7th February 2022
Bite-sized business news from the UK and beyond
Good morning Yesterday marked 70 years of the Queen’s reign, the longest ever for a British monarch. Over that period she has seen 14 prime ministers and 31% of Brits say they have seen or met her. To illustrate just how much she has lived through, this website gives the lowdown on what she was doing the year you were born.
Social media platforms face UK clampdown
UK eyes £10bn funding from Down Under
TECHSocial media platforms face UK clampdown
What’s going on?On Friday the government updated its plans to regulate social media with new criminal offences to combat fraud and online abuse.If it passes, the landmark Online Safety Bill will make platforms including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok more responsible for removing harmful and illegal content on their sites.
Why is this important?
Online safety campaigners have criticised governments worldwide for being too slow to regulate social media and protect users from harmful content.After a reviewing how online platforms deal with such material last year, the UK government has tabled a new set of laws covering everything from hate crime to self-harm and racial abuse.Today social media firms only have to take down such content after it had been reported to them by users but the new proposals would mean they would have to prevent people being exposed in the first place.Failure to comply with the laws would see companies face fines of up to 10% of annual worldwide sales or see their sites shutdown in the UK.The proposed bill will go through scrutiny in Parliament over the coming months before facing a vote.
Regulation over social media has been hotly debated for years with tech firms arguing they have invested heavily in tools to stamp out harmful content on their sties whilst also toeing the line of censoring free speech.Despite the wide scope of the bill, critics say it doesn’t go far enough and should include tougher sanctions for senior executives at firms who breach the new laws. But experts underline that its introduction will be nothing short of a revolution in how the online world is policed, and mean it will be a very different place for the next generation.
ECONOMYUK eyes £10bn funding from Down Under
The government is in discussion with the Australian bank Macquarie Group for a £10bn investment in British infrastructure, that’s according to Sky News.If successful it would be one of the largest-ever fundings by a foreign company. The £10bn would go towards renewable energy and communications sector projects. According to sources, the deal was supposed to be announced during Boris Johnson’s trip to Australia later this month, but due to the ongoing fallout of ‘partygate’ the trip was postponed.The mega-investment is all part of Macquarie’s strategy to expand in the UK, it has already invested £50bn in the country in the past few years.It’s not the first time the bank has made headlines in the UK. Back in 2017 it bought the government’s Green Investment Bank – the world’s first green infrastructure investment bank. The deal raised controversy as critics argued that the £2.3bn paid, short changed British taxpayers. For most of this century the UK has been the number one European destination for international investment. Before the Brexit referendum in 2016 there were predictions that foreign investment could drop if the ‘leave’ vote was successful as the UK would be seen as a less appealing place to do business. In the past two years France has overtaken the UK and claimed the investing top spot.Securing £10bn from Macquarie would help the government’s mission to show that the UK can still attract international investment after leaving the EU.
Stat of the day
Since 1990, more than 1.2bn people have escaped extreme poverty across the world
Other stories to keep you in the loop
'Sick joke': £575,000-a-year Bank of England governor criticised over pay restraint call
Tesco boss issues warning to all customers over food prices
UK consultancies are hiring fewer Oxbridge and Russell Group grads
Anti-slavery chocolate brand Tony’s Chocolonely finds 1,700 child workers in supply chain
US jobs growth stronger than expected as economy shrugs off Omicron
Facebook suffers $230bn wipeout in biggest one-day US stock plunge
Amazon and Nike evaluate separate bids to buy Peloton
Interesting links from around the web