FB - Facebook, Inc.

NasdaqGS - NasdaqGS Real-time price. Currency in USD
245.07
+0.57 (+0.23%)
At close: 4:00PM EDT
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Previous close244.50
Open243.68
Bid244.70 x 800
Ask244.76 x 1000
Day's range239.32 - 245.49
52-week range137.10 - 247.65
Volume22,982,716
Avg. volume25,883,600
Market cap699.19B
Beta (5Y monthly)1.20
PE ratio (TTM)33.63
EPS (TTM)7.29
Earnings date29 Jul 2020
Forward dividend & yieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-dividend dateN/A
1y target est247.93
  • Social network of 9,000 Black professionals will be much more than 'just a Black talent pool': CEO
    Yahoo Finance

    Social network of 9,000 Black professionals will be much more than 'just a Black talent pool': CEO

    Valence CEO Guy Primus shared his two-pronged approach to building a sustainable business with a mission to bridge Black talent and economic opportunity and achievement.

  • Facebook Mulls Political-Ad Blackout Ahead of U.S. Election
    Bloomberg

    Facebook Mulls Political-Ad Blackout Ahead of U.S. Election

    (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. is considering imposing a ban on political ads on its social network in the days leading up to the U.S. election in November, according to people familiar with the company’s thinking.The potential ban is still only being discussed and hasn’t yet been finalized, said the people, who asked not to be named talking about internal policies. A halt on ads could defend against misleading election-related content spreading as people prepare to vote. Still, there are concerns that an ad blackout may hurt “get out the vote” campaigns, or limit a candidate’s ability to respond widely to breaking news or new information.This would be a big change for Facebook, which has so far stuck to a policy of not fact-checking ads from politicians or their campaigns. That’s prompted criticism from lawmakers and advocates, who say the policy means ads on the platform can be used to spread lies and misinformation. Civil rights groups also argue the company doesn’t do enough to remove efforts to limit voter participation, and a recent audit found Facebook failed to enforce its own voter-suppression policies when it comes to posts from U.S. President Donald Trump.Facebook shares briefly dipped after Bloomberg‘s report, before recovering to close Friday at a record $245.07. Hundreds of advertisers are currently boycotting Facebook’s marketing products as part of a protest against its policies.Ad blackouts before elections are common in other parts of the world, including the U.K., where Facebook’s global head of policy, Nick Clegg, was once deputy prime minister. A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment.Facebook is an important platform for politicians, especially at a time when many people are stuck at home and campaign rallies pose potential health risks due to the coronavirus. In 2016, Trump used Facebook ads and the company’s targeting capabilities to reach millions of voters with tailored messaging, a strategy that some believe helped win him the election.Alex Stamos, Facebook’s former top security executive, said Friday that any political ad ban could benefit Trump. “Eliminating online political ads only benefits those with money, incumbency or the ability to get media coverage,” he tweeted. “Who does that sound like?”Democratic political operatives were quick to criticize the idea of a temporary ad blackout. Rob Flaherty, digital director for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign, suggested the potential ad ban was not a sufficient solution to misinformation. “Under this proposal the President could use organic posts to suppress voting by mail (as he did today), but Democrats could not run ads encouraging people to return their mail ballots,” he tweeted.Nell Thomas, chief technology officer for the Democratic National Committee, was also skeptical. “We said it seven months ago to @Google and we will say it again to @Facebook,” she tweeted. “A blunt ads ban is not a real solution to disinformation on your platform.”Spokespeople for the Biden and Trump campaigns didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, nor did a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee.Political advertising is a very small part of Facebook’s business. In the past 90 days, Trump and Biden have spent a combined $29.2 million on ads, according to the company’s self-reported data. In contrast, Facebook generated more than $17 billion in its latest quarter.Political advertising has been a complicated issue for online platforms, and many of them have taken different approaches. Twitter Inc. has banned most political ads, but still sells some “cause-based” ads that touch on economic, environmental or social issues. Google’s YouTube has already sold ad space on its homepage to the Trump campaign for the days leading up to November’s election -- a deal that ensures Trump will be highly visible on the video service when people start to vote.In 2016, Russian operatives used Facebook to spread misleading and divisive ads and posts. The company has made a series of changes since then to tighten up its political ad process, including the implementation of stricter requirements for buying marketing spots and the addition of a searchable ad archive.(Updates with comments from Biden digital director in the eighth 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 mulls ban on political ads ahead of U.S. elections: Bloomberg News
    Reuters

    Facebook mulls ban on political ads ahead of U.S. elections: Bloomberg News

    A Facebook spokesman said the company had no comment on the report. The social media company has been under fire for its policy of exempting politicians' ads and speech from fact-checking. Last year, smaller rival Twitter Inc banned political ads, but Facebook has maintained that it does not want to stifle political speech.

