|Bid||29.37 x 800|
|Ask||29.42 x 3200|
|Day's Range||29.31 - 29.50|
|52 Week Range||26.26 - 45.86|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.58|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||14.32|
|Earnings Date||Feb. 6, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||34.64|
(Bloomberg) -- Walt Disney Co.’s much-anticipated debut of its new streaming video service was marred by early technical glitches and crashes for some users, though it was still stirring excitement and buzz on social media and worked successfully for many subscribers.New Star Wars series “The Mandalorian” was trending on social media, and Twitter users were proclaiming their excitement at finally being able to sign up and watch Disney+ after months of well-orchestrated anticipation from the Disney marketing machine.But some users reported trouble getting the app to work as soon as they tried to log on in the early hours of Tuesday morning, when the East Coast of the U.S. and Canada was awakening. Problems reported on the @DisneyPlusHelp Twitter handle ranged from “service not available” to specific issues such as “The early seasons of The Simpsons are in the wrong aspect ratio.”The glitches ramped up from about a hundred reported outages to more than 7,000 within the span of an hour on DownDetector.com. They were still over 6,900 as of 8:45 a.m. New York time.In its quest to turn a nearly century-old entertainment giant into a streaming leader, Disney is entering a market already crowded with heavy hitters, including Netflix Inc., Amazon.com and Apple Inc. And more rivals are diving in soon, such as AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. next year. The world’s largest entertainment company thinks it can seize the day with a product packed with the company’s best movies and TV shows, including “Star Wars,” Marvel and Pixar films, as well as its library of some 400 children’s movies.“I feel great about what we’ve done,” Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger told a roomful of reporters last week. “I love the app. It’s rich in content. It’s rich in brands. It’s rich in library.”Priced at $7 a month, Disney+ is a bet that the company can attract as many as 90 million subscribers worldwide in five years.It already has some key allies. Some 19 million Verizon Communications Inc. customers will be able to get the service free for the first year, thanks to a deal Disney cut with the carrier. Disney fan club members, meanwhile, got to prepay for a three-year subscription for less than $4 a month.“These are deals you just can’t beat,” said Kevin Mayer, who heads Disney’s direct-to-consumer division and has helped craft the streaming strategy.The company’s shares were up almost 1% to $138 in early U.S. trading.Disney is looking to make the product accessible to as many people as possible. Customers will get to store their password in as many as 10 devices per family and watch four concurrent streams of movies or shows.The site is designed around five main “tiles,” named after the company’s key brands, including Marvel and the recently acquired National Geographic channel. Disney is spending $1 billion on new programming -- such as “The Mandalorian,” the first live-action “Star Wars” series -- in the first year alone. Disney+ also will offer the “Star Wars” movies in 4K-definition video for the first time.Unlike Netflix, which releases new seasons of programs all at once. Disney+ will put out one episode per week for its original shows. The programs will come out at midnight Pacific time on Fridays -- timing geared toward attracting a global audience, according to Ricky Strauss, Disney’s head of content and marketing for the product.A key part of Disney’s streaming strategy is bundling its services together. For $12.99, subscribers can get a package that includes Disney+, ESPN+ and the ad-supported version of Hulu. Those three services would cost about $18 a month if purchased individually.It’s all coming at great cost to the company. Mayer’s direct-to-consumer division saw its losses more than double to $740 million in the quarter that ended in September. The company doesn’t expect to make a profit on Disney+ for at least five years.But the marketing blitz for the new service seems to have paid off. UBS Group AG analyst John Hodulik surveyed more than 1,000 consumers in October and found some 86% had heard of Disney+. Nearly half were likely to subscribe.The company created its largest cross-promotional push ever, putting solicitations for the new service in Disney-owned hotels and its radio network. Disney also promoted the new service on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” Fans watched a preview of Disney+’s new “High School Musical” spinoff on ABC on Friday.“If you haven’t heard about Disney+ by Tuesday,” Strauss said last week. “I promise you will.”Among the new originals on the show is a live-action version of “Lady and the Tramp.” Normally a remake of a classic like that would get a big premiere, a theatrical run and advertising everywhere.In the streaming era, it gets dropped on a Tuesday morning. The question now is whether the Disney magic still comes through without the Hollywood glamour.Either way, Disney doesn’t have much of a choice, said David Yoffie, a professor at Harvard Business School.“Netflix has changed the nature of the game,” Yoffie said. “If they didn’t participate, they would be left behind.”\--With assistance from Brandon Kochkodin.To contact the reporters on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at email@example.com;Scott Moritz in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at email@example.com, Rob GolumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Nikki Haley, President Donald Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, has made news twice during her book tour. She has said that Trump should not be impeached “for asking for a favor that didn’t happen” and for holding up aid that was eventually delivered to Ukraine. And she has said that former administration officials Rex Tillerson and John Kelly asked her to join them in resisting the president from within. She says she rejected the idea because it would have meant subverting the Constitution.In both cases, Haley disappointed opponents of Trump who had hoped, or imagined, that she was one of them. Her remarks show that she has thrown in her lot with the president. But there is a tension between her comments, and it mirrors the tension of working in this administration.On the one hand, Haley insists that it’s a constitutional duty for the president’s will to be followed. On the other hand, it’s a constitutional excuse for him that his will wasn’t followed. When Kelly, who served as chief of staff, and Tillerson, Trump’s first secretary of state, second-guess the president, they are usurping power our Constitution gave him. But when the president issues a command, sometimes it’s really more of a suggestion.Trump’s underlings have certainly been willing to treat his wishes as idle talk before, and sometimes even to defy him. Their insubordination has kept Trump out of trouble before, too. As the report from special prosecutor Robert Mueller detailed, former White House counsel Don McGahn refused to fire Mueller when Trump directed him to do so. If McGahn had obeyed, Trump would likely have faced an earlier and more bipartisan impeachment.Was McGahn, by Haley’s standards, serving Trump or undermining him? What about the reports that Trump has sometimes urged aides to break laws and promised to pardon them afterward? The aides decided to treat those remarks as a “joke.” Assuming Haley believes these reports, were these aides, too, acting illegitimately?One way of trying