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February 4, 2019updated 01 Feb 2019 3:29pm

Facebook turns 15 / Alphabet results amid GDPR challenge / UK’s absent workers hit yearly high

By Lucy Ingham

3 THINGS THAT WILL CHANGE THE WORLD TODAY

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

Facebook turns 15

Today sees Facebook celebrate its 15th birthday. However, the social media has already been in more trouble than most 15-year-olds after a year of scandal, and its popularity is on the decline.

Ex-Harvard graduate Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild made a record $6.88bn in profits in the last quarter, but just like your average teenager its growth is unlikely to continue into its 20s.

Behind this is the fact that “Facebook is now not cool,” said Dr Ben Marder, senior lecturer in marketing at the University of Edinburgh’s Business School. It’s a horrible truth for any teen, but Marder gave Facebook age-old advice: “Stop trying to be cool.”

Instagram and Snapchat may be more desirable platforms and appeal to a younger crowd, but we can safely bet that this won’t be the last birthday celebrated by Mark and his social network.

But perhaps Facebook can be better than its users in its 16th year, and finally grow up and take some responsibility.

Alphabet announces results amid GDPR challenge

Google’s parent company Alphabet will today announce fourth quarter 2018 results.

While these are generally expected to be relatively unremarkable, recent issues at the company may play a role.

Most significant is the €50m GDPR fine levied against the company by French authorities, which the company is currently appealing.

This is expected to be addressed during the investors’ call, with additional details about how the company plans to respond likely.

UK’s absent workers hit yearly high

Today UK businesses will take a significant productivity hit as absenteeism reaches its highest of the year.

The first Monday in February is informally known as National Sickie Day, due to the number of people who call in sick each year.

The phenomenon is blamed on a combination of post-Christmas blues, poor weather and a long wait until summer, which take a toll on employees’ mental and physical health.

The day comes shortly after after think tank Autonomy published recommendations for a four-day working week in response to automation.

Friday’s Highlights

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Can automation deliver the utopian dream of a shorter working week?

Seven blockchain startups going beyond cryptocurrency

Leave.EU fined and faces audit for unlawful Brexit email campaign