Facebook criticises authoritarianism and nationalism
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive of Facebook, has declared that the “struggle of our time” is against the forces of authoritarianism and nationalism, as he sets out a political agenda for a more equal, connected world.
Giving the commencement address to Harvard University, he said there was a “battle of ideas not nations” between those who are for the flow of trade and immigration and those who want to slow it down.
Mr Zuckerberg said the millennial generation needs to work so that everyone has a purpose, even those who are losing jobs and community to technology, and everyone has the opportunity to try entrepreneurial ideas.
“There is something wrong with our system when I can leave here and make billions of dollars in ten years, when millions of students can’t afford to pay off their loans, let alone start a business,” he said to a crowd of new graduates and their families gathered in the rain.
New payday loan regulations come into force
New payday loan regulations come into force today (26 May), requiring all online lenders to advertise on at least one price comparison website.
The new rules are the result of an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority, published in February 2015.
Lenders are also required to display “prominently” a link on their own websites to a price comparison site. The CMA says this will allow customers to compare loans more easily and establish the best value.
The industry has already complained about the increasing regulation.
Deliveroo criticised at work tribunal for ‘misinformation’
Deliveroo has been accused of running a campaign of misinformation and implementing last-minute changes to contracts in an effort to prevent riders from gaining better employment rights.
In a key case relating to the gig economy, the Central Arbitration Committee is investigating whether Deliveroo’s drivers are independent contractors, as the company argues, or whether they should be classified as workers with rights to holiday pay, the national minimum wage and collective bargaining via a union.
Quoting from emails and transcripts of recorded conversations, John Hendy QC, the barrister for the riders, said couriers had been told by Deliveroo managers that if they gained worker status by joining the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) they would no longer be classed as self-employed. He said the riders were also told they could be sacked for not wearing a uniform, would have to work set hours and be paid via PAYE so that they could not manage their own tax affairs.
The food delivery firm tried to have the case dismissed on the basis that not enough riders had expressed an interest in joining the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which backed strike action by riders last year.
Aviva: We want to become a fintech company
Aviva, the 321-year-old British insurance giant, wants to become a financial technology company in a bid to “change the insurance industry”.
CEO Mark Wilson declared at a press conference on Wednesday: “We want to turn Aviva into a fintech.”
“We will do acquisitions in this space,” he said but added: “I don’t mean billions. There’s nothing imminent.”
Wilson named artificial intelligence and big data as areas of particular interest for Aviva.
Aviva is spending at least £100 million a year on digital transformation internally and has set up a venture capital fund, Aviva Ventures, with £200 million to invest by 2020. So far it has made 6 investments, with a 7th imminent.
Government urges company directors to take charge of cyber security
The Government’s intelligence agency GCHQ has demanded that directors start taking charge of cyber security, warning that they are “devolving responsibility” for protecting businesses from hackers.
Ciaran Martin, the head of the agency’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said it is unacceptable for boards to plead ignorance about the threat from cyber attacks.
It comes after this month’s debilitating “WannaCry” ransomware outbreak, which caused chaos in the NHS and brought operations at factories and train stations to a halt.
“Our business leaders need to stop saying that cyber security is too complicated – and stop devolving responsibility,” Mr Martin said at The Telegraph Cyber Security conference.
Thursday 25 May
Instagram integrates direct response ads within its popular Stories function
As it continues to evolve its Stories function, Instagram is now testing direct response ads for the Snapchat-esque feature.
It means consumers who look at ads in Instagram Stories can now be prompted by brands to sign-up for a service or install an app.
SumUp, an e-payment device company, has launched an ad on Stories that prompts people to swipe up to sign up for its service. According to Instagram, which up until now has avoided targeted marketing features on Stories, its Stories function will “eventually accomodate all the same marketing objectives that are available from buying ads in the main feed.”
Facebook now allows users to launch JustGiving-style fundraisers
In the US, Facebook has introduced a personal fundraiser option for all of its users above 18.
Working pretty much the same as services such as Just Giving, Facebook says people can create a fundraiser to quickly raise money and easily reach their friends in a few taps, without the need to leave the social media network.
Users can raise money to fund charitable causes in any of the following sectors: education, crisis relief, personal emergency, funeral and loss, sports and community.
Each fundraiser requires a “6.9% + $0.30 fee that goes to payment processing, fundraiser vetting, and security and fraud protection”.
