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Yahoo Finance's Dan Roberts, Julia La Roche, Brian Cheung, and Rick Newman break down Elizabeth Warren's strategy for highlighting how Facebook's fact-checking doesn't do enough to stop misinformation.
Oct.11 -- Michael Pachter, Wedbush analyst, explains why he doesn't think Facebook Inc. will be able to launch its Libra cryptocurrency. He speaks with Bloomberg's Taylor Riggs on "Bloomberg Technology."
Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency faces a pivotal meeting of backers on Monday, days after the ambitious project to bring digital coins into mainstream commerce suffered a severe setback when major payment firms quit. Mastercard and Visa abandoned the Geneva-based Libra Association on Friday, as did eBay, fintech startup Stripe and payments company Mercado Pago. The exodus followed warnings from politicians and regulators, from the United States to Europe, that Libra risked upsetting global financial stability, undermining users' privacy and facilitating money laundering.
(Bloomberg) -- Indian fintech giant Paytm is close to scoring $2 billion of new financing from investors including Jack Ma’s Ant Financial and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. to fend off an influx of new rivals, a person familiar with the matter said.The funding will be split evenly between equity and debt and values the country’s top online financial services firm at $16 billion, the person said, asking not to be identified talking about a private deal. The talks are in their final stages but the terms could still change, the person added.If a deal is finalized, Paytm could outstrip fellow high-profile Asian startups such as Grab and Gojek in valuation. Billionaire Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma is raising capital to protect the startup’s share of a potentially $1 trillion Indian payments market from new entrants including Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart’s PhonePe. Over the past year, a string of new apps have made payments increasingly easy, bringing discounts and cash bonuses to young, smartphone-savvy users.Credit Suisse Group AG now estimates that the Indian digital payments market will touch $1 trillion by 2023 from about $200 billion currently. It’s a market with huge potential: Cash still accounts for 70% of all Indian transactions by value, according to Credit Suisse, and neighboring China is far more advanced with a mobile payments market worth more than $5 trillion.“India is a large market,” said Kunal Pande, head of financial services risk consulting at KPMG. “Digital payments adoption is growing quickly, yet there is room for massive growth as users get comfortable transacting digitally. The large business opportunity makes it attractive for both domestic startups and large global players.”Read more: Facebook and Google Chase a New $1 Trillion Payments MarketPaytm, which is also backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., declined to comment in response to emailed questions. SoftBank wasn’t immediately available for comment during a Japanese national holiday. Ant had no immediate comment when contacted.Paytm has in a decade become India’s biggest digital-payments brand, attracting big names in investing from Ma and SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son to Warren Buffett. Paytm’s Sharma got a huge boost in 2016 after India’s government moved to eliminate most of the nation’s paper money in circulation in a bid to curb corruption. His startup, a pioneer in the country’s nascent field, saw tens of millions of consumers and hundreds of thousands of businesses sign up for digital services in a matter of months.The entrepreneur is now extending his online empire into e-commerce and banking, even as others encroach on his turf. The Indian payments market remains a chaotic field where the rules are hazy on what players can offer, yet its promise has lured a string of competitors including Indian banks, its postal service and its richest man, Mukesh Ambani.Ant Financial, China’s largest provider of internet financial services and one of Paytm’s earliest backers, has said it will continue investing in mobile-payment providers around the world to boost offshore revenue and buttress itself from rising competition and tighter regulation at home.It’s not clear how much SoftBank would contribute, but the Japanese company is going through a rocky stretch. SoftBank’s shares are down about 30% from their peak this year as investors, unnerved by the WeWork turmoil and Uber Technologies Inc.‘s disappointing debut, grow skittish about startup valuations.(Updates with comment from analyst in fifth paragraph)\--With assistance from Lulu Yilun Chen.To contact the reporter on this story: Saritha Rai in Bangalore at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Arijit Ghosh at email@example.com, ;Sarah Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org, Edwin Chan, Giles TurnerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Stock futures: Beijing reportedly wants more talks before signing a "phase one" trade deal. Apple is at record highs while Microsoft, Google, Nvidia, Facebook, Visa are near buys.
The proposed deal would give SoftBank more than a 50 per cent stake in the company, but it was unclear if the group — which is WeWork’s largest backer — would repurchase all of its outstanding stock.