to get around this dilemma would be to assume that some presidential directives are serious and others are just venting or jesting. Haley has gestured toward this possibility, telling the Washington Post that “there was no heavy demand insisting that something had to happen” when Trump asked for a Ukrainian investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. As far as we can tell from what Haley has told us, though, Kelly and Tillerson may have had the same idea. Maybe they just wanted officials to err on the side of construing Trump’s orders as “light” demands.Haley is right to be uncomfortable about presidential aides’ seeing themselves as checks on their boss. She’s right, too, that defiance raises a constitutional concern. Article II vests executive power in the president, not in his aides. The aides, who were not elected, have to be accountable to the president who was. It can’t be the other way around.But this president has chosen, or defaulted to, a different mode of governance. He either tolerates a high degree of insubordination or has not figured out a way of squelching it. When his appointees anger him, he often vents about it on Twitter instead of firing them.No wonder Haley’s remarks sound so dissonant. The president has created a working environment in which either following his orders or not following them is a threat to the proper functioning of the government. Even the most highly accomplished diplomat could not resolve this tension, which may help explain why Haley, like Tillerson and Kelly, is no longer in the Trump administration.To contact the author of this story: Ramesh Ponnuru at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Ramesh Ponnuru is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a senior editor at National Review, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and contributor to CBS News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. pitches its new card as a model of simplicity and transparency, upending everything consumers think about credit cards.But for the card’s overseers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., it’s creating the same headaches that have bedeviled an industry the companies had hoped to disrupt.Social media postings in recent days by a tech entrepreneur and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak complaining about unequal treatment of their wives ignited a firestorm that’s engulfed the two giants of Silicon Valley and Wall Street, casting a pall over what the companies had claimed was the most successful launch of a credit card ever.Goldman has said it’s done nothing wrong. There’s been no evidence that the bank, which decides who gets an Apple Card and how much they can borrow, intentionally discriminated against women. But that may be the point, according to critics. The complex models that guide its lending decisions may inadvertently produce results that disadvantage certain groups.The problem -- in Washington it’s referred to as “disparate impact” -- is one the financial industry has spent years trying to address. The increasing use of algorithms in lending decisions has sharpened the years-long debate, as consumer advocates, armed with what they claim is supporting research, are pushing regulators and companies to rethink whether models are only entrenching discrimination that algorithm-driven lending is meant to stamp out.“Because machines can treat similarly-situated people and objects differently, research is starting to reveal some troubling examples in which the reality of algorithmic decision-making falls short of our expectations, or is simply wrong,” Nicol Turner Lee, a fellow at the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution, recently told Congress.Wozniak and David Heinemeier Hansson said on Twitter that their wives were given significantly lower limits on their Apple Cards, despite sharing finances and filing joint tax returns. Wozniak said he and his wife report the same income and have a joint bank account, which should mean that lenders view them as equals.One reason Goldman has become a poster child for the issue is that the Apple Card, unlike much of the industry, doesn’t let households share accounts. That could lead to family members getting significantly different credit limits. Goldman says it’s considering offering the option.The bank said in a tweet it would also re-evaluate credit decisions if the borrowing limit is lower than the customer expected.“We have not and never will make decisions based on factors like gender,” the company said. “In fact, we do not know your gender or marital status during the Apple Card application process.”With this month’s snafu, Goldman has found itself in the middle of one of the thorniest laws in finance: the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. The 1974 law prohibits lenders from considering sex or marital status and was later expanded to prohibit discrimination based on other factors including race, color, religion, national origin and whether a borrower receives public assistance.The issue gained national prominence in the 1970s when Jorie Lueloff Friedman, a prominent Chicago television anchor, began reporting on her own experience with losing access to some of her credit card accounts at local retailers after she married her husband, who was unemployed at the time. She ultimately testified before Congress, saying “in the eyes of a credit department, it seems, women cease to exist and become non-persons when they get married.”FTC WarningA 2016 study by credit reporting agency Experian found that women had higher credit scores, less debt, and a lower rate of late mortgage payments than men. Still, the Federal Trade Commission has warned that women may continue to face difficulties in getting credit.Freddy Kelly, chief executive officer of Credit Kudos, a London-based credit scoring startup, pointed to the gender pay gap, where women are typically paid less than men for performing the same job, as one reason lenders may be stingy with how much they let women borrow.Using complex algorithms that take into account hundreds of variables should lead to more just outcomes than relying on error-prone loan officers who may harbor biases against certain groups, proponents say.“It’s hard for humans to manually identify these characteristics that would make someone more creditworthy,” said Paul Gu, co-founder of Upstart Network Inc., a tech firm that uses artificial intelligence to help banks make loans.Upstart uses borrowers’ educational backgrounds to make lending decisions, which could run afoul of federal law. In 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau told the company it wouldn’t be penalized as part of an ongoing push to understand how lenders use non-traditional data for credit decisions.AI PushConsumer advocates reckon that outsourcing decision-making to computers could ultimately result in unfair lending practices, according to a June memorandum prepared by Democratic congressional aides working for the House Financial Services Committee. The memo cited studies that suggest algorithmic underwriting can result in discrimination, such as one that found black and Latino borrowers were charged more for home mortgages.Linda Lacewell, the superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services, which launched an investigation into Goldman’s credit card practices, described algorithms in a Bloomberg Television interview as a “black box.” Wozniak and Hansson said they struggled to get someone on the phone to explain the decision.