Harvard Friday Five


Priscilla McGregor-Kerr

19 Aug 2019

At Harvard we stay up to date with the latest news and trends shaping the tech world by rounding up the top stories each week. We’ve recapped our favourite stories from the last few weeks to create July’s news round-up.

Twitter launches redesign

Last month Twitter has begun rolling out a new desktop design for its platform. One of the biggest changes is the new vertical sidebar which will include notifications, messages, bookmarks, and the 'explore' tab to easily navigate the site. This particular update has been described as the merging of desktop and mobile web, due to features such as the 'sparkle' button which will allow users to switch between the chronologically ordered tweets and top tweets seamlessly. Considering that this is the first desktop redesign Twitter has implemented in seven years, and the months of user testing leading up to it, this is a big moment for the platform to either gain or lose a mass of followers.

Instagram's anti-bullying feature

Instagram is tackling cyberbullying. The anti-bullying charity, Ditch The Label, found that 42% of British 12-20 year olds have been bullied on Instagram. The app has been under pressure to fix its bullying problem after several high profile incidents, including the suicide of Molly Russel. Last month, Instagram announced this week that it will soon allow the victims of cyberbullying to restrict interactions with the bullies. Another feature being introduced uses AI to flag offensive comments, giving the user who posted it the option to undo their comment. These features will first be introduced to English speaking Twitter but will later be rolled out in all languages.

Cyber-incidents spiked 1000%

Despite general numbers of increased digital awareness amongst the UK population, cyber-attacks have also been on the rise. The FCA revealed that the number of cyber incidents rose from 69 in 2017 to 819 in 2018, marking a rise of over 1000%. Consumer banks topped the incident list at 486, followed by wholesale financial markets at 115, and retail investments at 53. Some have blamed the increase on the introduction of GDPR in 2018, but others believe that the industry has generally suffered more attacks. In reality, the top root cause has been the occurrence of hardware and software issues, change management, and third party failures. The executive director of supervision at the FCA had previously stated "It is a major concern that a lot of firms still seem to be trying to get the basics right on cyber...A third of firms do not perform regular cyber-assessments...  Nearly half of firms do not upgrade or retire old IT systems in time."

Drones to police our roads

More than 160 motorists have been caught speeding in the past five weeks alone in the UK, with some being detected at speeds of up to 127mph. But the Met police have a solution. Last month it was revealed that the Met will deploy £80,000 drone to catch speeding motorists. The unmanned aerial vehicle will target "road users engaged in dangerous driving, such as racing, that could potentially put others at risk", the force said. The device will be able to follow vehicles for up to 50 minutes at a top speed of 30mph while sending alerts to officers on the ground who can catch up to the speeding driver to intercept. The first drone was set to patrol the A10 in Enfield at the end of July.

Uber is testing an all-in-one subscription model

The key to good customer service, in the eyes of many marketers, is ease. This is evident when looking at the fact that nine out of ten UK consumers are now subscribers, paying approximately £18.49 per month on subscription services. Uber is attempting to accommodate to this. Last month it was announced that Uber will be testing a subscription option that offers all-inclusive or discounted access to all of its services e.g. Uber Eats, Jump e-bikes/scooters etc. This test appears to be an expansion of the Ride Pass which allows discounted rates to be used by subscribers for a monthly fee of $24.99. This new subscription model comes just a week after Lyft deployed its e-bikes that can be docked or dockless, and very son after Postmates' monthly subscription announcement. This suggests that this is not only a lucrative move for uber to remain competitive in a quickly evolving market, but it also displays the power and influence of the consumer. Sign up to the newsletter if you like what you see, and get more like this in your inbox every Friday.