232.13 +0.22 (0.09%)
Pre-Market: 8:24AM EDT
|Bid||232.33 x 2200|
|Ask||232.96 x 2200|
|Day's Range||223.50 - 232.44|
|52 Week Range||137.10 - 240.90|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||1.16|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||31.82|
|Earnings Date||Jul. 22, 2020 - Jul. 27, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||241.81|
Lost in the news of the George Floyd protests against police brutality and racism in the U.S., Facebook last week quietly noted it will now require Facebook profile pages with large followings in the U.S. to verify their identity. If the profile's owner chooses not to verify their identity or the ID provided does not match the linked Facebook account, the distribution of the profile's viral post will continue to be reduced so fewer people will see it, the company explains. In addition, if the profile that's posting is also a Facebook Page admin, they'll need to complete the Page Publishing Authorization and won't be able to post from their Page until the account is verified through Facebook's systems.
Some Facebook employees are virtually walking out today to challenge the company's lack of response to President Donald Trump's posts pertaining to protests in light of the brutal killing of George Floyd. Employees participating in the protest requested time off and then added an out-of-office response to their emails notifying senders they are protesting, The New York Times reports. Facebook has since acknowledged the walkout and said it will not require employees to use their paid time off.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg hosted a nearly hour-long video call with U.S. civil rights leaders to discuss ongoing issues around his company’s policies as they relate to race, elections and other topics. But participants were left disappointed, according to Color of Change President Rashad Robinson, who concluded that Zuckerberg can’t fully grasp the change they seek.In an interview with Bloomberg News immediately after the call, Robinson said that “the problem with my ongoing conversations with Mark, is that I feel like I spent a lot of time, and my colleagues spent a lot of time, explaining to him why these things are a problem, and I think he just very much lacks the ability to understand it.”These comments come at a time when the U.S. is roiled by daily protests for racial justice triggered by the death of George Floyd, an African-American man, while in police custody in Minneapolis. Facebook has come in for criticism from within its own ranks, with an upswell of dismay among employees after the CEO adopted a hands-off approach to messages posted by President Donald Trump that seemed to threaten violence with the words “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”Read more: Facebook Worker Unrest Rises With Walkout, Criticism of CEO“His employees are outraged,” said Robinson. “I’ve got outreach from some of them. Saying Black Lives Matter, saying I’m going to give money, but having your policies actually hurt black people, people will know the difference.” Some of the company’s senior staff have taken to Twitter to make their discontent public.Facebook didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. In a statement sent to Axios, Facebook said it was “grateful that leaders in the civil rights community took the time to share candid, honest feedback.” The company added that “it is an important moment to listen, and we look forward to continuing these conversations.”Robinson also recently spoke up at a Facebook shareholder meeting and said he’s had dinner at Zuckerberg’s home and been on other calls with the CEO to talk about similar topics. Joining the Monday call was Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. All of this effort from Facebook’s executive team suggests the company is serious at least about bringing civil rights leaders on its side, however Robinson expressed more frustration than hope.“He continues to do things and make decisions that hurt communities and put people in harm’s way and is not accountable for it,” said Robinson.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The coronavirus came relatively late to Yemen, but even with advance notice it has still been ravaged by the disease.With the war-torn country divided between three competing authorities, its economy and health systems shattered, and malnutrition and disease already rife, the outbreak faced few obstacles. Yemen’s most strategically important city, Aden, now has the highest Covid-19 mortality rate among confirmed cases in the world at 70%, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said May 28.Even during the harrowing last five years of conflict, Yemenis flooded Facebook through the holy month of Ramadan with greetings and photographs of fasts being broken. This year, though, their posts were often messages of condolence.