“Algorithms are not only nonpublic, they are actually treated as proprietary trade secrets by many companies,” Rohit Chopra, an FTC commissioner, said last month. “To make matters worse, machine learning means that algorithms can evolve in real time with no paper trail on the data, inputs, or equations used to develop a prediction.“Victims of discriminatory algorithms seldom if ever know they have been victimized,” Chopra said.(Updates with Goldman comments in ninth and 10th paragraphs.)To contact the reporters on this story: Shahien Nasiripour in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Jenny Surane in New York at email@example.com;Sridhar Natarajan in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at email@example.com, Steve Dickson, Daniel TaubFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Isolated bushfires broke out in Sydney on Tuesday, fanned by strong winds and soaring temperatures as Australia’s largest city faced its first ever “catastrophic” fire danger.Authorities battled a blaze in the affluent neighborhood of South Turramurra, just 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the CBD, before a plane brought it under control by dumping red fire retardant. A handful of other fires broke out in other suburbs of the city, which is dotted with national parks and bushland, shrouding the skyline with an acrid smoke haze.More than 70 wildfires are burning across New South Wales state, devastating rural areas left tinderbox dry by a two-year drought. Three people have been killed and more than 150 homes destroyed in the state in recent days -- a disastrously early start to the nation’s bushfire season considering summer has not even begun.A southerly wind swept through Sydney on Tuesday evening, lowering temperatures that had reached 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). As the winds progress up the coast through the night, they’re expected to make conditions even more hazardous as they shift the direction of the fire fronts.Authorities issued multiple emergency warnings for fires threatening rural communities north of Sydney, and said in some instances it may be too late for residents to safely leave. More than 3,000 firefighters were deployed or on standby across the state and hundreds of schools were closed as a precaution.Australia is the world’s driest inhabited continent and is considered one of the most vulnerable developed countries to global warming. According to the weather bureau, climate change is influencing the frequency and severity of dangerous bushfire conditions, with the season starting earlier in spring in southern and eastern parts of Australia.The fires come amid increasing divisions about climate change policy in Australia, with the conservative government resisting scientists’ calls to take greater action to reduce carbon emissions.It’s the first time authorities have set the highest warning level for Sydney since the fire-danger rating system was introduced a decade ago. The level has been downgraded three notches to “Very High” on Wednesday.The city has experienced wildfires in the past, with dozens of homes destroyed in suburbs around national parks in 1994. In 2013, bushfires in New South Wales destroyed more than 200 homes, including many in the Blue Mountains to the west of Sydney.The nation’s most devastating fires, the so-called Black Saturday blazes in Victoria state in February 2009, caused 180 fatalities.\--With assistance from Hannah Dormido.To contact the reporter on this story: Edward Johnson in Sydney at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Johnson at email@example.com, Angus WhitleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said in an interview on the television show “Axios on HBO” that the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was “a mistake” by the Saudi Arabian government, and compared it to Uber’s accident with a self-driving car that killed a woman.In the interview that aired Sunday, Khosrowshahi said, “It doesn’t mean they can never be forgiven.” The CEO backtracked in a follow-up statement sent to Axios after the interview, saying: “I said something in the moment that I don’t believe.” He called Khashoggi’s murder “reprehensible” and said it “should not be forgotten.”The remarks set off calls for customers to protest the ride-hailing service. The hashtag BoycottUber was trending on Twitter in the U.S. Monday. The response is drawing parallels to a politically motivated boycott from 2017, when Uber’s perceived support of President Donald Trump and his immigration policies led to a DeleteUber campaign. More than 200,000 people removed the app during that movement.Khosrowshahi’s comments came during a discussion about Uber’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, which is the ride-hailing car company’s fifth-largest investor. The Axios interviewer, Mike Allen, asked if Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, who heads Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, should be allowed to remain on Uber’s board. Khosrowshahi called Al-Rumayyan a “very constructive” board member who provides valuable input.As the interview continued, the discussion turned to the Saudi government’s role in Khashoggi’s gruesome murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year. “I think that the government said they made a mistake,” Khosrowshahi said. “It’s a serious mistake. We’ve made mistakes too with self driving and we stopped driving and we’re recovering from that mistake. So I think that people make mistakes, it doesn’t mean that they can never be forgiven.”In March 2018 one of Uber’s cars testing autonomous driving software struck and killed a 49-year-old woman in Tempe, Arizona, as she was crossing the road. Uber paused tests of all its self-driving vehicles after the incident.(Update with Twitter hashtag in the third paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Molly Schuetz in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, Mark Milian, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- John Legere may be exactly the kind of CEO WeWork needs. He brings much of the eccentricity and charisma that was initially appreciated about ousted founder Adam Neumann, but without all the headaches and liabilities. Is Legere ready to retire his closet of magenta T-shirts? We Co., the parent of the beleaguered office-sharing startup, is in discussions to recruit Legere, the current head of wireless carrier T-Mobile US Inc., as its next CEO, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The talks come after WeWork’s plans for an initial public offering imploded in grand fashion in recent weeks, as a litany of questionable decisions and conflicts of interests involving then-CEO Neumann came to light in a saga that has captivated Wall Street. WeWork, for a short time one of the world’s most valuable startups, had said in its summer IPO prospectus that its “future success depends in large part on the continued service of Adam Neumann.” Weeks later, Neumann was considered such a risk that the company decided it was better to effectively give him $1.2 billion to step away.Hiring Legere would immediately help improve WeWork’s tarnished reputation, though repairing the business is another story. Office vacancies increased in the third quarter, and the company was at risk of running out of cash next year. Legere’s garish style and hectoring on Twitter may also cause some to wonder whether he’s just another Neumann; it’s certainly hard not to notice the physical resemblance between the long hair, loud personality and signature T-shirt-and-sports-coat pairing.But few CEOs can say they’ve taken on a challenge as difficult as reviving T-Mobile — and succeeded. That’s Legere’s claim to fame. As I wrote in July 2018, even the groaners who are tired of his shtick and Twitter snark can’t argue against his track record.When Legere became CEO of T-Mobile in 2012, it was a distant fourth-place competitor in the U.S. wireless market and losing customers. Now it’s the fastest-growing member of the industry, and its displaced Sprint as the No. 3 carrier. T-Mobile’s lower-priced plans and marketing mojo have even given AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. a run for their money. In the last five years, shares of all its closest rivals advanced anywhere from 12% to 21%. T-Mobile’s nearly tripled. Legere may seem like an odd choice given that he’s spent his career working in the telecommunications and technology industries. The connection becomes clearer when considering SoftBank Group Corp.’s role. The Japanese conglomerate built by billionaire Masayoshi Son not only controls WeWork — the result of a $9.5 billion rescue package — but also Sprint Corp., T-Mobile’s closest competitor and hopeful merger partner. Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure, who is also chief operating officer of SoftBank, was tapped to help fix WeWork’s problems. He’s spent a lot of time with Legere these last two years as they worked to sway federal and state officials to support the merger of the two wireless carriers. Legere has done with T-Mobile what Claure and his predecessors couldn’t with Sprint, even as SoftBank injected billions along the way. One might think that WeWork would seek out a lower-profile leader, given the roller-coaster it has been on the past few months; Legere is anything but that. And at 61 years old, it’s a little surprising that he would consider following up such a successful run at T-Mobile with a stint at a company as troubled as WeWork. T-Mobile has become part of his identity — he’s spotted in magenta T-Mobile gear whether he’s going for runs in New York City or filming his Facebook Live cooking show from his kitchen. T-Mobile shareholders wouldn't be happy to see Legere go. Worse, there's the appearance of a conflict of interest if SoftBank is pursuing Legere while the companies are separately renegotiating the terms of the Sprint merger.That aside, it’s clear that Legere likes a challenge, and WeWork is the ultimate one.To contact the author of this story: Tara Lachapelle at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / November 11, 2019 / Levi & Korsinsky, LLP announces that class action lawsuits have commenced on behalf of shareholders of the following publicly-traded companies. To determine ...
(Bloomberg) -- WeWork is searching for a new chief executive officer to turn around the troubled co-working company, said people familiar with the matter. The candidates include T-Mobile US Inc. head John Legere, who has spoken with WeWork about the role, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.Legere has deep ties to WeWork majority shareholder SoftBank Group Corp., which took ownership of the company after WeWork’s initial public offering broke down. Legere is currently pushing for a contentious merger of his wireless carrier with Sprint Corp., whose majority owner is SoftBank. Sprint’s executive chairman, Marcelo Claure, was recently appointed to the same position at WeWork.But people familiar with the CEO search stressed that WeWork intends to consider many candidates. Although Legere breathed new life into T-Mobile, he has an unpredictable and antagonistic public persona, reflected on his Twitter profile and in conference appearances. He’s also another man, in a company so saturated with male management that Claure has promised to increase diversity.Representatives for SoftBank, T-Mobile and WeWork parent company We Co. declined to comment. The discussions with Legere were reported earlier Monday by the Wall Street Journal. Shares of T-Mobile fell about 2% in intraday trading, while Sprint is down 3%.Adam Neumann, the former WeWork CEO, stepped down in September under pressure from investors over apparent conflicts of interest and mismanagement of the IPO process. Two WeWork executives, Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham, took over as co-CEOs. The pair secured multimillion-dollar severance packages with the board last month.Despite getting rescue financing from SoftBank a couple weeks ago, WeWork needs to quickly rehabilitate the business and fill empty space in its offices. The company is expected to soon dismiss thousands of employees.Legere and Claure, a SoftBank executive tasked with cleaning up WeWork, have occasionally sparred in the past. Claure, the former CEO of Sprint, was a T-Mobile antagonist before becoming a potential merger partner. In 2016, he called Legere “a con artist” on Twitter. At one point, Legere told Claure to “go back to the kiddie pool.” But more recently, the two executives have appeared friendlier as they argue in favor of the Sprint-T-Mobile tie-up. In May, they were spotted jogging together in Washington.Meanwhile, Neumann is exploring a potential next act with help from the money he got in his exit from WeWork. He considered investing in Barneys New York Inc. during the luxury department store’s recent bankruptcy, people with knowledge of the matter said Monday.(Updates with shares in the fourth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Gillian Tan and Scott Moritz.To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah McBride in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org;Ellen Huet in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at firstname.lastname@example.org, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Twitter's new proposal, laid out in a blog post, said it might place a notice next to tweets sharing "synthetic or manipulated media," warn people before they like or share such tweets, or add a link to a news story showing why various sources think the media is synthetic or manipulated. Twitter last year banned deepfakes in the context of intimate media: its policy prohibits images or videos that digitally manipulate an individual's face onto another person's nude body. In July, U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff wrote to the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet Inc's Google asking for the companies' plans to handle the threat of deepfake images and videos ahead of the 2020 elections.
LOS ANGELES, CA / ACCESSWIRE / November 11, 2019 / The Schall Law Firm, a national shareholder rights litigation firm, announces the filing of a class action lawsuit against Twitter, Inc. ("Twitter" or "the Company") (NYSE:TWTR) for violations of §§10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors who purchased the Company's securities between August 6, 2019 and October 23, 2019, inclusive (the ''Class Period''), are encouraged to contact the firm before December 30, 2019.
NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / November 11, 2019 / The Law Offices of Vincent Wong announce that class actions have commenced on behalf of certain shareholders in the following companies. If you suffered ...
NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / November 11, 2019 / Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, LLC reminds investors that a class action lawsuit has been filed against the following publicly-traded companies. You can ...
New York, New York--(Newsfile Corp. - November 11, 2019) - Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP, a leading national securities law firm, reminds investors in Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) ("Twitter" or the "Company") of the December 30, 2019 deadline to seek the role of lead plaintiff in a federal securities class action that has been filed against the Company. Faruqi & Faruqi LogoIf you invested in Twitter stock or options between August 6, 2019 and October ...