  • Facebook Users Still Dream of Getaways: Here’s the List of Travel’s Most Popular Videos in June
    Skift

    Facebook Users Still Dream of Getaways: Here’s the List of Travel’s Most Popular Videos in June

    One lodging company dominated travel brands' Facebook videos globally in June. Was it Marriott? Accor? InterContinental Hotels Group? No, the brand that attracted the most video views on Facebook in June — as it did in May — was Aurora Borealis Observatory, which describes itself as "a small family driven resort located at Senja Island […]

  • Sky News

    Facebook bug causes Spotify, Tinder and Pinterest apps to crash

    The iPhone apps for Spotify, Tinder and Pinterest crashed for users around the world on Friday due to a Facebook bug. The core issue was in Facebook's software developer kit (SDK) for iOS which embeds Facebook functionality within other apps, for instance allowing people to log in to Tinder using their Facebook accounts. Launching the apps in airplane mode with WiFi off appeared to let the apps boot without crashing, although as soon as airplane mode is turned off the apps would again crash.

  • 3 Places Advertisers Are Still Increasing Spend Despite COVID-19
    Motley Fool

    3 Places Advertisers Are Still Increasing Spend Despite COVID-19

    Ad buyers expect overall ad spend to decline about 20% in the second half of 2020, according to a survey from IAB last month. Traditional media will see a decline in ad spend, but most digital advertising channels will grow considerably in the second half of 2020. 59% of connected TV advertisers expect to increase their spend in the second half of the year, according to IAB's survey.