“It has turned from a Facebook to a Deathbook in Yemen,” Sami Ghaleb, political analyst and founder of al-Nida newspaper, said of the outpouring on social media. “The sorrows of Yemenis are a sea without shores.”While figures released by officials put fatalities at a few hundred since Yemen’s first virus case was reported mid-April, online comments as well as accounts from medics and those preparing graves suggest the actual number is far higher, and rising rapidly. In a worse-case scenario, the World Health Organization sees at least 65,000 deaths, and about half a million hospitalizations.An outbreak on that scale would add to the unraveling of a country located on a maritime passage through which nearly four million barrels of oil are shipped daily to Europe, the U.S. and Asia, and enhance the chaos that al-Qaeda and Islamic State have been exploiting to reestablish a presence.Besides, “if we do not combat the virus everywhere, there’s a high likelihood that it will continue to circle the planet,” said Jens Laerke, spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Richer nations must make an investment in humanity, he said.Read More: How Yemen’s Civil Strife Became a Brutal Proxy WarThat’s why on Tuesday the UN is co-hosting a virtual donor conference, looking for $2.4 billion to fund programs that assist 80% of Yemen’s 28 million people.The event’s other sponsor is, controversially, Saudi Arabia. Since 2015, the Saudi military has led an Arab coalition seeking to restore the government ousted by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels. The fighting has killed 100,000 people, with another 131,000 dying from hunger, disease and lack of medical care, a UN-commissioned report found last year.Asked by email about the kingdom’s participation given its role in the war, Laerke said Saudi Arabia has provided “large amounts of money with no strings attached” that helped beat back a looming famine in Yemen and control a cholera epidemic. He added that the UN has called on all parties, including the Saudis, to adhere to international humanitarian law that prohibits targeting health facilities, something that’s happened on scores of occasions during the war.Saudi Arabia, which is struggling with its own coronavirus outbreak and shares a long, hard-to-control border with Yemen, plans to donate $500 million to the effort, according to its ambassador to the country.Only half Yemen’s hospitals and clinics are still functioning, and medics say they have turned Covid-19 patients away because of a lack of ventilators, oxygen and personal protection equipment. Testing is almost non-existent.In the southern port city of Aden, where some of the first virus clusters erupted, residents have had to clear streets following heavy rains and flash floods in mid-April that piled up mud and garbage. In places, sewage mixes with pools of stagnant water.The city has been under the control of United Arab Emirates-backed separatists since last year after they expelled the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, the leader Saudi Arabia wants to restore to power over all Yemen. The two are supposed to be allies in the fight against the northern Houthis but have turned on each other.As they battle in a nearby province, the coronavirus is spreading in Aden. Mosques remain open, while markets and shops are crowded despite orders to close, highlighting the difficulties in enforcing a lockdown when most people depend on a daily income, and electricity supply is limited to about four hours a day.“How can we observe social distancing and home isolation when we can’t keep food and vegetables fresh in the fridge?” Abeer Karim, a resident, said by phone. Ginger, lemons and oranges are scarce as people try home remedies to ward off infection, she said. Food prices are rising.Fearful of being stigmatized, relatives of virus victims are reluctant to share their stories, with most blaming “fever” or other diseases that have taken hold in the city, like dengue or chikungunya. But the evidence is mounting of a growing Covid-19 toll.Authorities in Aden are issuing far more death certificates each day than before the outbreak. The price of a grave cloth has gone up by almost 50%, costing more than 15,000 rials ($60), residents say. While in Sana’a the price of a grave has risen to 70,000 rials from 30,000.Sana’a, the capital, is run by the Houthis. They’ve announced just four cases and one death, and have been accused by the Hadi government and medics of covering up cases. Last week, they acknowledged the virus has spread to a multiple areas, including Sana’a, without providing figures. They’ve allowed mass gatherings and encouraged families and friends to attend funerals.“If we do not get the money coming in, the programs that are keeping people alive, are very much essential to fighting back against Covid, will have to close,” the UN’s Laerke said. “And then the world will have to witness in a country what happens without a functioning health system battling Covid. And I do not think the world wants to see that.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Western Union Co. is seeking to acquire MoneyGram International Inc. in a transaction that would bring together two of the largest U.S. providers of money-transfer services, according to a person familiar with the matter.Western Union has made a takeover offer for MoneyGram, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. No decision has been made and Western Union could opt to proceed without a deal, the person said.Representatives for Western Union and MoneyGram declined to comment.The business has been in decline as more people use online payments. Financial-technology upstarts have taken aim at the industry, offering strong new competition to established companies. Meanwhile, policy makers are intent on trimming the fees associated with moving money around the world.MoneyGram rose as high as 74% in late trading Monday. The stock closed up 6.2% to $2.59, giving the company a market value of about $164 million. It also has about $878 million of debt. Western Union rose 3.5% to $20.71 for a market value of about $8.5 billion.Dallas-based