Boardroom briefing: regulator focuses on Google and Facebook, emojis at work and shorter working weeks


A new report suggests it is time to combat the market power of Google and Facebook, using emojis at work or to promote a business can deliver positive results, and shorter workweeks could help increase productivity and loyalty. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

Time to better regulate Google and Facebook?

Social media stats in Papua New Guinea. Credit: StatCounter

Google and Facebook own the four most popular websites in Papua New Guinea, which is enough reason to pay close attention to the final report into the social media platforms released last week by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC’s enquiry was wide-ranging; its 23 recommendations are aimed at combating the market power of the social media giants, providing better consumer protection and addressing some privacy issues.

Notably, the market dominance of the twosome is now considered so great that the ACCC is recommending government funding be granted to establish a special digital division to proactively monitor and investigate ‘instances of potentially anti-competitive conduct and conduct causing consumer harm by digital platforms’.

The ACCC is also suggesting that all media, including social media platforms, fall under the same regulatory framework to ‘level the playing field’ in Australia’s media and advertising markets. A Digital Ombudsman is also suggested.

Interestingly, the ACCC report also argued for more assistance for legacy media, including state-owned broadcasters and local journalism, and for the teaching of ‘digital media literacy’ in schools to counter fake news.

If accepted, the ACCC’s recommendations will constitute the first serious attempt to rein in the global tech giants in our region, and follow on from reasonably successful attempts by the Australian Tax Office to get them to pay more tax too. Hope the IRC and ICCC are watching.

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Using emojis can help to improve your likeability at work

Adobe unveiled the results of their first emoji survey. Credit: Adobe

Adobe unveiled the results of its first Emoji Trend Report on World Emoji Day, which is celebrated on 17 July. The document provides an analysis of the way in which people aged 16-73 use emojis (fun characters used in conversations via text, social media and emails) to express ideas and emotions with different cohorts.

According to the survey, 78 per cent of users feel that including emojis in their work-related emails or texts has a positive impact on their likeability and 63 per cent believe they also impact their credibility in a positive way. In fact, a whooping 74 per cent mentioned that emojis make positive work-related news more sincere.

The smiley faces can also help your business. According to the report, 58 per cent of people said that seeing an emoji in a subject line makes it more likely for them to open an email from a brand, and 44 per cent said they would buy a product that is advertised with emojis.

Perhaps the time has come to give them a try.

Four-day working weeks could boost productivity

According to Bill Castellano, Professor at Rutgers’ School of Management and Labour Relations, when businesses offer staff flexible schedules, companies usually see ‘an increase in productivity’. Castellano suggests that people who have flexibility at work feel reciprocity and hence want to give back to the company.

A company that has started to see results is Wildbit. Two years ago, it experimented with a short workweek and now it is their policy. Wildbit co-founder and CEO, Natalie Nagele, told CNN Business that ‘we are getting the same amount of work done, we are just being smarter about it. I am not asking people to do less.’

The key to making short weeks work for everyone isn’t rocket science. Castellano suggests setting realistic, measurable goals that are reviewed often to ensure progress.


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