  • TikTok Teens Try To Trick Trump Campaign, Again
    Bloomberg

    TikTok Teens Try To Trick Trump Campaign, Again

    (Bloomberg) -- The TikTok-tivists are at it again.Thousands of users of the popular video app flocked to the Apple App Store in the last few days to flood U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign app with negative reviews. On Wednesday alone 700 negative reviews were left on the Official Trump 2020 app and 26 positive ones, according to tracking firm Sensor Tower.TikTok fans are retaliating for Trump’s threats to ban the app, which is owned by China’s Bytedance Ltd. and is hugely popular in the U.S., especially among teens. The thought of taking away a key social and entertainment hub in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to outrage.“For Gen Z and Millennials, TikTok is our clubhouse and Trump threatened it,” said Yori Blacc, a 19-year-old TikTok user in California who joined in the app protest. “If you’re going to mess with us, we will mess with you.”Blacc said the movement gained steam Wednesday when a popular TikTok user, DeJuan Booker, called on his 750,000 followers to seek revenge. He posted a step-by-step primer on how to degrade the app’s rating, notching 5.6 million views. “Gen Z don’t go down without a fight,” said Booker, who goes by @unusualbeing on TikTok. “Let’s go to war.”The Trump campaign said the effort hasn’t had any impact.“TikTok users don’t affect anything we do. What we do know is that the Chinese use TikTok to spy on its users,” said Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for the Trump Campaign. ByteDance has always denied such accusationsThe efforts to push the app low enough so that Apple will remove it from the app store may be misguided. Apple doesn’t delete apps based on their popularity. The App Store may review those that violate its guidelines or are outdated, but not if their ratings sink. A similar tactic was tried in April to protest Google Classroom by kids frustrated with quarantine home-schooling.But young people are looking for ways to make their voices heard, even if some of them can’t yet vote. Last month, many young people organized through TikTok to sign up to attend Trump’s first post-shutdown campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but then didn’t show up. The Trump campaign denied the online organizing effort contributed to lower-than-expected attendance.Nearly 60% of Gen Zers are opposed to a TikTok ban, according to a survey conducted from Tuesday to Thursday of 2,200 adults by Morning Consult Brand Intelligence. Across all ages, about a third of Americans have never heard of TikTok, while a third have a favorable impression and a third have an unfavorable view of the app, the survey found.Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. TikTok experienced connectivity issues on Thursday, according to Downdector, which measures web traffic, but the company said it had resolved them later the same day.Trump’s re-election smartphone app is a big part of the president’s unrivaled digital operation and was meant to circumvent tech companies like Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. and give the campaign a direct line to supporters. The app has helped the campaign engage Trump’s die-hard supporters, especially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, by feeding them his latest tweets and promoting virtual events. Supporters can donate to the president’s campaign or earn rewards for recruiting friends like VIP seats to rallies or photos with the president.The Official Trump 2020 app has been downloaded more than 500,000 times on Google’s Android store as of June 15. Apple doesn’t publish information on downloads.Reviews with titles such as “Terrible App” or “Do Not Download!” have been flooding the App Store since late June. Official Trump 2020 now has more than 103,000 one-star reviews for an overall rating of 1.2.But the uptick of activity has also caused the app to rise in rankings. Users have to download the app to review it, vaulting it to second place on the Apple store from No. 486 on Tuesday, according to Sensor Tower.“Do I think that this is going to fundamentally change the election? No,” said Tim Lim, a veteran Democratic digital strategist. “But it goes to show that they are just as susceptible to these mass actions as anyone else. Trump is starting to see what it feels like to have a massive online army committed to defeating him.”Trump earlier this week said his administration is considering banning TikTok as one way to retaliate against China over its handling of the coronavirus. Trump’s comments came after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told Americans not to download the app unless they want to see their private information fall into “the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.” Bytedance is also facing a U.S. national security review for its acquisition of startup Musical.ly. It has denied allegations that it poses a threat to U.S. national security.Trump didn’t offer specifics about a potential decision and Pompeo seemed to walk back the idea of a ban in a later statement, saying that the U.S. efforts to protect American consumers’ data don’t relate to any one particular company.Many TikTok users say they care less about potential Chinese snooping and more about Trump taking away their digital hangout. In the U.S., TikTok has been downloaded more than 165 million times, according to Sensor Tower.“I don’t believe Trump is trying to take TikTok away because of national security, but more to retaliate against activism on the app and all the videos about him that drag him through the mud,” said Darius Jackson, an 18-year-old TikTok user in Champaign, Illinois, who asked his followers Wednesday to give Trump’s app a one-star rating.“This is the first year I’ll be able to vote and I think activism on TikTok is going to make a big difference,” Jackson said.(Updates with Trump campaign response from sixth paragraph. A previous version of the story corrected the spelling of the Illinois city in the penultimate 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.

  • Ban or no ban, Facebook wins in US threats against TikTok
    TechCrunch

    Ban or no ban, Facebook wins in US threats against TikTok

    On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. is "looking at" banning Chinese social media apps, including the Chinese-owned company TikTok, comparing it to other Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE that have been deemed national security threats by the current administration. The fear is the app could be used to surveil or influence Americans, or else that TikTok parent ByteDance could be made to provide the Chinese government with TikTok's data on its U.S.-based users -- of which there are at least 165 million. India, calling TikTok a "threat to sovereignty and integrity," decided to ban the app late last week, saying it had similar concerns.

  • Stock market news live updates: Stocks mostly lower after Nasdaq sets record high
    Yahoo Finance

    Stock market news live updates: Stocks mostly lower after Nasdaq sets record high

    Stocks abruptly turned negative Thursday as fears over the economic outlook following an increase in coronavirus cases resurged. The Dow and S&P 500 wiped out their week to date gains.

