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Twitter on Monday announced that it had suspended hundreds of accounts on its platform in connection with the protests roiling Hong Kong.
Wireless carriers announced the slowing down of video services, like Netflix and Youtube, to avoid congestion concerns. But according to new research, throttling occurs with these services all the time. Yahoo Finance’s On The Move panel discusses.
Historic lows in long-term rates, and the inverted yield curve, suggests that China would be fighting what’s currently the market’s most powerful trend.
Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc said on Monday they had dismantled a state-backed information operation originating in mainland China that sought to undermine protests in Hong Kong. Twitter said it suspended 936 accounts and the operations appeared to be a coordinated state-backed effort originating in China. Facebook said it had removed accounts and pages from a small network.
(Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc. found and deleted hundreds of accounts it said China used to undermine the Hong Kong protest movement and calls for political change.The company said it took down 936 accounts that originated within China and attempted to manipulate perspectives on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. Facebook Inc., acting on a tip from Twitter, said it also found a similar Chinese government-backed operation on its social network, with five fake accounts, seven pages and three groups.“Based on our intensive investigations, we have reliable evidence to support that this is a coordinated state-backed operation,” Twitter said Monday in a blog post. “Overall, these accounts were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground.”Facebook came to the same conclusion. “Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found links to individuals associated with the Chinese government,” the company said in a blog post.Twitter said it also is going to stop accepting advertising from state-backed media worldwide, after finding propaganda messages that Chinese-run media paid to promote on its site. The ban doesn’t affect taxpayer-funded or independently operated media like the BBC.(Updates with Facebook’s ban in the second paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Frier in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew Pollack, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Counsellors who work with third-party Facebook moderators are alleging they are being pressured to reveal details of their sessions with workers. Face It Accenture is an Austin, Texas company that employs 1,500 Facebook moderators, whose job it is to scour the website and remove offensive content. Because these employees are often exposed to horrific posts, including hate speech and images of child abuse, they are offered mental health counselling. Or as Accenture refers to it, “wellness coaches.” But according to a report in The Intercept, those coaches are accusing Accenture managers of repeatedly pressuring them to reveal the details of those counselling sessions. One counsellor resigned rather than break this rule. No Confidence In a letter posted to Workspace that has been viewed thousands of times, an anonymous group of moderators allege that when a manager received pushback from a counsellor, citing confidentially concerns, they replied that “because this was not a clinical setting, confidentiality did not exist.” Facebook did not respond to specific questions about the violation, but released a statement affirming it’s dedication to “the needs of employees,” while Accenture denied the allegations. In Moderation A report earlier this year in The Verge detailed the difficulties of the moderators’ job, as the third-party contractors are exposed to horrific images, and are expected to view as many as 800 pieces of “disturbing content” per shift, with few breaks. Clean Up Crew Big tech companies like Facebook and YouTube are increasingly relying on so-called “digital janitors” to help clean up the internet and remove the posts no one needs to see. But while it is a growing sector, it’s not the best gig, as it is typically low wage, contract or part-time work without benefits, and the moderators are exposed to the bowels of the internet. How companies like Facebook and Google treats their contract workers is now being heavily scrutinized. As socially conscious ESG investing becomes more popular, the treatment of contract workers could very well become an issue, as the way a company treats its employees is a big part of achieving the S in the Environmental Social Corporate Governance rating. -Michael Tedder Photo by Adobe
