In the loop: Twitter tackles harassment while UK SMEs prepare for life outside the EU

The last seven days have seen Twitter doubling down on its fight against abuse, SMEs change tactics to survive Brexit and BrewDog launch a new crowdfunding campaign

In the loop: Twitter tackles harassment while UK SMEs prepare for life outside the EU

Twitter introduces tougher rules to fight abuse and harassment

Twitter has repeatedly been criticised for not doing enough to tackle hate speech and harassment. The breaking point came last week after the company removed actress Rose McGowan – who is one of the women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault – from the platform. In response, many women and celebrities chose to boycott the platform, deeming Twitter to be tone-deaf in its handling of the victims of sexual predators while at the same time seeming unwilling or unable to tackle the issue of harassment. Following the backlash, Twitter is now cracking down on the problem by introducing a new set of rules aimed at curbing abuse on its platform.

The new measures were outlined in an internal email first obtained by Wired and will be introduced over the next few weeks. Taking a tougher stance against harassment, Twitter will start to block, ban or mute users who post non-consensual nudity like upskirt photos or make unwanted sexual advances. Additionally, the tech company will take action against hate symbols, violent groups and tweets that glorify violence, including death threats.

While the exact scope of some of the sanctions are still to be fully detailed, it’s encouraging to see Twitter taking a stand against hate, violence and bigotry.

More than a third of SMEs are changing their strategy post-Brexit

Bear Grylls may not be the first person entrepreneurs think of when looking for business advice. Nevertheless, the survival expert’s creed to improvise, adapt and overcome clearly resonates with SMEs faced with the uncertainties of Brexit. In fact, new research reveals that 35% of small-business owners have changed their strategies as Britain’s break from the EU comes closer.

Having surveyed more than 1,000 SMEs, Albion Capital, the VC firm, found that over a fifth of those changing their strategies were investing in new offices outside the UK. Additionally, 21% were abandoning product and service developments, 17% were reducing costs and 17% were expanding their online presence.

These business leaders highlight the importance of evolving with the circumstances. Given that entrepreneurs need this ability to change to keep their companies afloat, it’s clear business head honchos may want to pay attention the next time Man vs. Wild pops up on the telly. Although, we’d advice against utilising some of Grylls’ more unsavoury dietary tips when struggling to survive long board meetings.

BrewDog launches fifth crowdfunding campaign

The company that once described itself as a “post-punk, apocalyptic, motherf***er of a craft brewery” is looking to open a new brewery in Australia. In a bid to ensure the success of its venture down under, BrewDog has just launched a new crowdfunding campaign.

This fifth so-called Equity For Punks raise will enable fans of the irreverent Scottish brewer to buy a minimum of two shares. While the goalposts are set at £10m, BrewDog believes the round could end up raising about £50m. And the company has reason to feel bullish about the potential success of the scheme: its previous four rounds added £41m to BrewDogs’ war chest. This new influx of capital would not only be used to set up breweries in Australia and Asia but also fund the opening of 15 new bars in the UK and to create a new craft beer TV network.

Never missing an opportunity to cheer for a British SME, we’re more than happy to raise a glass and wish BrewDog good luck with the campaign.

The Guardian launches new venture capital firm

From increasing online readership to debates about whether or not Facebook is a news organisation, it’s clear that the media landscape is changing. But rather than calling it quits, The Guardian aims to stay ahead of the curb by launching a VC fund dedicated to investing in media-tech startups.

The almost 200-year-old newspaper revealed on Wednesday that the new entity will be named GMG Ventures and will be in charge of £42m. Now the company is looking to invest in startups developing artificial-intelligence and machine-learning tools for journalism, adtech, technology that enriches user experience, payment solutions and new forms of content distribution.

Commenting on the launch, Alan Hudson, the newly appointed managing partner of GMG Ventures, said: “GMG Ventures is uniquely positioned to be a value-add investor. The Guardian is well-placed to understand the rapid changes to the news sector and the investment opportunities that disruption presents.”

And a traditional big company helping entrepreneurs secure their footing, that’s certainly a headline we can get behind.

Eric Johansson
Eric Johansson

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