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Digital Digest – 13 October

Jonas Augustin for UnSplash

In this week’s digital digest we look at BT’s partnership with Rio Ferdinand and Marcus Rashford, and the DVLA’s digital licence plans.  

We then take a look at big tech as Facebook changes the way it measures accounts, Twitter rolls out a ‘soft-block’ feature and Netflix is sued by ISP provider following the success of Squid Games. 

Closer To Home

BT celebrates Black British history with Rio Ferdinand and Marcus Rashford

BT’s Hope United has partnered with Rio Ferdinand and Marcus Rashford to release a series of short films over the course of Black History Month. The videos will feature Ferdinand and Rashford discussing the legacy of the Windrush generation, and the impact their descendants and continued migration from the Caribbean have had on football and culture.

The series kicks off with both footballers discussing ‘Standing Firm: Football’s Windrush Story’ and will be disseminated on social media before being followed by a standalone documentary released on BT later this year.

DVLA promises driving licence changes as new digital alternatives explored by government

DVLA plans to launch a new digital licence that could launch in 2024.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the move is part of ‘exciting new post-EU freedoms’, as EU rules had previously stopped the introduction of digital licences.

However, the possibility of an app-based drivers licence increases the amount of personal data we store on our phones, making them more tempting targets for thieves and hackers. 

Big Tech

Facebook Changes the Way It Measures Accounts for Advertisers

Facebook is changing the way it counts user profiles for advertising purposes in a move that goes into effect on Monday. In effect, they will start counting Facebook and Instagram as standalone apps – instead of linking accounts – unless users opt in.

The change will increase the number of total accounts an advertiser can reach. Facebook hinted on its blog that the measure was intended to adapt to anticipated regulatory changes.

Twitter rolls out feature that allows users to quietly remove followers

Twitter is rolling out a new feature that lets users remove a follower without blocking them. The so-called ‘soft-block’ allows users to remove followers without notifying the account. However, such users can follow you again if they realise they’ve been removed.

The feature is just the latest in a series of moves the social media company has taken to increase user privacy and give users more control over their experience on the platform.

Squid Game’s success reopens debate over who pays rising internet traffic

The success of South Korean Netflix drama Squid Game has re-ignited the dispute between broadband providers and the streaming giant over who should carry the burden of increased data costs. The South Korean ISP provider SK Broadband has sued Netflix to help cover the costs of increased network traffic and maintenance due to a surge in viewers.

Demand for internet capacity has undergone unprecedented growth as a result of the pandemic. An overwhelming majority of day-to-day usage is accounted for by only a handful of companies such as YouTube, Facebook and Netflix, however, ISP providers are increasingly turning to them to help cover their costs rather than turning on end users.

Also In The News

  1. Cybercriminals from Russia and its neighbours are the source of the majority of online extortion against UK business and organisations, says Lindy Cameron, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). See here.

  2. Brands’ failure to accurately represent the lives of older women is a reflection of them underestimating the cultural power of this demographic as influencers on younger generations. See here.

  3. A Facebook whistleblower who accused the tech giant of putting profit ahead of safety, is due to give evidence to the Online Safety Bill committee on 25th October 2021. See here

  4. Deep divides over proposed EU regulation of Big Tech is likely to trigger long delays in attempts to curb their powers and ensure fair competition. See here.

  5. Venture capital funding into British technology start-ups has topped a record £20bn this year, despite warnings about Brexit. See here.

Worth A Read:

  1. Marketing Week: Trust in brands is illusory, just look at Facebook’s continued growth

  2. BBC News: Google gives security keys to 10,000 high-risk users

  3. FT: A global AI bill of rights is desperately needed


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