(Bloomberg) -- VSCO got its start in 2011 as a software program to help professional and hobby photographers edit and enhance their work, using both traditional touch-up tools and more creative ones like gauzy, colorful filters. In the past six months, it has become famous for something else. Credit the VSCOgirls.Through little effort of its own, VSCO was catapulted into the global limelight this summer. Teenagers and young women discovered that VSCO’s filters perfectly captured a certain carefree, beachy aesthetic, inspiring thousands of snapshots of long-haired girls clutching Hydro Flask water bottles and sporting Birkenstock sandals to pose in sun-kissed, wind-swept photos. As the trend gained momentum, it also turned into a meme, often coming off as a parody of itself. Posts tagged VSCOgirl flooded Instagram and TikTok, and the theme even showed up at the Global Climate Strike. The free publicity has drawn in a new cohort of users who saw the hashtag on their social media feeds and tracked down the VSCO app. They liked what they found— not only original photo-editing tools but also an online, low-pressure community of creatives. Think of it as Instagram, but with no likes or follower counts. Joel Flory, co-founder of Visual Supply Co., as it’s officially known, isn't complaining. The surge in interest has boosted the app to No. 7 in its category on Google Play and Apple Inc.’s App Store, from a rank in the double digits in May. Twenty-one million, or more than 10%, of the app’s total 200 million downloads since 2011, have come from May 1 through the end of September, according to researcher App Annie.As more young people flock to VSCO, the challenge for the company will be to leverage the audience it’s gained from Instagram and TikTok to keep and extend this new user base. And convince more people to sign up for a $20 annual subscription— without sacrificing its status as a creative sanctuary.Flory started VSCO – based in Oakland, California, and pronounced to rhyme with “Frisco” – with Greg Lutze as a place for creative professionals like themselves. In the beginning, VSCO sold filters for photographers using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to help enhance images and streamline the editing process. In 2012, they launched a mobile app and made money by charging for individual filters or packages of them. Next came the VSCO Grid, an in-house social network that allowed users to follow each other and share their work. Eventually the company added more social-media type features, such as the ability to message people and to republish other’s posts. Even as it became more like Instagram, VSCO made a conscious decision to draw some distinct lines.In fact, Flory attributes VSCO’s recent surge to all of the ways it’s different from Facebook Inc.’s Instagram, which thrives on likes, a tally of followers, sponsored influencers and ads. VSCO has none of those metrics. What attracts people to VSCO is its focus on expression and creativity without any pressure for social validation, according to Flory. “We don’t sell ads, we don’t sell data,” says Flory, 39. “We sell something that people find value in directly paying for. We’ve been very intentional about that from day one.”Some of VSCO’s 20 million weekly users have indeed found value in sharing their personal posts outside the social media circus. Jesse Calderon, 19, who has been using VSCO since 2014, said that when she was in high school people used it as a “secret Instagram,” because it was a more carefree space. Eleanor Larson, 18, said she’s had VSCO since junior high and after starting out using it just to edit photos, she now also uses it to post digital art and journal entries. VSCO is for her “work in progress,” whereas Instagram is for “finished products,” she said.While viral, monetizable social interaction and influence is what led Facebook to acquire Instagram in 2012 for almost $1 billion, there’s been a growing backlash against the need for posts to be “Instagram perfect,” and an increasing sense that social networks can encourage comparisons to an unreachable ideal. Instagram itself announced earlier this year that it was considering hiding like counts on posts, hoping to center users’ focus on the actual content shared, rather than the number of likes they get. VSCO, which Flory likes to describe as a creative community where people go to express their real selves rather than worrying how other people see them, has benefitted from the growing disillusionment with the potential negative emotional and mental-health effects of social media.Markus Cooper, 19, who runs an Instagram account with more than 2 million followers, says VSCO has been popular for years as a way to edit photos. Recently he feels like it’s become more of a social network, but “a healthier space than Instagram. Just because there’s no likes there’s no comments there’s no nothing.” Cooper recently shared his first photo on VSCO’s feed.The company has evidence it’s onto something. In a recent study, VSCO found that its users, 75% of whom are under 25, appreciate the platform as a place where they can post whatever they want without concern of judgment from their peers. It also showed 82% of Gen Z-ers – roughly those age 10 to 25 – surveyed refrained from posting things online out of fear of what others might think.Last year, VSCO’s paid subscribers reached 2 million, and Flory said the company is on pace to nearly double that this year. Paid subscribers get access to more than 130 preset filters, as well as advanced editing tools including for video. The free version offers about 10 basic filters.Revenue in 2018 doubled from the previous year to $50 million, according to Forbes – the company doesn’t disclose financial information and declined to comment on revenue. VSCO recently announced it’s opening a new office in Chicago and plans to add 20 employees to its current workforce of more than 150. Backed by $90 million in venture capital from Glynn Capital Management and Accel, VSCO was valued at $550 million in 2015, according to Pitchbook. It’s probably worth more than that today, VSCO said, without providing a more specific updated valuation. Photographer Nesrin Danan, 24, said VSCO is her go-to app for editing personal iPhone photos, although she doesn’t use it for her professional work capturing music artists including Shawn Mendes to A$AP Rocky. For Danan, VSCO has always been a place she edits images before posting elsewhere. So she was surprised at some of the comments she received when she spoke at a convention for young influencer-hopefuls, called Brand Camp, earlier this year. “They were like, ‘We don’t even post on Instagram anymore, we just post on VSCO,’” Danan recalls. The high school attendees told her that feedback such as likes and follows wasn’t important. VSCO just looked cool.John Barnett, co-founder of Chroma Labs, and a former Instagram product manager whose resume includes inventing Boomerang, says for Gen Z, “visual creation is their thing. Successful apps over the last decade that you see are apps that give teens tools to express themselves.” Of course all memes have a life cycle and sooner or later VSCOgirls will be overtaken by something else. But Flory isn’t worried. He’s seen plenty of trends come and go on VSCO and says the site is ``anything but one side, one perspective or one stereotype.” Flory says he sees it as “a win-win, because really all it is, is an opportunity that creates a sense of awareness. And once VSCO is in someone’s mind they’ll go seek out what it is.”To contact the author of this story: Kiley Roache in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Molly Schuetz at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
“Keep an eye out — this could be our big chance for a selfie with some very happy central bankers.” Copyright © 2015 The Financial Times Limited. Please don't cut and paste FT.com articles and redistribute ...