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. The relationship between President Donald Trump and the largest U.S. technology companies has often been frosty but a common opponent -- France’s plan to tax U.S. tech giants -- will bring the two sides together, at least temporarily.Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. all testified in Washington on Monday in support of the Trump administration’s efforts to potentially punish France for enacting a 3% tax on global tech companies with at least 750 million euros ($832 million) in global revenue and digital sales of 25 million euros in France.France’s digital tax “is a sharp departure from long-established tax rules and uniquely targets a subset of businesses,” Nicholas Bramble, trade policy counsel at Google, said at the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office hearing in Washington on Monday. “French government officials have emphasized repeatedly that the” tax is intended to target foreign technology companies.How ‘Digital Tax’ Plans in Europe Hit U.S. Tech: QuickTakeThe U.S. is probing France’s new tax, which French President Emmanuel Macron signed into law last month, using a tool that could be a precursor to new tariffs or other trade restrictions. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer could take action as soon as Aug. 26 when a comment period on the issue closes.‘Radical Left’The effort to crack down on France has created common ground for Trump -- who has called Google and Facebook “on the side of the Radical Left Democrats” and accused Amazon of avoiding taxes -- and technology companies that are both worried foreign governments are looking to use American corporations as a way to collect additional tax revenue.While Amazon has increased its profit margins, even so the French digital tax could eat into profitability, said Peter Hiltz, the online retailer’s director of international tax and policy planning.If another country -- such as Spain -- were to enact a tax similar to France, that tax could compound, he said. If a French buyer were to buy a product from a Spanish seller, that transaction would be taxed by both countries, he said.The U.S. is looking to use France as an example to deter other countries from targeting American technology firms for tax dollars. The U.K., New Zealand, Spain and Italy are among countries considering their own digital taxes, a move that U.S. officials say could lead to companies being taxed multiple times on the same profits.Trump has threatened to tax French wine or other goods in response to the digital tax. Trump said he was considering a 100% tariff on French wine at a fund-raiser last week, though it’s unclear if he was being serious.He also tweeted last month “we will announce a substantial reciprocal action on Macron’s foolishness shortly!” The so-called 301 investigation, which looks into unfair trade practices, is the same tool Trump used to slap tariffs on China over alleged intellectual-property theft.The U.S. says countries considering their own version of a digital tax should focus on ongoing global talks with 130 countries on how to tax tech companies. Any future pact would likely create a whole new set of rules governing which countries have the right to tax the companies, which corporate profits are taxable, and how to resolve the inevitable disputes that would arise. A deal could be reached as soon as next year.Opposition to France’s tax is a rare area of bipartisan agreement in Congress. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in June, Senators Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, and Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, urged the U.S. to look at “all available tools under U.S. law to address such targeted and discriminatory taxation.”The lawmakers included a suggestion to use a section of the tax code that would double the rate of U.S. taxes on French citizens and companies in the U.S.(Updates with Amazon representatives comments starting in the sixth paragrah.)To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Davison in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at firstname.lastname@example.org, Sarah McGregor, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
In a world of large, faceless corporations, it can sometimes be nice to think of family values in business. What are the biggest family-owned businesses around?
Mastercard is building its own cryptocurrency team. The payments giant is a partner in the Facebook Libra project. Meanwhile Bitcoin is attempting to rally.
BENGALURU/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook contractor Genpact has raised minimum wages for the content moderation teams it runs for the Silicon Valley firm in India, the latest sign of improvement for workers after reports of stressful conditions at the social network's sites globally. Facebook Inc has unveiled several initiatives in the past six months to support wellbeing in teams doing the sometimes grueling and repetitive work of wading through billions of potentially harmful or violent posts on its platforms. Reuters reported in February on a group of workers at Genpact's offices in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, who described the work they did as underpaid, stressful and sometimes traumatic.