MoneyGram has struggled during the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced it to shutter operations around the globe as governments imposed shelter-in-place orders. While MoneyGram has boosted digital transactions, they made up just 18% of its money transfers in the first quarter, the company reported last month.Last year, Facebook Inc. joined with companies from around the world to form the Libra Association to offer a new way to send payments overseas. At the time, the association lamented that low-income consumers often pay too much for financial services.Governments and regulators around the world have long sought to cut the cost of remittances, which often cater to migrants who lack access to traditional bank accounts. On average, it costs $6.79 for every $100 in remittances sent overseas, according to data compiled by the World Bank.Ant Financial Services Group, the Chinese financial services conglomerate, agreed to acquire MoneyGram in 2017 but abandoned the deal after pushback from national security regulators in the U.S.(Updates with fintechs, regulators, industry scope starting in first paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. employees became increasingly bold in expressing their dismay at Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s decision not to take action on incendiary comments posted to the social network by U.S. President Donald Trump, tweeting out criticisms and staging a virtual walkout.After the president tweeted a message with the words “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” in response to protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Twitter Inc. for the first time obscured one of his posts, marking it with a warning that it breached service rules by glorifying violence. Facebook’s response to the same content, in a post from Zuckerberg on Friday, was to say, “We think people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force.”Several senior figures at Facebook declared their strong disagreement online over the weekend, and some employees -- working from home because of the pandemic -- held a virtual walkout, deciding not to log in to work on Monday in protest.“Mark is wrong, and I will endeavor in the loudest possible way to change his mind,” said Ryan Freitas, director of product design for Facebook’s News Feed. “I apologize if you were waiting for me to have some sort of external opinion. I focused on organizing 50+ likeminded folks into something that looks like internal change.”“Giving a platform to incite violence and spread disinformation is unacceptable, regardless who you are or if it’s newsworthy,” wrote Andrew Crow, head of design for Facebook’s Portal product line.Joining them with individual messages against the passive policy were Design Manager Jason Stirman, Director of Product Management Jason Toff, and Product Designer Sara Zhang, who tweeted that “Internally we are voicing our concerns, so far to no avail.” One entire engineering team walked out, using a logo that displayed a fist with a heart and the hashtag takeaction. Many tweets quote Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a South African human rights activist: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”Daniel Lo Nigro, a senior front-end developer at Facebook, said he hopes something positive comes from the effort. “I’ve been at the company nearly seven years and I have never seen a protest or walkout anywhere near this large,” he said on Twitter.Read more: Facebook Appeases Trump as Twitter Spars With Him Over PostsIn a post late Sunday, Zuckerberg said Facebook is committing “an additional $10 million to groups working on racial justice.” Noting that the company “has more work to do to keep people safe and ensure our systems don’t amplify bias,” the CEO did not address the concern surrounding Trump’s posts on the platform. Trump made a phone call to Zuckerberg on Friday to discuss the situation, according to people familiar with the matter. Zuckerberg expressed disappointment in Trump’s tone and told him he was putting Facebook in a difficult position, the people said. Facebook had earlier reached out to the White House to see if Trump would change the post. The communication was earlier reported by Axios.It’s rare for Facebook employees to speak publicly about internal activity unless they have permission from the communications team. The Menlo Park, California-based company in the past has punished and discouraged leaking. Now, Facebook has changed that approach.“We recognize the pain many of our people are feeling right now, especially our Black community. We encourage employees to speak openly when they disagree with leadership,” a Facebook spokesperson said Monday in a statement. “As we face additional difficult decisions around content ahead, we’ll continue seeking their honest feedback.” Employees walking out won’t have to use up one of their vacation days for the time off, Facebook said, and on Tuesday Zuckerberg will address the situation in a companywide meeting.(Updates with Trump call to Zuckerberg in seventh paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) is getting heat for its inaction to inflammatory posts by President Trump, including a virtual walk-out by some of its employees, the New York Times reports. Employees across the company are expressing outrage over Mark Zuckerberg's decision to leave up President's Trump incendiary comments regarding rioters. Twitter (NYSE: TWTR), in contrast, flagged the message with a warning.