  • Facebook Removes Dozens of Accounts Linked to Bolsonaro
    Bloomberg

    Facebook Removes Dozens of Accounts Linked to Bolsonaro

    (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. has removed dozens of pages linked to Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro and his sons for violating the platform’s rules regarding fake accounts.The measure announced on Wednesday is part of global efforts to purge inauthentic accounts that the tech company said were working together to mislead users about who they were and what they were doing. In Brazil, Facebook said it identified a network of accounts linked to employees of the Bolsonaros that worked to “create fictitious personas posing as reporters, post content, and manage pages masquerading as news outlets.”In total, the tech giant said it was deleting 73 Facebook and Instagram accounts, 14 pages and one group.“When we take these actions, it’s based on the behavior we see in the platform, not the actors behind it or what they say,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, said on a call with journalists.The bans involved employees of Bolsonaro and members of his party, but didn’t result in enforcement against the politicians themselves, because there was no direct evidence they were involved in the operation. “We remove everything involved in the operation, whether it is real or fake,” said Gleicher, “but we don’t necessarily make leaps of inference beyond what we can prove.”The president and his social media savvy sons Eduardo and Flavio have long used social media networks to push their political views and rally their base of supporters. Brazil’s Supreme Court is investigating allegations made by political rivals and the local press that the Bolsonaros have spread conspiracy theories, slander and lies -- accusations they deny.Read More: In Hunt for ‘Office of Hate,’ Brazil’s Supreme Court Closes InOpposition parties asked Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who’s leading the fake news probe, to also investigate the case unveiled by Facebook, Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported.Free SpeechFlavio, a senator, called the banning of accounts an assault on free speech. “It’s impossible to assess what kind of profile was banned or whether the platform has crossed the limit of censorship,” he said in a statement.Eduardo tweeted that “being censured on social networks is turning into a sign that the content is good and makes the left uncomfortable.” The presidential office didn’t responded to a request for comment.The bans come as Brazilian authorities are taking aggressive steps to stem the spread of disinformation. Last week, Brazil’s Senate passed draft legislation that would impose strict messaging rules and data-storage requirements on social media companies.In May, the Supreme Court ordered federal police to raid dozens of properties and seize computers, smartphones and bank records of influential Bolsonaro allies. The judge leading the investigation said he saw evidence of the existence of a “criminal association” dedicated to mass dissemination of fake news.(Adds request for top court to investigate the case 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.

  • WhatsApp Business, now with 50M MAUs, adds QR codes and catalog sharing
    TechCrunch

    WhatsApp Business, now with 50M MAUs, adds QR codes and catalog sharing

    The global COVID-19 health pandemic has raised the stakes for businesses when it comes to using digital channels to connect with customers, and today WhatsApp unveiled its latest tools to help businesses use its platform to do just that. The Facebook-owned messaging behemoth is expanding the reach and use of QR codes to let customers easily connect with businesses on the platform, providing them also with a series of stickers (pictured below) to kick off "we're open for business" campaigns; and it's made it possible for businesses to start sharing WhatsApp-based catalogs -- dynamic lists of items that can in turn be ordered by users -- as links outside of the WhatsApp platform itself. The new launches come as WhatsApp's business efforts pass some significant milestones.