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Hyped as the biggest credit-card innovation in 50 years, the Apple Card is starting to look more like something from the 1960s and 1970s: Women are allegedly being granted a fraction of their spouses’ borrowing limits. It’s another troubling example of the deficiencies of machine learning.Just months after its launch, New York regulators say they’re investigating Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the bank behind the card, and the algorithm that it uses to determine credit-worthiness. Goldman denies any discrimination but that hasn’t stopped Apple Inc.’s co-founder Steve Wozniak from calling for the U.S. government to get involved. “We don’t have transparency on how these companies set these things up and operate,” he told Bloomberg News.The investigation and Wozniak’s comments came in response to a Twitter broadside from the tech entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson, in which he said the Apple Card gave him a credit limit 20 times bigger than the one for his wife. This was despite her superior credit score and their jointly filed tax returns. Wozniak says he has been given 10 times the limit granted to his wife.The bone of contention here is what Apple’s customer services representatives called, in Hansson’s telling, “the algorithm.” When he sought an explanation of why his wife was being treated differently, he was told the algorithm was accountable.How the Algorithms Running Your Life Are Biased: QuickTakeYet blaming the algorithm — while saying an exception would be made for Hansson’s wife and her credit assessment adjusted, as Apple did — seems a tacit admission that said algorithm is flawed. At the very least, it raises questions about just how “accountable” these systems are. Customers don’t know the details of how the Apple-Goldman credit-worthiness computations work, how dependent they are on artificial intelligence (or, more precisely, machine learning), what inputs they use, or even how much of the technology is proprietary to the two companies.If the system is indeed making such blatantly egregious decisions, should it really be used at all? At least when there’s human error or bias there’s a more straightforward route to correct it. While a company can interrogate a person about how they arrived at an individual decision, that’s usually not possible with machine learning. Instead you have to examine the “big data” inputs that informed the algorithm, and see if that prompted a set of biases.Of course, bias in artificial intelligence is not unique to the Apple Card. It has reared its head in the criminal justice system, the employment market, health care, facial recognition, app recommendations and beyond. In each case, understanding what prompted the prejudices is essential to fixing it. And in each case, that’s easier said than done. John Giannandrea, Apple's head of AI, said in 2017 that data bias is the greatest danger posed by machine learning.This isn’t the first consumer finance misstep for Goldman. The Wall Street firm may be at the cutting edge of finance, but its foray into consumer lending has been mired in rookie mistakes. Its consumer lending arm, Marcus, reportedly started without a team of debt collectors, leading to early losses on delinquent borrowers.Apple’s chief executive officer Tim Cook, meanwhile, has hinted that he’s seeking a partner to bring the Apple Card to Europe. The Hansson and Wozniak episodes show that would be quite a gamble. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, introduced last year, includes the “right to explanation” for consumers – exactly the thing being demanded by Hansson. A failure to provide a satisfactory reason might result in financial penalties. As we can see, with AI algorithms such explanations aren’t easily extracted.To contact the authors of this story: Alex Webb at email@example.comElisa Martinuzzi at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.Elisa Martinuzzi is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering finance. She is a former managing editor for European finance at Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Australia is bracing for another week of devastating bushfires, with swaths of the eastern seaboard and even areas of greater Sydney facing a “catastrophic” threat that’s unprecedented at this time of year.It’s the first time authorities have set the highest warning level for Australia’s largest city since the six-step fire-danger rating system was introduced a decade ago.Three people have been killed and more than 150 homes destroyed in the state of New South Wales in recent days as fires ripped through areas rendered tinderbox dry by a two-year drought. The devastation is exceptional, considering summer hasn’t even begun.Authorities expect the situation to deteriorate Tuesday as hot and windy conditions sweep through New South Wales and neighboring Queensland, where states of emergency have been declared.“Everyone has to assume the worst,” New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said at a press conference Monday. “We cannot allow complacency to creep in.”The fires come amid increasing divisions about climate change policy in Australia, with the conservative government resisting scientists’ calls to take greater action to reduce carbon emissions. They follow a series of blazes in California, including around Los Angeles, that triggered days of blackouts, while areas of Portugal were damaged in July.With more than 60 fires burning in New South Wales, the Rural Fire Service warned it wouldn’t be able to contain all the blazes before the weather worsened. The temperature is forecast to rise to 34 degrees Celsius (93.2 degrees Fahrenheit) with strong winds on Tuesday.Sydney is dotted with national parks, forested areas and bushland, often in close proximity to housing, and even urban neighborhoods less than 15 kilometers from the central business district have been advised they face a “catastrophic” risk. Authorities have warned that embers from fires can be carried 30 kilometers by winds, potentially triggering fresh outbreaks.The Insurance Council of Australia said that any claims from the fires would be prioritized. It’s yet to put a monetary value on property and asset losses.Climate ChangeAustralia is the world’s driest inhabited continent and is considered one of the most vulnerable developed countries to climate change. The nation gets the bulk of its energy from burning coal, a fuel that last year was also its largest export earner.While bushfires have been an important part of Australia’s ecology, some scientists have expressed concern that the season is getting longer. The drought gripping parts of Australia has created hazardous conditions in many regional communities, where some residents have complained that insufficient back-burning has taken place during the winter months, leaving a fuel load of fallen trees and undergrowth.This year’s bushfire season may be exacerbated by strong easterly trade winds across the tropical Indian Ocean that have contributed to what’s known as a strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology. Such patterns “are often associated with a more severe fire season for southeast Australia,” it said Oct. 29.Australia is leading the world in the number of hotspots -- a measure of heat radiative power -- detected by sensors aboard satellites over the past 24 hours, according to NASA data.Visiting affected areas on Sunday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison again sidestepped questions about the role of climate change, saying his focus was on getting immediate assistance to those in need.Morrison, a staunch supporter of the coal-mining industry, said earlier this month his government is considering how it can ban activists from pressuring companies not to do business with the mining industry and other sectors with a large carbon footprint.The government’s refusal to link the fires with climate change was sharply criticized by the Australian Greens party, which has accused it of being in denial.