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Online shopping is seeing a surge amid the pandemic, presenting Facebook with a big opportunity if it can succeed in a market that has long been out of its reach.
Reuters saw dozens of online posts from employees critical of Zuckerberg's decision to leave Trump's most inflammatory verbiage unchallenged where Twitter had labeled it. It was a rare case of staff publicly taking their CEO to task, with one employee tweeting that thousands participated. Among them were all seven engineers on the team maintaining the React code library which supports Facebook's apps.
(Bloomberg) -- Google has taken aggressive action to scrub coronavirus conspiracies from its news service and YouTube, at a time when social media companies have come under intense scrutiny for their potential to spread dangerous disinformation about the global pandemic. It has begun labeling misleading videos aimed at U.S. audiences, and has joined with other major internet companies to coordinate a response against what the World Health Organization has described as an “infodemic.”But Google is also placing advertisements on websites that publish the theories, helping their owners generate revenue and continue their operations. In at least one instance, Google has run ads featuring a conspiracist it has already banned.One ad for Veeam, an independent Microsoft 365 backup service, appeared atop one website featuring an article that includes false claims that Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates’s charitable efforts on pandemics and vaccines are a part of a world domination plot. A Microsoft Teams ad ran with a French language article that alleged Gates tried to bribe Nigerian lawmakers to vote for a Covid-19 vaccine. An ad for the telecommunications provider O2 showed up on another article linking the virus to 5G networks, a common conspiracy theory. The ads were placed through Google’s automated system for matching marketers with websites. The Global Disinformation Index, a research group, recently reviewed 49 sites running baseless claims about the virus, including the stories about Gates and 5G networks. Alphabet Inc.'s Google placed ads on 84% of them, generating the majority of the $135,000 in revenue the sites earned each month, according to the Global Disinformation Index’s estimate.Google has faced criticism for funding hyper-partisan publishers such as Breitbart News in the past. The company has avoided making blanket policies about which publishers can run its ads. Instead, it removes ads only from the specific pages carrying content that violates its content policies. It also allows advertisers to blacklist specific sites. The company has been particularly reluctant to take action with political ramifications now that the Trump administration is taking concrete action to punish companies that it argues show bias against conservative viewpoints. Christa Muldoon, a Google spokesperson, said none of the web pages flagged by the Global Disinformation Index violated its policies. “We are deeply committed to elevating quality content across Google products and that includes protecting our users from medical misinformation. Any time we find publishers that violate our policies, we take immediate action,” she said.‘A Huge Issue’ Google's network ad system is a massive machine for automatically generating money for its owner. Websites apply for Google's program, and they add display banners and pop-ups advertisements to their pages. Google's system automatically fills these slots with digital marketing and takes about 30% of the revenue they generate. Although Google offers a level of control to its marquee advertisers, the self-service system sometimes places ads for brands on websites with which they’d prefer not to be associated.Google’s systems have recently placed ads for eBay Inc., Oracle Corp. and HBO on websites like activistpost.com, thegatewaypundit.com and thewashingtonstandard.com, all of which routinely publish conspiracy theories, according to the Global Disinformation Index.Another company that placed ads on the sites in the study was Criteo SA. When contacted by a reporter about an ad mentioned in the report, Luca Sesti, a spokesman for the company, said it was breaking off its commercial relationship with the website in question, thegatewaypundit.com. “In the event we find a partner is not adhering to our policies, we will terminate the relationship immediately,” he said. “We recognize that the dissemination of inaccurate information through ‘fake news’ is a very real problem on the internet.”Often the ads the researchers found made for uncomfortable pairings. The O2 ad ran alongside an article promoting false claims that 5G wireless technology causes people to experience symptoms of coronavirus because it "poisons their cells." “This is a huge issue that Google needs to tackle now,” said Craig Fagan, program director at the Global Disinformation Index. “It is creating a financial incentive for these websites to continue promoting the conspiracy theories. You go to these sites and there are ads galore, pop ups everywhere. The ads are there to