(Bloomberg) -- One of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges is looking to partner with governments and companies to develop new digital currencies as it competes with the Libra project spearheaded by Facebook Inc.To that end, Malta-based Binance said it plans to create an independent “regional version of Libra,” the digital coin being developed by Facebook Inc. and partners, in a Chinese-language statement on its website Monday. The firm run by Chief Executive Officer Zhao “CZ” Changpeng said its open blockchain project, Venus, is intended to “empower developed and developing countries to spur new currencies.’’Developing so-called stable coins like Tether that are pegged to the U.S. dollar or another traditional currency has become a goal for many crypto platforms. Traders have flocked to these lower-volatility coins as they can be used to facilitate transactions and to park funds during wild swings in prices.Unlike Facebook, which announced its Libra coin with 27 partners from Visa Inc. to Uber Technologies Inc. signed up, Binance did not say if any other players have signed up to Venus. Instead the company said it “welcomes additional government partners, companies and organizations with a strong interest and influence on a global scale to collaborate with us to build a new open alliance and sustainable community.’’Binance already has experience with stable coins, having issued a token pegged to the U.K. pound earlier in the year. The exchange says it handles an average $1.2 billion of trading volume a day.Crypto firms have not only struggled to maintain stability in coin prices, but also with security in holding the digital assets. In May, Binance said hackers withdrew 7,000 Bitcoins worth about $40 million in a “large scale security breach.”\--With assistance from Shiyin Chen.To contact the reporter on this story: Alastair Marsh in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: James Hertling at firstname.lastname@example.org, Todd White, Sid VermaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's Google has shut down a service it provided to wireless carriers globally that showed them weak spots in their network coverage, people familiar with the matter told Reuters, because of Google's concerns that sharing data from users of its Android phone system might attract the scrutiny of users and regulators. The withdrawal of the service, which has not been previously reported, has disappointed wireless carriers that used the data as part of their decision-making process on where to extend or upgrade their coverage. Google's Mobile Network Insights service, which had launched in March 2017, was essentially a map showing carriers signal strengths and connection speeds they were delivering in each area.
The report follows earlier news that Mastercard had teamed up with Facebook on Libra, the social media giant's cryptocurrency.
“Today’s hearing is about more than the French digital services tax. It is about preventing widescale application of unilateral excise taxes,” said Jennifer McCloskey, vice-president for policy at the Information Technology Industry Council, a Washington-based lobbying group. France has led the way in Europe towards imposing higher taxes on digital sales, amid frustration that US technology giants have been generating high volumes of business in the country but avoided large tax bills.
The Business Journal Untucked catches you up on Seattle-area business news from the past week, including an in-depth look at plane spotters, the rapid growth of Zillow Offers and Facebook's interest in Redmond.
(Bloomberg) -- A top long-only equity hedge fund is betting big on Internet dating.Helsinki-based HCP Focus, which has a slim portfolio of only 12 “high-conviction” stocks, has 16% of its funds invested in Tinder-operator Match Group Inc. The owner of subscription-based online dating websites and applications has risen 93% so far this year, with a surge in new Tinder subscribers boosting second-quarter revenue and fueling a record gain on August 7. HCP entered the stock at the beginning of 2017.“If you’re a heterosexual single guy, you don’t really care about the technical details,” Ernst Gronblom, portfolio manager at Helsinki Capital Partners, said by phone on Thursday. “When a dating platform has reached critical mass, it’s very, very hard to dislodge it. If a competing platform tries to enter the market, it’s very hard to convince people to create accounts on several dating platforms.”HCP Focus manages about 70 million euros ($78 million) and was the top long-only equity fund over the three years through the first quarter, according to BarclayHedge. It returned an average 22% a year in the past five years through July. Match is its biggest holding, followed by Amazon.com Inc., which has been one of the main holdings since the start of the fund.“It’s not overvalued,” he said. “But I don’t see an explosive upside in it anymore because it’s so huge. It has the potential to give a reasonably good return for quite some time.”Gronblom focuses on companies with network effects that can create “natural monopolies”. He also holds PayPal Holdings Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Facebook Inc., which has the strongest network effects “of any big company on the planet,” he said.Zeroing in on just 12 stocks is the “sweet spot” for Gronblom, giving enough diversification to keep volatility in check yet concentrated enough to give the full benefits of stock-picking, he said. That’s a strategy that has outperformed in recent years, but it faces risks in the short term from a global bear market.“Most of my portfolio companies are highly valued, at least according to traditional metrics,” he said. “If there’s a panic in the market these companies will typically suffer more severe losses than regular companies.“To contact the reporter on this story: Jonas Cho Walsgard in Oslo at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at firstname.lastname@example.org, Stephen TreloarFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.