“Thoughts and sympathies are not enough,” party leader Richard Di Natale said in a statement. “We need to anticipate and prepare for these emergencies, but we also need to go to the root cause which is the burning of fossil fuels that is dangerously heating our planet. Our government has its head in the sand.”That stance was criticized by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, who said on Monday that climate change science shouldn’t be debated during a time of bushfire crisis.“We’ve had fires in Australia since time began, and what people need now is sympathy, understanding, help and shelter,” McCormack said in a radio interview. “They don’t need the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital-city greenies at this time,” he added, using the colloquial nickname for environmentalists.The nation’s most devastating fires, the so-called Black Saturday blazes in Victoria state in February 2009, caused 180 fatalities.(Updates with areas of Sydney at risk and map of hotspots.)To contact the reporters on this story: Emily Cadman in Sydney at firstname.lastname@example.org;Jason Scott in Canberra at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter VercoeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., two of the most recognizable companies in tech and finance, are caught up in a growing debate over whether lenders unintentionally discriminate when they use complex models to determine how Americans borrow money.On Saturday, Bloomberg reported that a Wall Street regulator had opened a probe into Goldman’s credit card practices after a viral tweet from a tech entrepreneur alleged that the Apple Card’s algorithms discriminated against his wife.Now another high-profile user of the Apple Card -- Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak -- is calling for the government to get involved, citing excessive corporate reliance on mysterious technology.“These sorts of unfairnesses bother me and go against the principle of truth. We don’t have transparency on how these companies set these things up and operate,” Wozniak said in an interview on Sunday. “Our government isn’t strong enough on the issues of regulation. Consumers can only be represented by the government because the big corporations only represent themselves.”Wozniak said he can borrow 10 times as much as his wife on their Apple Cards even though they share bank and other credit card accounts, and that other lenders treat them equally.“Algos obviously have flaws,” Wozniak said. “A huge number of people would say, ‘We love our technology but we are no longer in control.’ I think that’s the case.”Lenders have promoted the models because they’re supposed to level the playing field among different borrowers by removing human error and focusing only on data.Apple Card only offers individual accounts and it is possible for two family members to receive significantly different credit decisions, a Goldman spokesman said. “In all cases, we have not and will not make decisions based on factors like gender,” he said.The investigation was launched in response to a series of Twitter posts from David Heinemeier Hansson that railed against the Apple Card for giving him 20 times the credit limit that his wife got. The tweets, many of which contain profanity, immediately gained traction online -- and a response on Twitter from Wozniak.Hansson didn’t disclose any specific income-related information for the couple but said they filed joint tax returns and that his wife has a better credit score than he does. Wozniak said he and his wife also file joint returns and share credit card and bank accounts.“The department will be conducting an investigation to determine whether New York law was violated and ensure all consumers are treated equally regardless of sex,” said a spokesman for Linda Lacewell, the superintendent of the NY DFS. “Any algorithm that intentionally or not results in discriminatory treatment of women or any other protected class of people violates New York law.”It’s the second such action in recent weeks from the regulator, which opened a probe against health-care giant UnitedHealth Group Inc. after a study found an algorithm favored white patients over black patients.“New technologies cannot leave certain consumers behind or entrench discrimination,” Lacewell said in a statement on Sunday. She also solicited complaints from aggrieved consumers on Twitter.Traditional lenders are increasing their use of machines to decide who gets how much credit as part of a strategy to reduce costs and boost loan applications. Meanwhile, technology companies are moving in on the financial services industry’s turf, with businesses such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google threatening banks’ lucrative business lines by offering loans and payment options.Congressional ScrutinyThe algorithms have drawn scrutiny in Congress. In June, the House Financial Services Committee heard about examples of algorithmic decision-making where researchers have found instances of bias targeting specific groups even when there was no intent to discriminate.Some lawmakers already are demanding a federal response. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat and contender to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, told federal regulators in June that the government “will have to take action to ensure that anti-discrimination laws keep up with innovation.”For Goldman, its growing ambitions for Main Street are bringing increased scrutiny and a new set of challenges it hasn’t faced previously. The Apple Card is a joint venture between Apple and the New York-based bank, which is responsible for all the credit decisions on the card. It was rolled out earlier this year -- the tech giant markets it as “created by Apple, not a bank” -- and executives at both firms hailed it as the most successful launch ever.Hansson said Goldman isn’t treating inadvertent bias seriously.“As soon as this became a PR issue, they immediately bumped up her credit limit without asking for any additional documentation,” he said of his wife in an interview Saturday. “My belief isn’t there was some nefarious person wanting to discriminate. But that doesn’t matter. How do you know there isn’t an issue with the machine-learning algo when no one can explain how this decision was made?”To contact the reporters on this story: Shahien Nasiripour in New York at email@example.com;Sridhar Natarajan in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at email@example.com, Josh Friedman, Matthew G. MillerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / November 10, 2019 / Levi & Korsinsky, LLP announces that class action lawsuits have commenced on behalf of shareholders of the following publicly-traded companies. To determine ...
(Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or Pocket Cast.The European Central Bank’s next German policy maker will bring with her an extensive portfolio of research into how financial systems throughout history have coped with war, bubbles and hyperinflation.Isabel Schnabel was formally nominated by euro-area finance ministers last week to fill the vacancy opened by Sabine Lautenschlaeger’s unexpected resignation. Perhaps mindful that three German board members in a row have quit early, the government eschewed the traditional recruiting grounds of the Bundesbank -- and, in one case, politics -- and went for an academic.A glance at the University of Bonn professor’s research shows a taste for historical crises. It suggests that while she’s no anti-stimulus hardliner, she’ll have an acute eye on the risks of the ECB’s strategy of pumping huge volumes of liquidity into the economy in an attempt to revive inflation.In one paper on 400 years of asset bubbles, she and Princeton University Professor Markus Brunnermeier concluded that they’re typically preceded by an expansionary monetary policy -- no surprise there -- but that “the severity of the economic crisis following the bursting of a bubble is less linked to the type of asset than to the financing of the bubble.”Schnabel is “definitely not one of the hawks” but also “not as dovish as some people might think,” said Brunnermeier. He described her as “balanced and more European.”That paper in 2015 acknowledged that the strategy known as leaning against the wind -- or trying to preempt bubbles by tightening policy early -- can work but is also “fraught with difficulties.”In a 2004 report written with Hyun Song Shin, Schnabel looked back to a 1763 financial crisis that swept northern Europe and saw parallels with more recent episodes. The pattern of interlocking credit relationships and high debt leverage prompted distressed sales of assets and a severe liquidity crisis.“Whilst the financial institutions have changed fundamentally in the intervening 200 or so years, the underlying problems appear to be universal,” they concluded.Read more: Why We Love to Call Everything a BubbleSchnabel is already an adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration and has done the same for the European Systemic Risk Board, which makes proposals to safeguard against systemic risk. Former ECB President Mario Draghi praised her as an excellent economist.German TensionThere are hopes that she’ll mend fraught relations between the ECB and Germany by explaining its policies to her compatriots, though she passed on an early opportunity on Wednesday. The latest report by the council of economic experts criticized the decision to restart quantitative easing, pointing to “significant risks and repercussions.” Schnabel abstained from opinions on monetary policy in light of her nomination.That didn’t stop her weighing in shortly afterward when a online debate exploded over the cover of the German magazine Der Spiegel, which suggested that the ECB’s negative interest rates are making savers poor.Schnabel was among 14 top French and German economists that made a proposal last year on how to fix the euro region’s weaknesses. Among their suggestions were setting up a euro-area fund to help absorb shocks, creating a euro-area safe asset, and forming stronger institutions for the currency bloc.More recently, she teamed up with Shin again for a relatively esoteric angle on the Thirty Years War, an especially destructive 17th century conflict in central Europe that caused around 8 million deaths from fighting, famine and plague.Crypto ThreatsThe pair looked at public deposit banks, finding them to be early precursors of modern central banks that bolstered trust in money and so help quell hyperinflation. They also said the lessons learned from that period still resonate today in debates on cryptocurrencies -- a potential threat to central banks -- and the nature of money.That research goes to the heart of Schnabel’s core theme -- that financial stability is crucial and the question for central banks is not whether they should take account of it, but how. In an article for Sweden’s Riksbank in 2016, she considered the implications for the euro zone and negative rates.“The ECB may find itself in a straightjacket in the future because raising rates would threaten the stability of the financial system, making an exit from low interest rates more and more difficult,” she said. “This calls for decisive actions to prevent a further build-up of risks now.”To contact the reporters on this story: Yuko Takeo in Frankfurt at firstname.lastname@example.org;Piotr Skolimowski in Frankfurt at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Democratic presidential contender Elizabeth Warren’s attacks on private equity firms haven’t stopped one industry giant from supporting her.David Bonderman, the billionaire co-founder of TPG Capital, said the existing slate of candidates would do better than Donald Trump, and said he would pick the Massachusetts senator over the president.“If the choice is Trump against Warren, I think it’s a clear choice,” Bonderman said Saturday afternoon at the SummitLA19 conference in Los Angeles in response to a Bloomberg query.Warren, who’s made health care and income equality, along with the implementation of a wealth tax some of her key campaign messages, has repeatedly taken aim at the private-equity industry. In a tweet last month, she said that these firms are “sucking value out of our companies,” blaming the industry for a loss of jobs.‘She Can’t Count’While Bonderman, 76, said Warren is smart, he doesn’t think she’d be able to push through many of her proposals. The problem with the candidate, he says, is “she can’t count.”“I believe in capitalism,” said Bonderman, who has a net worth of $4.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. “Like with everything else, it gets overwhelmed. The tax policies are all wrong. The social policies are all wrong. It’s hard to do something about it.”Warren also proposed earlier this year to link the profits at private equity firms to the success -- or failure -- of the companies they buy and sell, saying that these firms often act like “vampires” in their acquisitions by “bleeding the company dry and walking away enriched even as the company succumbs.”The former Harvard law professor has risen in the polls -- a recent Quinnipiac University survey showed she has the backing of 20% of Iowa’s likely caucus-goers, more than any other Democratic presidential candidates. A week ago, she narrowed the gap with former Vice President Joe Biden in primary preferences for the Democratic presidential nomination in an ABC News/Washington Post poll.Still, she’s recently faced heat from other candidates including Biden, who accused her of fabricating the math behind her health-care plan.“And those of you who like Elizabeth Warren, I think you can take some solace in the fact that none of the things she proposes will ever get passed by a U.S. Congress, controlled by either party,” Bonderman said. “Having said all that, she’s an attractive candidate in many ways, and my brethren on Wall Street are not looking to a 2% wealth tax, but then it won’t happen anyway.”Investors have committed about $4 trillion to private equity in the last decade, according to Preqin data, and the money is continuing to pour in. The industry faces more political uncertainty than concerns about the economy, Bonderman, who has donated to Democratic candidates, said at the Los Angeles event.