get clicks, monetizing each reader.”A Banned Provocateur ReturnsIn one case, Google accepted ad revenue from a company promoting a conspiracy theorist it tried to remove from its own platforms. In early May, YouTube removed the account of David Icke, a British provocateur who often ranted about "Rothschild Zionists" controlling global institutions and has questioned the efficacy of vaccines. In a recent interview about Covid-19, he said that 5G makes people sick and sends out signals that can control their emotions. Icke had posted on YouTube for more than 14 years.Guillaume Chaslot, a former Google engineer and founder of the research group AlgoTransparency, estimated that Icke’s YouTube channel gained 200,000 subscribers during March and April, when he largely touted unproven theories about the virus. Chaslot's research tracks how often YouTube's recommendation system sends viewers to particular videos and channels. In a 10-year span, YouTube promoted Icke's videos about a billion times.YouTube removed Icke’s account for violating its rules about coronavirus disinformation. Since then, Icke has appeared on other YouTube channels and in YouTube ads for Gaia Inc., a streaming network that promotes yoga and alternative healing. "We have to break out of this perceptual prison," Icke said in a voice-over during an ad that ran weeks after his ban. Gaia's network runs several shows featuring Icke. On a recent earnings call, Gaia executives said YouTube had become a "pretty significant" way to get new subscribers.Gaia didn’t respond to requests for comment. Imran Ahmed, chief executive officer of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a U.K. nonprofit, argues that social media platforms should remove Icke entirely. “In a pandemic, lies cost lives," said Ahmed. "Misinformed people put us all at risk through their reckless actions.” His group estimated that Icke earned about $177,000 a year from YouTube ads before the ban.Jaymie Icke, a spokesman for Icke's video service Ickonic, said the earnings estimate was inaccurate because YouTube has restricted ads on controversial videos for several years. "Revenue is nothing and has been for a while," said Icke, who is David Icke’s son. "They removed all ads from the channel two months prior to the full deletion anyway. So that figure has simply been made up."Icke and others blocked from the site are allowed to appear on other accounts and in ads as long as those videos don't break rules, according to Muldoon, the Google spokesperson. While web giants like Google have tried to handle conspiracy theories on their user-generated services, they have also tried to reform their ad systems to handle the growing problem. In October 2018, Google and Facebook Inc. signed a European Union code of conduct on disinformation that contained a commitment to “improve the scrutiny of advertisement placements to reduce revenues of the purveyors of disinformation.”According to Fagan, however, the issue remains a blind spot for the companies. Some of the conspiracy websites attract a large number of visitors, promoting their content across social media platforms.The 49 websites promoting Covid-19 conspiracies that were reviewed by the Global Disinformation Index were just a small sample and offer a snapshot of a much larger program, Fagan said. Last year, the Global Disinformation Index published a study of about 20,000 websites promoting disinformation and conspiracy theories. It estimated that they were generating $235 million every year in advertising revenue, approximately $86.7 million of which was paid out by Google.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The Minneapolis Police Department’s website has shown signs of a cyber-attack since late Saturday, days after a video purported to be from the hacktivist group Anonymous promised retribution for the death of George Floyd during an arrest.Websites for the police department and the city of Minneapolis were temporarily inaccessible on Saturday as protesters in cities around the U.S. marched against police violence aimed at black Americans.By Sunday morning, the pages sometimes required visitors to submit “captchas” to verify they weren’t bots, a tool used to mitigate hacks that attempt to overwhelm pages with automated requests until they stop responding.Officials with the police department and the city didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.Anonymous posted a video on their unconfirmed Facebook page on May 28 directed at the Minneapolis police. The post accused them of having a “horrific track record of violence and corruption.”The speaker, wearing a hoodie and the Guy Fawkes mask that’s a well-known symbol of the group, concludes the video with, “we do not trust your corrupt organization to carry out justice, so we will be exposing your many crimes to the world. We are a legion. Expect us.”The video was viewed about 2.7 million times on Facebook, during a weekend in which violence swept the U.S. as protesters clashed with law enforcement and National Guard troops.While many demonstrations have been peaceful, others have devolved into rioting. Several cities issued curfews and