Aston Martin returns to profit for the first time in a decade
Luxury British car maker Aston Martin has posted a first-quarter profit for the first time in a decade.
The company made a pre-tax profit of £5.9m for the three months to March, following strong sales of its new DB11 model launched late last year. Its revenues, meanwhile, more than doubled (rising 75%) to £188m in the quarter.
Aston Martin, which has made an annual loss for each of the past six years, was sold by Ford in 2007 to Italian and Kuwaiti investment firms. The company has gone bankrupt seven times in its history.
The carmaker hopes that its latest models will increase sales by more than 30% in 2017.
Ben & Jerry’s launches new campaign to highlight gay marriage rights
Ben & Jerry’s announced it is barring customers at its 26 stores in Australia from ordering two scoops of the same flavour.
It’s doing so to highlight the lack of marriage equality for LGBTI people in Australia.
“Imagine heading down to your local Scoop Shop to order your favorite two scoops of Cookie Dough in a waffle cone. But you find out you are not allowed – Ben & Jerry’s has banned two scoops of the same flavor. You’d be furious!” said the company in a statement.
“We are banning two scoops of the same flavor and encouraging our fans to contact their MPs to tell them that the time has come – make same sex marriage legal! Love comes in all flavours!”
And in a bid to get its customers writing postcodes urging their MPs to back marriage equality, the ice cream brand is also launching post boxes emblazoned with rainbows in each of its Australian stores.
Fairtrade critical of Sainsbury’s after supermarket branches off on its own
The Fairtrade Foundation says it is not partnering with the new Sainsbury’s Foundation pilot in tea due to fundamental concerns that it falls below the standards.
With the launch of the new programme, Sainsbury’s own-brand Red Label and Gold Label ranges will no longer be Fairtrade certified, instead these will be part of the supermarket giant’s new “Fairly Traded” range. More than 229,000 farmers will be affected by these changes.
However, Michael Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation, says Sainsbury’s new intitiative falls well below the standard.
He explains: “We are unable to partner with the Sainsbury’s Foundation as it does not yet meet our core priniciples, particularly in the area of producer empowerment.”
Wednesday, 24 May
Brits buying more home-grown FMCG brands
UK consumers are increasingly opting for British grocery brands, according to Kantar Worldpanel’s fifth annual Brand Footprint ranking. The study, which measures which brands are most frequently bought by the most British consumers, reveals seven of the top 10 are home grown, up from six last year.
Bolton-based Warburton tops the UK list with 84.2% of the population buying its products an average of 25.2 times a year.
Rival bread brand Kingsmill has also done well – it is the fastest riser in this year’s top 10, with people that buy the brand doing so 8.7% more than they did 12 months ago. It moves up two places to third in the overall ranking with 73.5% of UK consumers buying the brand an average of 15.5 times a year.
Warburton and Kingsmill are joined in the top 10 by Heinz (2), McVitie’s (4), Hovis (5), Walkers (6), Muller (7), Birds Eye (8), Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (9) and Cadbury (10).
Competition from own-label products is starting to have an impact though as overall branded sales have fallen by 1.6% compared to private label brands which have grown by 1.7%.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, says it has been a challenging year for brands across all FMCG sectors.
“British retailers have stepped up their own label offer, consolidating and recalibrating their private-label lines in response to consumer demand for quality goods at low prices. The growth of Aldi and Lidl’s market share has also played a role as consumers become accustomed to seeing non-branded products on the shelves. Consumers have responded by increasingly opting for own-label alternatives across all retailers, and the proportion of the population buying the top 10 branded products has fallen by an average 2.5%.”
As post-Brexit price hikes continue to take hold, consumers across the UK are increasingly opting for own brand products, with 48% of consumers stating they would switch to cheaper own-label alternatives if their weekly food bill rose by 3%, according to recent research by Retail Economics,
Deliveroo rival looks to expand following £20m investment
London-based delivery startup Quiqup plans to take on the likes of Deliveroo and Uber after raising £20m to develop its technology and expand across the UK.
Quiqup has 400 retailers on board already, offering a pick up and delivery service from brands including Uniqlo, the Body Shop, Argos and Whole Foods, Unlike Deliveroo and UberEATS which are limited to food, it has expanded its remit to provide on-demand delivery from pharmacies, grocers and florists too.