“But values are not absurd -- they’re not cheap but they’re not absurd,” he said. “With the caveat that who knows what goes on with impeachment, it’s a time for caution but not a time to run for the hills.”To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Pierre Paulden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Linus Chua, Reinie BooysenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- A Wall Street regulator is opening a probe into Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s credit card practices after a viral tweet from a tech entrepreneur alleged gender discrimination in the new Apple Card’s algorithms when determining credit limits.A series of posts from David Heinemeier Hansson starting Thursday railed against the Apple Card for giving him 20 times the credit limit that his wife got. The tweets, many of which contain profanity, immediately gained traction online, even attracting comment from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.Hansson didn’t disclose any specific income-related information for either of them but said they filed joint tax returns and that his wife has a better credit score than he does.“The department will be conducting an investigation to determine whether New York law was violated and ensure all consumers are treated equally regardless of sex,” said a spokesman for Linda Lacewell, the superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services. “Any algorithm, that intentionally or not results in discriminatory treatment of women or any other protected class of people violates New York law.”Apple Card only offers individual accounts and it is possible for two family members to receive significantly different credit decisions, a Goldman spokesman said. “In all cases, we have not and will not make decisions based on factors like gender,” he said.Hansson said Goldman’s response doesn’t explain what happened after he started airing his issues on social media.“As soon as this became a PR issue, they immediately bumped up her credit limit without asking for any additional documentation,” he said in an interview. “My belief isn’t there was some nefarious person wanting to discriminate. But that doesn’t matter. How do you know there isn’t an issue with the machine-learning algo when no one can explain how this decision was made?”This is the second such action from the regulator in recent weeks. NY DFS opened a probe against health care giant UnitedHealth Group Inc. after a study found an algorithm favored white patients over black patients.Goldman’s growing ambitions for main street is bringing increased scrutiny and a new set of challenges it hasn’t faced previously. The Apple Card is a joint venture between Apple Inc. and the New York-based bank, which is responsible for all the credit decisions on the card. The card was rolled out earlier this year and executives at both firms hailed it as the most successful launch ever.Traditional lenders are upping their use of machines to decide who gets how much credit as part of a strategy to reduce costs and boost loan applications. Meanwhile, technology companies are moving in on the financial services industry’s turf, with businesses such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google offering loans and payment options.Black-Box AlgorithmsHansson said his posts had led to an internal review and that he was hopeful it would spark a conversation about black-box algorithms and the inherent biases in those systems.The 40-year-old Dane is known for being the creator of the popular programming tool Ruby on Rails. He’s a partner at Basecamp, a web-based software development firm, and also known to regularly take part in automobile endurance races, including the 24 hours of Le Mans in France.“Goldman and Apple are delegating credit assessment to a black box,” Hansson said. “It’s not a gender-discrimination intent but it is a gender-discrimination outcome.”The use of algorithms by lenders in credit decisions has drawn scrutiny in Congress. In June, the House Financial Services Committee heard about examples of algorithmic decision-making where researchers have found instances of bias targeting specific groups even when there was no intent to discriminate.Some lawmakers already are demanding a federal response. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat and contender to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, told federal regulators in June that the government “will have to take action to ensure that anti-discrimination laws keep up with innovation.(Updates with tweet from Steve Wozniak.)To contact the reporters on this story: Sridhar Natarajan in New York at email@example.com;Shahien Nasiripour in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at email@example.com, Virginia Van Natta, Matthew G. MillerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Just one week after Twitter management decided to stop all political advertising, two former employees were charged by the US government for espionage
Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights law firm, reminds purchasers of the securities of Twitter, Inc. between August 6, 2019 and October 23, 2019 of the important December 30, 2019 lead plaintiff deadline in the securities class action.
NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 08, 2019 -- Former Attorney General of Louisiana, Charles C. Foti, Jr., Esq., a partner at the law firm of Kahn Swick & Foti, LLC (“KSF”), is.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc.’s Instagram plans to remove the number of “likes” visible on posts for some users in the U.S. to decrease competitive pressure among people on the photo-sharing service.Instagram has been hiding like counts in some markets since April, beginning in Canada, and later expanding to Japan and Brazil. The U.S. is one of Instagram’s largest markets with more than 106 million users, according to data analyst EMarketer.“What we’re hoping to do is depressurize Instagram a little bit, and make it a bit less of a competition,” Instagram boss Adam Mosseri told Bloomberg after announcing the new test at a conference in San Francisco sponsored by Wired magazine. “The idea is to try and reduce anxiety and social comparisons, specifically with an eye towards young people.”Users will still be able to see the likes they receive on their posts if they want, but those metrics won’t be visible to others on Instagram, the company said. Mosseri said the test will begin next week, and will impact just a portion of Instagram’s U.S. user base.Instagram’s follower counts and likes have made it one of the top places online to compare one’s popularity with others, especially among teens and young adults. The company has tried for years to combat the competitive trend by promoting good role models via posts on its @instagram account, hoping to reflect the parts of the app that are about creativity and art as opposed to self-promotion. Still, striving for the metrics was irresistible for its users, contributing to mental health issues and other ills, like users paying for fake likes and followers from bots.Even some of the app’s most prolific celebrities have said a service without likes may be healthier for its users.“It would be really beneficial,” said Kim Kardashian, speaking at the New York Times DealBook conference on Wednesday. Kardashian, who has 151 million Instagram followers and regularly receives more than 1 million likes on her posts, said the Instagram team has been discussing the changes with select users to get feedback, “and that makes me happy.”Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have been at the center of debate around issues like smartphone addiction and online health in recent years. As a result, product “health” has become a priority at the social-media companies, which are trying to balance the need to drive user growth and engagement with the outside perception that they are contributing to problems such as online bullying.Instagram, for example, has also announced a feature where users can limit the amount of time they spend on the app in a given day. Apple Inc. built a similar “time spent” feature into its iPhone software, and Google offers tools like this for Android phones. Twitter has a beta version of its main product that hides engagement metrics, including likes and retweets, from user replies and interactions.(Updates with quote from Mosseri.)\--With assistance from Sarah Frier and Candy Cheng.To contact the reporter on this story: Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, Andrew Pollack, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.