police have at times turned their rubber bullets and mace on the activists and on journalists covering the protests.President Donald Trump on Sunday cast blame on the media for stoking the violence that’s followed the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minnesota police custody.Anonymous began appearing as a loose collective of hacktivists around 2003, emerging from message boards like 4chan, and launching attacks against organizations from the Church of Scientology to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the terrorist group ISIS. Among their other targets were Mastercard Inc., white supremacists and members of the Ku Klux Klan.During the Arab Spring in 2011, its hackers took down government websites in Tunisia and Egypt and would go on to infiltrate government websites with distributed denial of service attacks in Malaysia, India, Syria, China and Nigeria.A 2012 cyber attack on PayPal in retaliation for shutting off service to Julian Assange’s Wikileaks cost the company millions.In 2014, Anonymous attacked Ferguson City Hall’s website after Michael Brown was shot and killed, prompting riots throughout the city. The group threatened the St. Louis County police chief with the public release of his personal family information if he didn’t release the name of the police officer who shot Brown. A member of the group initially misidentified the officer. The group then went on to threaten police and the local government with cyber-attacks if protesters were abused or harassed.In the years since several of its members have been arrested and charged with computer crimes and hacking attacks. Among them was Deric Lostutter, who in 2017 was sentenced to two years in federal prison for hacking a high school football team’s website in connection with a 2012 rape case.Last November, James Robinson was sentenced to six years in prison for distributed denial of service attacks on police and local government in Akron, Ohio in 2017.(Updates with Anonymous background from 10th paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
OTTAWA , June 2, 2020 /CNW/ - Ministers and Government of Canada officials will hold a news conference to provide an update on coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Date June 2, 2020 Time 12:00 PM (EDT) Location ...
Facebook employees are speaking out about CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his decision not to remove a post from President Donald Trump that they believe breached company policy on inciting violence. Employees - like Andrew Crow, head of design for Facebook's Portal product - have taken to Twitter - writing comments such as "giving a platform to incite violence and spread disinformation is unacceptable" after Trump last week shared a message on Twitter and Facebook saying "when the looting starts, the shooting starts.", referring to protests that have erupted across the U.S. over the death of George Floyd, an African-American man killed by a white Minneapolis police officer. And while Twitter added a warning label to the Tweet, Facebook declined to take action. Zuckerberg defended the decision, saying that while he found Trump's remarks "deeply offensive," they did not violate company policy against incitements to violence and people should know if the government was planning to deploy state force. Ryan Freitas, whose Twitter account identifies him as director of product design for Facebook's News Feed said "Mark is wrong, and I will endeavor in the loudest possible way to change his mind." While, Jason Toff, identified as director of product management, wrote: "I work at Facebook and I am not proud of how we’re showing up." While many workers at tech companies have actively pursued issues of social justice in recent years, the weekend criticism marked a rare case of high-level employees publicly taking their chief executive to task. Some even praised Twitter. David Gillis, identified as a director of product design at Facebook, said "Respect to @Twitter’s integrity team for making the enforcement call." And taking it a step further, on Monday, dozens of Facebook employees took part in a virtual walkout - according to the New York Times - by logging into Facebook’s systems and requesting time off to support protesters across the country.
President Donald Trump’s increasingly heated feud with Twitter may be good for social media impressions, but may not be legally enforceable, according to experts.
The company does not expect to need additional staff for the undertaking, Twitter spokeswoman Liz Kelley said on Saturday. Fact-checking groups said they welcomed Twitter's new approach, which adds a "get the facts" tag linking to more information, but said they hoped the company would more clearly lay out its methodology and reasoning. On Friday, Chief Executive Jack Dorsey acknowledged the criticism, saying he agreed fact-checking "should be open source and thus verifiable by everyone."
May.30 -- Teddy Goff, Founding Partner at Precision Strategies, and former Obama re-election digital director, talks about claims that Twitter is censoring President Donald Trump's tweets. He appears on "Bloomberg Technology."