  • Black YouTubers Ask Why They’re Left Out of YouTube Kids
    Bloomberg

    Black YouTubers Ask Why They’re Left Out of YouTube Kids

    (Bloomberg) -- About a year ago, Zerius Zontay discovered that his family’s work was no longer appearing on YouTube Kids. He and his wife, Symphony, regularly post short clips on the giant video-sharing site, featuring their three sons, who play with toys, sing songs and joke around. Zontay wanted to get their clips back on YouTube’s app for kids, a destination where the video site tries to direct viewers who are under the age of 13. For months, Zontay lobbied YouTube, repeatedly sending emails to community managers, to no avail. Then, in June, as protests against police misconduct spurred a national conversation on race, his frustration simmered over. “I’m seeing YouTube promoting Black Lives Matter, but with the Kids app, they’re showing that certain kids don’t matter,” said Zontay, a former music teacher. “You scroll for a long, long, long, long time before you get to a Black face.”In recent years, YouTube has come under intense pressure for how it handles kids content, both for letting too many underage people use YouTube’s main site and for allowing harmful programming in the Kids app. In 2017, YouTube published a “Field Guide for Creating Family Content,” and began restricting more types of programming from appearing in the app. Last year, the Zontays’ channel disappeared from YouTube Kids at a time when the video site was removing thousands of channels in bulk to try and cleanse the app of inappropriate content.When reached for comment, a YouTube spokesperson sent a statement in response. “We are committed to supporting and amplifying Black creators on YouTube Kids and have launched programming initiatives designed to highlight equality, racial justice, and activism for kids of different ages, but we recognize there’s more to be done,” it read. YouTube, part of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, pitches itself as an equalizer in the media world, allowing anyone to upload videos and amass an audience. But some of YouTube’s video producers say the company hasn’t done enough to support diversity. In June, four Black YouTube creators sued the company for racial discrimination, arguing that the service automatically removed their videos. YouTube has said it doesn’t discriminate and that the suit is without merit. On June 11, YouTube announced a new $100 million fund for Black creators.  The opacity surrounding YouTube’s recommendations, rules and content-moderation process is a frequent source of frustration among its users. YouTube staff members don’t select the videos or the content creators that get promoted, instead letting its software surface programming based on viewing habits. The Zontays were never notified directly that their programming had been removed from the Kids app. Instead, they learned about it when a fan reached out and asked why their videos were missing. While they waited for an answer from YouTube, the Zontays saw a post on Facebook from a YouTube creator with the inverse problem: Their video was inadvertently appearing on the Kids app even though they had uploaded footage not intended for minors. “It makes no sense,” said Symphony Zontay. Melanie, the owner of CrayCrayFamilyTV, a Black family-friendly vlogging channel, said she has experienced similarly puzzling problems. (She asked that Bloomberg News not use her last name for privacy reasons.) Videos of her two daughters, Naiah and Eli, have been removed from YouTube Kids without explanation while the family’s clips of doll videos have remained on the app. She suspects YouTube’s algorithm may be at work, surfacing similar videos from families with a different racial profile. “It’s more digestible to see very lily-white families doing things,” she said. “It’s just unfortunate.” A company spokeswoman told Bloomberg News that some channels have been removed because a number of their videos—showing the binge consumption of junk food or “pranks where kids were in distress”—were “not enriching or appropriate” for children. The company said that many of those channels have since “adjusted” their content and, as a result, would be reinstated on the Kids app. YouTube didn’t specify which channels had run afoul of the rules.Zerius Zontay said his family has not produced any inappropriate videos and pointed to several examples of clips currently available on the Kids app that feature pranks and skits involving junk food. “We do not have this type of content, but others do and they are on the app!” he wrote in an email. YouTube Kids draws a fraction of YouTube’s main audience, but the app is where parents, educators and YouTube steer children. Last fall, after settling with U.S. regulators for violating children’s-privacy laws, YouTube began promoting the app with videos that creators or the company deemed “Made for Kids.” For millions of children, YouTube has replaced television as the central medium for passing the time and learning how the world works. There are Black creators on YouTube Kids, and the site’s top-earning channel, Ryan’s World, features an Asian-American family.Even after being kicked off of the Kids app, the Zontay family’s programming continued to thrive on YouTube’s main site. Their primary channels, ZZ Kids TV and Goo Goo Colors, have more than 6.5 million subscribers—just shy of Nickelodeon’s numbers on YouTube. In 2019, the two channels brought in over 97 million views on the Kids app before being removed, according to Zerius Zontay.“In parts of the country where they aren’t seeing Black faces, how else are they going to learn about diversity if not through YouTube?” said Melissa Hunter, head of Family Video Network, a multichannel network that represents the Zontays.On June 28, the Zontays posted a 52-minute video about the issue. In it, Zerius, Symphony and their three sons are wearing shirts that read, “Black Entertainment Matters.” A few days later, they found that their channels had been reinstated on YouTube Kids with no explanation. 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.