The company says it will use the funds to the increase the number of retailers it works with, improve its logistics technology, and launch in more cities across the UK. International expansion is also in its sights.
Instagram introduces location and hashtag search options
Instagram has added location and hashtag stories to its Explore function to enable users to find content more easily.
Location stories are found at the top of the search page, and are grouped from people using location stickers on posts. Users can also search by location with a story ring for that place at the top of the location page.
In a move similar to its social media rivals, Instagram is also starting to introduce hashtag stories on Explore to help people find stories based on their interests. When searching for a hashtag users will be shown a story ring at the top of the page with stories related to that topic.
Apple tops Forbes most valuable brand list
Apple has been crowned the most valuable brand in the world for the seventh consecutive year in Forbes latest ranking.
In what is a tech dominated top 10, the iPhone maker tops the list with a brand value of $170bn, way ahead of its nearest rival Google at $102bn despite it increasing its value by 23% year on year.
Microsoft comes third and Facebook fourth, with the first non-tech brand Coca-Cola ranking fifth.
Facebook was the highest riser, growing 40% since last year, while IBM (13th) was the biggest loser after dropping 20%.
Jaguar Land Rover has record year bolstered by China sales
Jaguar Land Rover, the UK’s biggest car manufacturer, has delivered record sales driven by demand for its luxury cars in China where it grew 32%.
The car marque sold 604,009 vehicles in the 12 months to the end of March, 16% more than the previous year and the most in its 95-year history.
Growth was also strong in North America, where sales were up 24%. In the UK meanwhile, sales were up 16% and across the rest of Europe it was 13%.
Tuesday, 23 May
Amazon challenges Sky and BT with move into pay-TV
Amazon is moving into the pay-TV space, a market dominated by Sky Virgin Media and BT. Amazon Channels will see the online firm offer individual subscriptions to more than 40 channels at a cost of between £1.49 and £9.99 a channel with no fixed contract.
Broadcasters including Discovery, ITV and Eurosport have signed up, although others including Channel 4, UKTV and Channel 5 have not, with insiders telling The Telegraph the terms were “rubbish” so they did not sign a deal.
Ford brings in new CEO to focus on autonomous driving
Ford has hired James Hackett, the boss of its self-driving cars division, to be its new CEO as it responds to growing competition in the car market both from traditional rivals and tech companies. He takes over from Mark Fields, who has run the company since 2014. Fields will retire with immediate effect.
Ford chairman Bill Ford Junior, described Hackett as a “transformational leader” who can modernise the business by focusing on areas such as 3D printing, aritifical intelligence and autonomous driving. Ford Jr also wants to speed up decision-making to keep up with newer rivals such as Tesla.
The move was a surprise although concerns about Ford’s growth have been mounting. It announced record profits in 2015 but is struggling more as US car sales drop and is being aggressively targeted by competitors such as General Motors which is going after its truck business. It is also seen as slow to reac to the shift towards electric vehicles, autonomous cars and ride sharing.
Brands including Barclays, Boots and Aviva looks to increase older workers
Businesses including Barclays, Boots and Aviva are set to unveil plans today (23 May) to increase the number of over-50s they employ by 12% by 2022. They will also publish data about the age of their existing workforce so their progress can be measured.
The move comes in reponse to a skills gap, with 14.5 million people set to leave the workforce as they retire between 2012 and 2022, with just 7 million to enter. The businsses involved are calling on others to follow their lead.
“Businesses will not be able to get the skills, resources and capabilities they need to continue to develop their business unless they find a solution,” Andy Briggs, Aviva’s UK CEO and the government’s business champion for older workers, tells the FT. “One of the solutions will be to create an environment where older people can work for longer.”
Drop in deals between large and small companies as Brexit uncertainty hits
The number of deals between large and small business in the UK dropped by 28% in the 2016/17 tax year, according to data released by law firm Bond Dickinson. Deal volumes fell from a peak of 1,536 in 2015/16 to 1,111 in the last tax year. That follows a number of years of growth.
The report suggests economic uncertainty caused by Brexit is impacting deal-making. Nevertheless, large companies still invested £21bn in SMEs in the last year, more than the £16bn invested in research and development. Financial services leads the way with the most transactions as fintech startups disrupt the sector.
