a new paper, published in the prestigious journal Big Data & Society, our Head of Research, Brian Due argue for a method for ‘blending’ big and thick analytical insights and presents four strategies that can be applied when relying upon big and thick data sources. The paper is co-authored with Analyse & Tal’s Tobias Bornakke in it relies on insights from multiple joint Nextwork and Analyse & Tal projects.

The paper can be accessed and downloaded for free on the Sage Journal’s website.

Nextwork CEO: Authorities will have to fight for their status as conveyors of reliable information

Nextwork CEO Thomas Albrechtsen encourages authorities to contribute strategically to the available information on social, digital media platforms. 
In a discussion piece published by the Danish national newspaper Politiken, Thomas Albrechtsen explains how the power to construe reality will be allotted those who understand and utilize the accessible information technology. The monopoly of truth is abolished as innumerable sources, platforms, and online communities arise. So how do we prevent secluded online communities of truth and meaning?
All indications are, that social media platforms such as Facebook and Youtube cannot be trusted to sort out falsehoods, demagoguery, hate speech, and unreliable sources. We have the necessary technology to identify the key arenas, actors, and issues of public debate. It’s about time authorizes take interest in the creation of public opinion on social media, and take up their role as an active contributor to the competing narratives regarding health, environment and minorities.

Political Top Advisor becomes Head of Digital at Nextwork

Starting October 1st, Lasse Perrild, will be the first Head of Digital at Nextwork. Lasse will be responsible for the increasingly important task of helping corporations and organizations understand and act in a media landscape that is changing at an accelerating speed.

CEO, Thomas Albrechtsen:

“Lasse Perrild is one of the biggest talents in Danish political consultancy. Only a few people at his age have his level of experience from the Parliament, the Government, The City Hall and The Confederation of Danish Industry. Our clients are asking for advice on how to adapt to the changes that are happening around them – changes that are happening faster than ever with social and digital media. Organizations, now more than ever, are experiencing a need to break down reactions and interactions in order to understand political agendas. For this, Lasse is a perfect fit, and we are very proud to be able to serve our clients with his skills and capacity“.

Head of Digital, Lasse Perrild:

“Nextwork is an extremely interesting consultancy where services is being developed in accordance with the latest academic research. This creates a unique platform for helping clients solve the problems they are facing in a changing media landscape. Understanding social media and navigating through the big data tsunami that strikes us these days will be one of the most important differentiating parameters for companies, organisations and parties in the near future. Here, Nextwork is an extremely strong partner for their clients and I’m really looking forward to be a part of their team”.  

Lasse Perrild, age 32, is former Senior Press Officer to the Major of Employment and Integration in Copenhagen. At age 26 he was appointed Special Advisor to the Minister of Employment, Ida Auken, and later he also served as Special Advisor to the Minister of Taxation, Holger K. Nielsen. Moreover, he has worked as Press Coordinator and Speechwriter to the CEO of the Confederation of Danish Industry, Karsten Dybvad.

Thomas Albrechtsen, CEO, Nextwork

Lasse Perrild, Head of Digital, Nextwork

New website!

We are thrilled to present a repainted website. Please take a look around!

Thomas Albrechtsen announced as one of Berlingske’s top 100 business talents

We are thrilled to annouce that our CEO, Thomas Albrechtsen, was chosen by Berlingske Business as one of the rising stars of the Danish Corporate world in 2017. The list includes talents who were “extensively nominated by business and other interested parties”, and is a testament to Thomas’ hard work and dedication to Nextwork.

Amongst other qualities, Thomas was nominated for his humanistic approach to analyzing Big Data, which emphasizes insights that allow us to understand human nature and behavior at scale. 

As noted by our director of board, Jesper Højberg: “For me, with 30 years of experience as a consultant, it is impressive to watch Thomas advise customers at a level that is totally unique for such a young person. That he at the same time is able to develop novel research methods, publish academic articles, and can call himself an author, is simply just admirable.«

Brian Due receives academic award

Brian Due recently received the PhD award of the union Kommunikation og Sprog. The award is given every other year to “shed light on academic research with a business-relevant scope and also to reward a talented, young researcher.”

We are proud to have Brian on our team!

The award was given on November 14th 2016 at Carlsberg Academy. You can read more about the prize here (in Danish).

Brian Due presents Google Glass-findings at Columbia University

Our Head of Research and Assistant Professor at the University of Copenhagen, Ph.D. Brian Due, has spent the last year studying the future of wearables and their implication for social interaction.

His paper, ”Knowledge and Epistemic Incongruences in Social Interaction with Google Glass” will be presentet at the Fifth Meeting of the Language and Social Interaction Working Group (LANSI) at Columbia University on the 16th of October.

The paper deals with a participant’s use of Google Glass in social interaction with regard to object-orientation and identity; how the use of Google Glass is a private experience, which produces epistemic incongruence; and how Google Glass is a non-human participant, who occupies slots in the sequential unfolding of turns.