  • Google Campus Security Singled Out Black, Latinx Employees
    Bloomberg

    Google Campus Security Singled Out Black, Latinx Employees

    (Bloomberg) -- Google’s campus security system subjected Black and Latinx workers to bias and prompted complaints to management, according to people familiar with the situation, leading the company to scrap a key part of the approach.The internet giant encouraged employees to check colleagues’ ID badges on campus, and asked security staff to do the same. This went beyond the typical corporate office system where workers swipe badges to enter. The policy was designed to prevent unauthorized visitors and keep Google’s open work areas safe.But some staffers told management that Black and Latinx workers had their badges checked more often than other employees, according to the people, who experienced this themselves or saw friends and colleagues go through it.As a result, these employees felt policed on campus in a similar way that they are under suspicion elsewhere in life, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the issue. It’s an example of the unconscious, or overlooked, biases that make working in Silicon Valley harder for minorities, the people added.Some workers complained about the security system to Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai, and, in the midst of recent nationwide protests against racism and police brutality, he committed to change. In a June 17 blog post, the CEO pledged donations and more diverse leadership, and said the practice of asking Googlers to check each other’s ID badges would end. The change seems small, but it illuminates how Black and brown employees struggle to fit in at Google, and elsewhere in Silicon Valley. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.Read more: For Black CEOs in Tech, Humiliation Is a Part of Doing Business“We’re working to create a stronger sense of inclusion and belonging for Googlers in general and our Black+ community in particular,” Pichai wrote in the blog, which was also sent as a memo to staff. “We have realized this process is susceptible to bias.”Alphabet Inc.’s Google has tried to increase the diversity of its workforce. The company was among the first to release an annual diversity report, and it has pledged to hire more minorities, women and LGBTQ employees for years. However, progress has been slow, especially when it comes to hiring and retaining Black people. Just 3.7% of Google’s U.S. workforce is Black and 5.9% is Latinx, according to its most recent diversity report. Other tech giants have also struggled with this.Read more: Facebook, Google Diversity Pledges Follow Scant Progress on Race The recent wave of anti-racism protests and a broader embrace of the Black Lives Matter movement spurred underrepresented workers at Google to push for more and faster change. A Black Leadership Advisory Group met multiple times with Pichai after the police killing of George Floyd. The badge-checking system was one of the top issues highlighted by the group. So the CEO’s decision to scrap the policy was a big deal for Black and Latinx workers, according to the people familiar with the situation.Pichai said Google had been researching changes to its campus security policy over the past year, but the protests likely prompted faster action. The company had been increasing workplace security since April 2018, when three employees were shot at the Silicon Valley headquarters of its YouTube video unit.The insistence on checking employee IDs was meant to discourage “tailgaters” -- people who followed others into Google buildings without swiping badges to enter. But in practice, Black and Latinx employees were stopped and told “Let me see your badge,” even after they proved they had the right to enter the office by swiping in, one of the people said.The resulting impression Black employees got is that they don’t belong, that their education, credentials and gainful employment aren’t enough to avoid suspicion based on the color of their skin, the people said. One staffer described the policy as death by a thousand cuts, which may have contributed to some Black and Latinx employees leaving the company. Retaining diverse workers is a challenge other companies face, too.Another Google worker noted that Google’s previous policy empowered employees outside of security staff to weigh in on who belonged on campus and who didn’t. Pichai conceded in his memo that the policy may have added to a loss of “psychological safety” among Black workers and other underrepresented employees.Even with the CEO’s recent changes, some Black employees don’t expect the company to become a haven for Black advancement any time soon. One worker pointed out that the company has committed to hiring and promoting “underrepresented” executives, not specifically Black people.Another Black employee said they were heartened to see that Pichai’s pledge included a specific target this time -- increase leadership from underrepresented groups by 30% by 2025. There are some big open roles at Google right now, so workers will be watching to see if real change happens, this person said.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.

  • TikTok Says a Quarter of Videos Removed Involve Misbehaving Kids
    Bloomberg

    TikTok Says a Quarter of Videos Removed Involve Misbehaving Kids

    (Bloomberg) -- Almost a quarter of the videos TikTok took down in 2019’s second half involved inappropriate behavior by minors, from illegal drug use to sexual activity.The Chinese-owned social video service said 24.8% of the clips removed were “depicting harmful, dangerous, or illegal behavior by minors, like alcohol or drug use, as well as more serious content we take immediate action to remove.” Another 15.6% “violated our suicide, self-harm, and dangerous acts policy,” TikTok said in its second transparency report.TikTok -- which has insisted it operates independently of Beijing despite its Chinese ownership -- has come under fire in the U.S. and India for the way it polices content on a platform used by more than a billion people. Parent ByteDance Ltd. has been accused of censoring content that may anger the Chinese government, even as scrutiny grows about its control over the personal information of youths.The report made no mention of requests related to China, where ByteDance is based but TikTok doesn’t operate. A company spokesperson said it also didn’t receive a single data request in the second half from Hong Kong, a market it’s abandoned after Beijing passed a controversial law to grant police sweeping powers over online content. This week, U.S. internet giants from Facebook Inc. to Google said they will stop processing data requests from the city’s government, signaling their opposition to the legislation. TikTok was no longer available on Apple’s and Google’s Hong Kong app stores as of Thursday.Read more: TikTok Pulling Out of Hong Kong After China Law ControversyThe video sharing app said it removed more than 49 million clips overall, according to its report on enforcement of content policy and government takedown requests. Of those removed videos, more than 16 million originated in India, a small portion of which came down after government request. TikTok said that of the total videos removed, its systems proactively caught and removed 98.2% before a user reported them, while 89.4% were taken down before they got any views.The disclosure from TikTok comes in the same week as reports that the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice have started to inquire about the company’s data practices -- specifically accusations that the app collected data on users under the age of 13. A prior iteration of the app paid $5.7 million in 2019 to settle similar claims by the FTC.“TikTok takes the issue of safety seriously for all our users,” a spokesperson said this week, “and we continue to further strengthen our safeguards and introduce new measures to protect young people on the app.” He declined to comment on whether the FTC or DOJ had approached TikTok about an investigation.Read more: TikTok Owner’s Profit Said to Hit $3 Billion as Sales DoubleFor 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 Co-founder’s B Capital Warns of Tough Times for Cash-Guzzlers
    Bloomberg

