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January 4, 2019updated 03 Jan 2019 3:15pm

FCC to suspend activity amid government shutdown / Social media giants face fresh scrutiny / Blockchain takes stage at AEA annual meeting

By Luke Christou


Good morning, here’s your Friday morning briefing to set you up for the day ahead. Look out for these three things happening around the world today.

FCC to suspend activity amid government shutdown

The Federal Communications Commission, the agency tasked with regulating radio, television, wire, satellite and cable communications in the United States, will be forced to cease most activities today if President Donald Trump is unable to reach an agreement with the Democrats over his demand for $5bn to deliver on his promise to build a wall between the US and Mexico, which has forced a government shutdown in recent weeks.

The FCC shutdown will impact both consumers and businesses, with consumer compliant and inquiry lines suspended, as well as licencing activity in the broadcast and wireless industries. Merger reviews, such as the one currently looking into the proposed Sprint-T-Mobile deal, will also be put on hold.

However, the FCC has confirmed that the 5G wireless spectrum auctions, which began auctioning off the 24 GHz and 28 GHz bands in November last year, will continue as planned.

Should the issue fail to be resolved, the FCC will cease to operate at midday PST (8pm London time).

Social media giants face fresh scrutiny

Social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter will face fresh scrutiny today, as University College London publishes its report into a possible link between social media use and depression in young people.

Some 38% of heavy social media users who used social media platforms for five or more hours a day showed signs of having more severe depression than those who used these sites and apps less.

According to the report, poor sleep habits and online harassment were the two most common causes of depression among social media users.

A recent inquiry set up by children’s charities The Children’s Society and YoungMinds found that almost 50% of 11 to 25-year-olds had received threatening or harassing messages on social media, or through email or text. Likewise, some 83% said that social media companies weren’t doing enough to tackle the problem.

Blockchain takes stage at AEA annual meeting

Blockchain will today take to the stage at the American Economic Association’s annual meeting, which is being held in Atlanta, Georgia, over the next three days.

Presented by the Econometric Society, the international society for the advancement of economic theory, experts from university institutions across the United States will present findings on a range of subjects related to digital currencies, including investing in cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The session, Blockchain and Tokenomics, is scheduled to begin at 10:15am (3:15pm London time) at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotel.

Yesterday’s Highlights


Hyundai unveils walking car ahead of CES 2019

Technology will make humans more productive (not unemployed) in 2019, Think Tank predicts

Targeting the top 1% with luxury lifestyle brand Stefano Ricci

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