Google faces wait to find out conclusion of EU antitrust case
EU antitrust investigators will rule in the next few months over whether Google abused its dominance of internet searches, a senior European Commission has said. The investigation comes after concerns were raised over Google promoting its own shopping service in internet searches at the expense of its rivals. If that is found to be the case, Google could face a hefty fine. Google also being investigated over where it has used Android to squeeze out rivals and blocked competitors in online search advertising through its ‘AdSense for Search’ service.
“In the next few months, we will reach a decision on the Google cases, Google search, AdSense and to me the most interesting is Android,” said Tommaso Valletti, the Commission’s chief competition economist, speaking at a conference organised by the University of Oxford Centre for Competition Law and Policy, according to Reuters.
Monday, 22 May
Marks & Spencer to report clothing sales slump
Marks & Spencer is expected to post a 3% slump in its clothing and homewares sales as the festive revival appears short-lived.
Reporting results for the first quarter of 2017 on Wednesday (24 May), the high street retailer is also expected to reveal a sharp fall in annual profits and a small decline in its underlying food business.
These results come after a successful festive period during which Marks & Spencer saw a 2.3% jump in clothing and homeware, coupled with a 1.3% rise in like-for-like sales – its first underlying sales growth for nearly two years.
At the time chief executive Steve Rowe attributed the growth in clothing and home to “better ranges, better availability and better prices”, as well as the retailer’s commitment to substantially reduce discounting, including over Black Friday.
In November, Rowe unveiled a five-year plan to cut trading space devoted to clothing by 10% and focus on the expansion of its food business. This involves the closure of 30 of its 304 “full-line” stores selling clothing, homeware and food, as well as the conversion of a further 45 into food-only shops.
Facebook reviews 6.5m potentially fake accounts a week
Leaked Facebook policing guidelines show moderators investigate more than 6.5 million reports relating to potentially fake accounts a week.
A Guardian investigation also reveals that remarks such as “Someone shoot Trump” should be deleted, because as a head of state President Donald Trump is in a protected category. Conversely, anyone with more than 100,000 followers is designated as a public figure, thereby denying them the full protection of a private individual.
The 100-plus Facebook training manuals leaked to the newspaper also advise moderators that videos of violent deaths should be marked as disturbing, but not always deleted as they raise awareness of mental health issues. Furthermore, people are allowed to livestream attempts to self-harm so as to not “censor or punish people in distress”.
A further guideline indicates that photos of non-sexual physical abuse and the bullying of children do not have to be deleted unless there is a sadistic or celebratory element.
Sources speaking to the Guardian reveal that moderators feel overwhelmed by the volume of work and often have “just 10 seconds” to make a decision.
Jaguar Land Rover poised to post 16% sales uplift
Jaguar Land Rover is expected to report annual revenues of more than £23bn, boosted by a 16% rise in car sales to 604,000 during the year to the end of March.
Britain’s biggest car manufacturer has benefitted in large part from the resurgence of Jaguar, which saw sales rocket 83% to almost 173,000 cars, driven by demand for its first sports utility style car F-Pace. The mainstay of the business, Land Rover sales grew 1% to 431,000.
The company has benefitted from the weakening pound as only a fifth of its cars are sold in the domestic market. During the period sales to China rose by a third to more than 130,000, as Jaguar Land Rover also saw its US sales grow by a quarter to 125,000.
McColl’s eyes takeover of Tesco’s One Stop chain
Convenience chain McColl’s is eyeing the potential takeover of Tesco’s One Stop chain in a bid to add 50 shops a year to its existing 1,300 store estate.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, chief executive Jonathan Miller said he expected Tesco would be forced to offload its One Stop brand or hundreds of Tesco Express shops in order to secure official clearance of its merger with the wholesaler Booker, first announced in January.
McColl’s ramped up its growth strategy in December with the completion of a deal to buy 298 Co-operative Group stores.
Airline Cathay Pacific cuts 600 jobs
Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific has cut nearly 600 jobs in a bid to reverse losses of £60.1m.
Since posting its first annual loss for eight years in March the airline has embarked on its biggest restructure for 20 years, including axing 190 management jobs and 400 non-management staff working at its head office in Hong Kong.
Part of a three year programme to turn around the losses, the cuts are expected to save the airline 30% in employee costs.
Cathay Pacific has been squeezed by fierce competition from Chinese and Middle Eastern airlines expanding into the Asia Pacific region.