Online sales have exploded during the coronavirus pandemic, as consumers try to stay home more. Online sales at Walmart, Target, and Best Buy in the first quarter increased by 74%, 141%, and 155%, respectively. Meanwhile, the 800-pound gorilla that is Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) continued its steady march, growing global online sales by 24% (Amazon's fiscal quarter ends a month before the other retailers mentioned).
Instagram is going to share some revenue with users. The move could generate billions in revenue for the Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) subsidiary and put it in greater competition with Alphabet's (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) YouTube for both talent and ad sales. For reference, YouTube generated $15 billion in gross revenue last year.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- It was a momentous week for social media. After years of trying to have it both ways, Twitter — one of the industry’s major platforms — moved to hold President Donald Trump accountable for the content in his posts under the same rules it applies to the general public. This decision to regulate some of Trump’s most controversial posts has now sparked a blacklash from the president, and spawned a new uncertain chapter for the industry.It all started on Tuesday, when Twitter Inc. added a fact-check warning label to two of president’s posts about mail-in voting. In response, Trump threatened in a set of tweets Wednesday to “strongly regulate or close” down social-media platforms. He followed up by signing an executive order late Thursday that seeks to limit some of the broad liability protection social media companies have under federal law. Undaunted, Twitter escalated the situation early Friday by putting up a notice that obscured one of the president’s posts about protests in Minneapolis, which included the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter said it violated the platform’s rules on “glorifying violence.” The back-and-forth will likely continue, but either way, this is a turning point. Historically, Twitter and Facebook have walked a fine line when regulating content on their platforms, flagging or removing the most egregious posts while turning a blind eye to some polarizing content, including potentially misleading posts from elected officials. Critics have argued social media firms are incentivized to elevate content with binary takes that spur outrage, often with misinformation, as it drives more viral engagement over nuanced discussion with context. On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported Facebook had glossed over internal research that showed its algorithms were feeding users more and more divisive content.Facebook has implemented a fact-checking program that reduces the distribution of false news, while Facebook and Twitter require the removal of hateful and threatening posts and employ algorithms to help them detect and deter the spread of misinformation by the general public. The social media firms have vigorously shuttered posts on anything that threatens physical harm, but have generally shied away from regulating posts from politicians, citing political free speech and newsworthiness factors. So the flagging of Trump’s posts marks a departure.Conspicuously, Facebook has taken a different tack than its competitor. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Fox News this week, “We have a different policy than, I think, Twitter on this,” referring to Twitter’s fact-check labels on the president’s mail-in voting posts. He added his company “shouldn't be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online.” Zuckerberg’s position to shy away from the controversy is curious, given Facebook does have an official policy to regulate anything that could promotes “voter suppression.” Clearly, there is a line there. For Twitter, led by CEO Jack Dorsey, the platform’s actions followed inflammatory tweets from the president in which he posited conspiracy theories alleging, without evidence, that cable-TV news host Joe Scarborough may be involved with a murder decades ago. Twitter’s lack of action on the conspiracy posts spurred wide criticism questioning why Trump was being held to a different standard, versus the average user. If anyone else had tweeted something similar in such a blatant manner against the rules, their account would have likely been suspended or shut down. Twitter’s terms of service clearly says: “Abuse/harassment: You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so.” It seems the added spotlight may have pushed Twitter to move this week.Will it hurt Twitter? The company’s shares have taken a hit, for sure — the stock fell 9 percent in the past three days. But Twitter has had many single days with bigger declines. Moreover, Twitter and Dorsey have endured multiple attacks from the left and right, without seeing users or advertisers flee. Now, with another presidential election just months away, they made a calculated gamble that it was time to take a stand. It will be hard to retreat from here.When the dust settles, Trump’s threats will likely be seen as political theater without any lasting ramifications for Twitter’s business. Technology companies will challenge the president’s executive order in court on the grounds he can’t unilaterally change precedent without Congressional approval. Yes, there may be additional legal fees, but the executive order’s effects aren’t imminent and it will likely get struck down by the courts in time. The irony is, if Twitter does lose its legal protections