    Facebook Co-founder’s B Capital Warns of Tough Times for Cash-Guzzlers

    (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital Group plans to deploy its second $820 million venture capital fund toward capital-efficient startups, avoiding cash-burning firms during a time of global turmoil.“For us, it’s always been about unit economics, path to profitability,” Kabir Narang, general partner and co-head of Asia for B Capital, said an interview with Bloomberg TV’s Haslinda Amin and Yvonne Man. “For businesses that are cash guzzling, those will face challenges and headwinds. It’s a wakeup call for the ecosystem.”Founded by Saverin and former Bain & Co. executive Raj Ganguly, B Capital bets on startups such as delivery firm Ninja Van that support growth sectors like e-commerce rather than e-commerce itself. The firm was so named because it aimed to fill the so-called Series B funding gap. In 2015, seed and early-stage financing known as Series A made up 90% of all startup investments in Southeast Asia.Since then, about $36 billion has poured into VC- and private equity-backed startups in the region, propelling a tripling in its internet economy to $100 billion, Narang said. He expects the market to triple again to $300 billion in the next three to four years. But the executive cautioned investors against short-term market uncertainty, particularly as the U.S. and other countries clash with a rapidly growing China. India banned 59 Chinese apps after a border dispute led to violent clashes.“Just in the last two, three months, there was oil price shock, a health pandemic and geopolitical tension,” he said. “It is going to be choppy in the short term. The key for investors is to focus on big businesses that are going to survive and thrive in the next five, 10, 15 years.”With its second fund, B Capital will focus on Series B to D funding rounds for leading startups in enterprise software, fintech, transportation, logistics and health-care, he added. B Capital’s typical investment size is $10 million to $60 million.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

    Six Hours Will Decide India’s Next Digital Winners

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Time will be the next frontier in India’s digital battlefield; dollars will follow the hours consumers spend online.India has left a void in their day by banning 59 Chinese apps after a border dispute with its northern neighbor led to violent clashes. The video-sharing platform TikTok, which became a craze in towns and villages as a medium of expression, is gone. So are its smaller cousins, like Bigo Live and Likee.What can fill the gap? Thanks to the world’s cheapest data charges of 9 cents per gigabyte, Indian smartphone users are guzzling content for six hours plus. For local startups like Glance, which offers games, news and video on the mobile lock-screen, the ban on Chinese competition is a chance to add to its tally of 100 million daily active users. The country’s youth bulge also makes it a perfect occasion for homegrown education technology unicorns like Byju to scale up.But the ultimate prize may go to super-apps that meld content and commerce in the 16 Indian languages besides English that boast anywhere between 5 million to half a billion speakers. To not have to download multiple apps to do different things will save phone memory, an important consideration for those who access the internet on low-end devices. Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat, which offers everything from messaging to gaming and financial services, provides a successful template. Chinese users are also online for six hours a day, mostly to browse content, particularly social media. Although only 4% of their time is spent on e-commerce, it’s enough to drive $1.5 trillion in annual online sales. The smaller Indian market, with online sales of $40 billion, will want to copy the playbook.  The most obvious super-app candidate is billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms Ltd., a four-year-old startup with an equity value of $65 billion, including more than $15 billion recently raised from investors including Facebook Inc., KKR & Co. and Silver Lake Partners. Before Jio eventually seeks a listing on Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange, Ambani would probably want it ready as a carriage-content-and-commerce powerhouse for half-a-billion people.Jio’s 4G telecom service already has roughly 400 million subscribers, though they currently don’t even pay $2 a month. The trick to a $100 billion-plus initial public offering would lie in using the partnership with Facebook to introduce features such as the WeChat mini-program via the popular WhatsApp messaging service. It lets users book hotels, order taxis, explore augmented reality to try on a new L’Oreal beauty product, or test-drive a Tesla — without leaving WeChat. When it comes to building product awareness and interest, these embedded mini-apps in China are now a fourth as effective as regular online stores run by JD.com Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., according to McKinsey & Co. They will offer brands in India a chance to sell more — and more profitably — even in remote towns. The consulting firm found that younger consumers in smaller Chinese cities give more weight to advice from social-media influencers and referrals by friends than their counterparts in larger metropolitan areas. This will probably hold true for India as well. As for the actual commerce, JioMart, Ambani’s new e-commerce platform, would take orders and — if the regulator permits it — accept payments via WhatsApp. Staples could be delivered by traditional neighborhood stores, with Jio helping connect them to buyers. For discretionary products, Ambani may use his Reliance Retail Ltd., already the country’s largest bricks-and-mortar retailer. It won’t be too hard to grease the wheels of super-app commerce with credit. Local lenders will be desperate for a new source of balance-sheet expansion after absorbing inevitable losses from the pandemic and lockdown. Still, the road to satisfied digital customers will be long and bumpy because of India’s creaky infrastructure. Keeping users hooked with novel content will therefore be crucial. Facebook is building a new version of Quest virtual reality headsets; the Silicon Valley firm is also acquiring studios that make VR games. Jio, which wants its set-top box to support online gaming, could find opportunities for collaboration.However, the main entertainment fare will still be cricket and Bollywood. Last year, Ambani promised Jio First Day First Show — movies streamed to broadband customers on the day of their theater release. With Covid-19 shutting down cinemas, producers in India need digital alternatives; audiences need their fix.  Although Ambani appears to be ahead, his won’t be India’s only super-app. Amazon.com Inc. has pledged to invest $5.5 billion in the country, while Walmart Inc. has plowed in $16 billion to acquire local e-commerce leader Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Potentially, they — or Alphabet Inc.’s Google — could seek telecom and digital media partners.Western tech firms were broadly shut out of China’s digital revolution. In India, they’ll join the fray, hoping for insights that will come in handy in other emerging markets. But India will still prefer local control over the super-apps. Six hours a day of 1.3 billion people — and all the data that flows from it — is a coveted resource, something politicians won’t want slipping out of their sphere of influence. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.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.

