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Friday's Business and Politics round-up

24 Mar 2017
Business person stood up, reading a newspaper

IoD in the news

Director - What’s in store for UK industrial strategy following Brexit?
International Business Times - Will London remain Europe's financial hub?

Show me the money

Twitter is considering a paid membership service for businesses and ‘power users’. These paying members would get accessed to a more advanced version of Tweetdeck, which allows more functionality than Twitter.com.

The social network, which has struggled to finance and grow its business in the last few years, is carrying out surveys to understand whether people may be interested in the idea – but has made no indiciation as to whether it will go ahead with the plans.

The company finds itself in an incredibly strange position where it provides a useful platform for many of its users but is struggling for survival. It was, and continues to be, a key tool for the way in which the President of the United States of America chooses to communicate. It is also a useful source of information, in real time, exemplified by the recent attack in London. And yet – despite all of this – Twitter’s active user base has plateaued and its advertising revenues continue to decline (while the market as a whole has grown considerably).

As other companies increasingly turn to its rivals, like Snapchat, for advertising – it looks like Twitter is trying to exhaust all its possibilities.

While a paid service is nothing new, there may be some backlash on the basis that Twitter has been free since it was first founded 11 years ago. Indeed, if it goes ahead with the premium accounts, it will have to compete with established players like SocialFlow and Hootsuite, who already provide enhanced ways of using the platform. Paying users will also want to see a significant change in the service they receive. Will Twitter be able to innovate sufficiently to make this worthwhile?

London shows defiance 

A vast number of people gathered in Trafalgar Square last night to remember those who lost their lives in Wednesday’s attack, showing defiance in the face of adversity. They stood together, surrounded by police officers and overshadowed by the rumble of helicopters above. Candles were laid on the ground and on the steps leading to the National Gallery, then lit in memory of those who died.

The vigil was held shortly after the police identified Khalid Masood as the man who carried out the Westminster attack. Masood, 52, was born as Adrian Elms in Kent. It was reported he had not been the subject of any current police investigations.

Delivering a moving Commons statement yesterday, the Prime Minister Theresa May told MPs “We will never waver in the face of terrorism”. She paid tribute to the victims, including PC Keith Palmer, and commended the brave actions of the MP Tobias Ellwood. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn echoed her sentiment and described the attack as “an appalling atrocity”.

Mrs May said the victims included 12 Britons, three French children, two people from Romania, four from South Korea, one from Germany, one from Poland, one from Ireland, one from China, one from Italy, one from the US and two Greek people. Speaking in the Commons, she said “Yesterday an act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy, but today we meet as normal, as generations have done before us and as future generations will continue to do, to deliver a simple message: We are not afraid and our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism”.


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