and can be sued for defamatory content generated by its users, Trump’s Twitter account would be the prime candidate for deleted posts as the company would try to protect itself from lawsuits. Of course, the last thing the president is going to want to do is give up his direct line to his nearly 80 million followers. For all his bluster, he needs Twitter and doesn’t really have the power to shut down the service.As Twitter tightens its policy, it must also make sure its senior executives are held to a higher standard in all their public conduct as well — including vetting its new leadership when they are elevated to crucial policy roles. This is important, so the company doesn’t to open itself up to criticism or perceptions of bias under the current microscope of scrutiny. But at the end of it all, this week’s shift is an important step. Twitter is doing the right thing and that counts for something.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tae Kim is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Barron's, following an earlier career as an equity analyst.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. President Donald Trump unleashed fury at Twitter Inc. this week for fact-checking him and putting a warning label on a message that seemed to invoke violence. But that anger has been channeled through his favorite medium -- Twitter itself -- which is likely to be good for the company’s business, despite Trump’s harangue.“Look at how much he uses Twitter,” said Rich Greenfield, an analyst at Lightshed Partners. “Advertisers want to be where eyeballs are, and people are turning to Twitter for this news.”For years the San Francisco-based company has been under pressure to enforce its content rules against Trump. This week, for the first time, the social network took action in two separate instances. First, it appended a fact-check label to two Trump posts that said mail-in voting would lead to fraud. Then, on Friday, Twitter added a warning filter to other tweets for violating its rules against promoting violence. The actions prompted retaliation from Trump, including more angry tweets and an executive order calling for social media regulations to change.Attention is Twitter’s most valuable asset. Though the company may be facing serious questions about its approach to troublesome content, its revenue comes from the ads it can slot between users’ posts -- the more posts, the more slots Twitter can make money from. During busier news cycles, such as elections and sports events, and even the coronavirus pandemic, new users tend to sign up and spend more time on their feeds. Trump has made Twitter more essential, since much of what the president says shows up on Twitter first.Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey’s job was threatened earlier this year -- not by Trump, but by Elliott Management, an activist investor that called for changes including boosting usage of the product, which is a fraction of Facebook’s size. The company in March reached an agreement with Elliott that set ambitious targets for daily active users, accelerated revenue growth and greater market share in digital advertising. Those goals seemed even tougher in late March, when Twitter slashed its quarterly sales forecast and warned of a loss because marketers were spending less during the economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.The summer Olympics and professional sports leagues may not be giving users a reason to tune in to Twitter right now, but Trump’s tussle with the company is its own kind of must-watch contest.“My guess is that the controversy spurs engagement, or at least doesn’t reduce engagement,” said Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.What’s more, advertisers may appreciate Twitter taking a stronger position on misinformation and harmful content, even if the violator is the president. Advertisers don’t want their content to run alongside anything that could hurt the perception of their products -- a value known as “brand safety.”“Advertisers care about brand safety and truth, and from what I’ve seen, most brands support the actions that Twitter is taking,” said Pete Stein, CEO of Huge, an agency that represents brands including McDonald’s Corp. and Vanguard.That’s also set up a clearer contrast between the company and its social-media peers, most of which have been under fire for lax enforcement against offensive or inappropriate content. Twitter is the first to take action on Trump’s posts. On Facebook Inc.’s main app and Instagram, where Trump made the same posts, the messages remain online with no additional context from the company. Facebook has similar content policies, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg has decided his company should be especially hesitant to weigh in or take action on posts from political leaders.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
In a statement posted to Facebook late Friday afternoon, Mark Zuckerberg offered up an explanation of why his company did not contextualize or remove posts from the accounts associated with President Donald Trump that appeared to incite violence against American citizens. "We looked very closely at the post that discussed the protests in Minnesota to evaluate whether it violated our policies," Zuckerberg wrote. Facebook's position stands in sharp contrast to recent decisions made by Twitter, with the approval of its chief executive, Jack Dorsey, to screen a tweet from the President on Thursday night using a "public interest notice" that indicated the tweet violated its rules glorifying violence.