  • Facebook Has Been Weaponized for Hate, Says Civil Rights Leader
    Bloomberg

    Facebook Has Been Weaponized for Hate, Says Civil Rights Leader

    Jul.08 -- Vanita Gupta, chief executive officer of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, discusses an independent civil rights audit of Facebook. She speaks on "Bloomberg Technology."

  • Facebook and Instagram boot close Trump ally Roger Stone for network of fake accounts
    TechCrunch

    Facebook and Instagram boot close Trump ally Roger Stone for network of fake accounts

    Facebook released today its latest report detailing disinformation campaigns operating on its massive social network, and this one came with a few surprises. In the new report, Facebook disclosed that it had removed a network of accounts linked to close Trump ally and former campaign advisor Roger Stone for "inauthentic" activity and coordinated fake accounts around the time of the 2016 presidential election. Facebook has since removed Stone's own accounts from both Facebook and Instagram.

  • Facebook takes down accounts and pages of Trump ally Roger Stone
    Reuters

    Facebook takes down accounts and pages of Trump ally Roger Stone

    The social media platform said Stone and his associates, including a prominent supporter of the right-wing Proud Boys group in Stone's home state of Florida, had used fake accounts and followers to promote Stone's books and posts. Facebook moved against Stone on the same day it took down accounts tied to employees of the family of Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro and two other networks connected to domestic political operations in Ecuador and Ukraine. Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, said the removals were meant to show that artificially inflating engagement for political impact would be stopped, no matter how well connected the practitioners.

  • Facebook suspends disinformation network tied to staff of Brazil's Bolsonaro
    Reuters

    Facebook suspends disinformation network tied to staff of Brazil's Bolsonaro

    The company said that despite efforts to disguise who was behind the activity, it had found links to the staff of two Brazilian lawmakers, as well as the president and his sons, Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro and Senator Flavio Bolsonaro. Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, said the accounts were removed for using fake personas and other types of "coordinated inauthentic behaviour" which violated the company's rules. Facebook said it has also suspended three other networks on Wednesday, including one it attributed to Roger Stone, a longtime friend and adviser of U.S. President Donald Trump.

  • Slack co-founder: We will be more aggressive with acquisitions
    Yahoo Finance

    Slack co-founder: We will be more aggressive with acquisitions

    Yahoo Finance catches up quickly with Slack co-founder Stewart Butterfield in the wake of the company announcing its sixth-ever acquisition.

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