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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Challenger bank Monzo launches accounts for 16-18 year olds

When weighing up the likely success of challenger banks in the U.K., two predominant schools of thought emerge.

Those who are bullish say that incumbent banks provide a lousy user experience, rip off customers, and innovate incredibly slowly — and therefore are ripe for the taking. Challenger banks just need to focus on what they do best and word of mouth-led switching will follow.

And then there are people who are less convinced who say that most consumers are happy enough with their current bank account and see no reason to switch. Besides, anything innovative a challenger does will be copied by incumbents eventually anyway.

But what if switching was only one means to customer acquisition? One argument I’ve sometimes made is that grabbing customers from a competing bank isn’t the only way to grow a challenger bank. Another customer segment is people who don’t have an existing current account, such as recent immigrants or young people who need to open their very first bank account.

In fact, incumbent banks have long targeted students, for example, with attractive student overdrafts or by setting up shop on university campuses. That’s how Barclays first won my business and why I still lazily bank with them today.

Enter challenger bank Monzo, which early on in its existence experimented with a Monzo ambassador program at a number of universities, with only limited success. Today the fintech is moving the funnel forward slightly by making its digital current account offering available to 16-18 year olds, opening up the bank to more than 1.5 million new young people.

Monzo says that 16 and 17 year old customers can sign up for a Monzo bank account today by downloading the app. They’ll then receive a contactless debit card in the post the next working day. Certain banking features, such as overdrafts and spending on gambling, will be blocked until customers turn 18.

With more than 860,000 registered account holders and set to cross 1 million accounts in the next few months, Monzo has employed a number strategies to grow customers, with a heavy emphasis on viral features and a fresh, young brand.

These have included making friend-to-friend payments easy, either to people who already bank with the startup, or via the Monzo.me service, which gives users a payment link to share with friends.

The idea, as Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield (picture above) often explains, is that unlike traditional incumbent banks that basically have zero network effects (perhaps beyond joint accounts), the challenger bank is designed to become more useful the more people who join it.

More recently, the challenger bank launched ‘Nearby Friends’, geolocation functionality that uses Bluetooth to let you see anyone else that uses Monzo who is nearby so that you can initiate a payment without needing their phone number to be in your contact book first.


Source: TechCrunch

Quantum Computing Will Create Jobs. But Which Ones?

A new bill aims to support a growing quantum industry by training a new cross-disciplinary workforce.
Source: Wired

Facebook has removed 4 Infowars pages — but not because of fake news

There’s yet more Alex Jones/Infowars news. Facebook yanked four of the conspiracy theorist’s videos from its platform last week, and now it has finally taken more stringent action after it removed four Infowars pages from the social network entirely.

Over the weekend Spotify, Stitcher and Apple all removed Infowars audio content from their platforms days after YouTube and then Facebook pulled four videos that were found to violate community standards.

A refresher for those who need it: Infowars has broadcast a range of conspiracy theories which have included claims 9/11 was an inside job and alternate theories to the San Bernardino shootings, while it has encouraged harassment of families of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting among other things

Yet despite much attention on the organization and its use of social media, Facebook’s efforts to handle Infowars have been confusing.

One of the four videos it removed had actually been cleared following a complaint one month ago, while the video purge saw Facebook hand a 30-day ban to Jones’ personal account but the Infowars page — where the content was posted — was able to continue on as normal. That was down to the Facebook system of warnings/accumulated warnings for content violations and nothing to do with peddling fake news. That’s apparently ok.

Indeed, the four Infowars pages that have been “unpublished” — the Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, the InfoWars Page and the Infowars Nightly News Page — were punished for “repeated violations of Community Standards and accumulating too many strikes” after more videos and content were reported to Facebook by users of the social network.

“Upon review, we have taken [the pages] down for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies,” the company explained in an announcement.

Facebook didn’t provide details of exactly which videos violated its policies and how, but it did say explicitly that its action were not related to fake news.

“Much of the discussion around Infowars has been related to false news, which is a serious issue that we are working to address by demoting links marked wrong by fact checkers and suggesting additional content, none of the violations that spurred today’s removals were related to this,” it said in a statement.

Facebook has opted to remain news-neutral, in the sense that only issues warnings based on community standards.

That’s a controversial stance — it is instead pursuing a policy of fact-checking information and letting users make their own mind — but irrespective of whether you agree with that approach, its actions over the past week are problematic because they don’t scale. They rely squarely on the community flagging content in the first instance.

It isn’t clear why Facebook wasn’t able to conduct a more thorough analysis of these Infowars pages last week, when the initial complaints first rolled in. You’d imagine that there’s been enough interest in the topic to warrant a proactive investigation.

Instead, it has taken another week and more reporting of content from users to reach the inevitable conclusion that Infowars has more than just four offensive videos (!) and therefore its pages should be removed(!).

Facebook has chosen to police content based on community guidelines and not the accuracy of information, but the fact it takes so long to take action on the most obvious bad actors doesn’t bode well for finding other, less obvious pages lurking out there that also fall foul of its standards.

Based on that system, it will always be playing catch up. Given the damage that false information can have across its services — from swaying elections to encouraging lynchings, religious violence and more — that simply isn’t good enough.


Source: TechCrunch

Huawei faces cybersecurity questions after Britain finds 'shortcomings' – CNET

The Chinese company’s use of aging US software may expose the UK’s telecoms to hacking.
Source: CNET

Brother HL-L2395DW review: I finally found an affordable printer I don't hate – CNET

Pick up this basic monochrome Brother laser printer when it’s on sale for $99 and your printing frustrations will disappear.
Source: CNET

Brother HL-3170CDW review: A cheap and charming color laser printer – CNET

This basic color laser printer (technically it uses a different light, not a laser) just plain works, which is more than I can say for most color inkjets I’ve tried.
Source: CNET

Who's Responsible for Your Bad Tech Habits? It's Complicated

As the conversation around tech is increasingly framed in terms of its impact on public health, the question of responsibility for our lopsided relationship with digital devices becomes more fraught.
Source: Wired

Meet the Tempest, the UK’s Very British Fighter Jet

With both allies and adversaries in doubt, an aircraft concept that looks out for numero uno.
Source: Wired

Google Faces Hurdles in China Beyond Censorship

New cybersecurity laws require data to be stored in China, offering government officials easier access.
Source: Wired

The Alex Jones Lawsuit Will Redefine Free Speech, Win or Loose

The infamous conspiracy theorist is being sued for claiming the parents of a child killed in the Sandy Hook shooting were “crisis actors” paid by gun control activists. But also on trial is what it means to speak freely on internet.
Source: Wired

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