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie blasted Facebook’s continued influence after its widely publicized data scandal,
Facebook’s plans for a digital currency are coming under further pressure as global regulators step up their scrutiny of the struggling Libra project. In a letter to G20 finance ministers on Sunday, Randal Quarles, the head of the global Financial Stability Board, said that, with a “host of challenges” posed by global “stablecoins”, such as Libra, “possible regulatory gaps should be assessed and addressed as a matter of priority”. This, the letter said, created challenges including financial stability, consumer and investor protection, data privacy, money laundering, terrorist financing, fair competition, cyber security and tax evasion.
As it meets with backers on Monday, Facebook is realising just how much. Digital transformation in banking is welcome, but regulators are right to argue that Facebook has yet to make the case for its own e-bucks. Libra — billed as a “stablecoin”, pegged to a basket of currencies — was sold as a disrupter that could bank the unbanked and slash transaction costs and times.
Little is known about Facebook's Libra five months after its launch. But Congress now has a chance to get answers straight from the horse's mouth.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren's Democratic presidential campaign this week challenged Facebook's policy that exempts politicians' ads from fact-checking, by running ads on the social media platform containing the false claim that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg endorsed President Donald Trump's re-election bid. "Facebook changed their ads policy to allow politicians to run ads with known lies - explicitly turning the platform into a disinformation-for-profit machine. Facebook Inc's policy has come under fire from another Democratic front-runner in the 2020 race.
Facebook faces a rough road ahead with Libra, but defections by high-profile partners are still unlikely to spell the end for the digital currency.
(Bloomberg) -- Elizabeth Warren is buying ads on Facebook that falsely claim Mark Zuckerberg has endorsed President Donald Trump -- a ploy used to showcase that ads posted by politicians need to be fact-checked.The Democratic presidential candidate’s campaign sponsored the posts that were blasted into the feeds of U.S. users of the social network, pushing back against Facebook’s policy to exempt politicians’ ads from its third-party fact-checking program.The ad begins with a lie: Facebook’s chief executive officer “just endorsed” Trump for re-election. It quickly backtracks to the truth.“You’re probably shocked. And you might be thinking, ‘how could this possibly be true?” the ad said. “Well, it’s not.”Facebook’s fact-checking policy allowed Trump’s team to share ads on the social network that allege former Vice President Joe Biden promised Ukraine $1 billion for firing a prosecutor. Biden’s campaign has dismissed Trump’s allegations as a smear.“What Zuckerberg ‘has’ done is given Donald Trump free rein to lie on his platform -- and then to pay Facebook gobs of money to push out their lies to American voters,” Warren said in the ad.Biden’s campaign has written to both Twitter and Facebook asking for the ads to be taken down, but the platforms refused, according to technology site The Verge. It quoted a Twitter spokesman as saying, “The ad you cited is not currently in violation of our policies.”Facebook’s decision to allow Trump’s ad contrasts with CNN, which rejected a request by the president’s campaign to run what the network called two “demonstrably false” claims.“If Senator Warren wants to say things she knows to be untrue, we believe Facebook should not be in the position of censoring that speech,” Andy Stone, a spokesman for Facebook, said in a statement to CNN on the ads.(Updates with details throughout)To contact the reporter on this story: Siraj Datoo in Singapore at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org, Atul PrakashFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc.’s effort to create a cryptocurrency was dealt a blow on Friday after several key partners, including Mastercard Inc., Visa Inc., EBay Inc., Stripe Inc. and Mercado Pago, abandoned the project. The defections followed fierce criticism from global regulators and lawmakers, and have prompted some industry-watchers to question whether the Libra program can survive.The news comes days before the Libra Association, the group that will oversee the digital currency, prepares to convene its members and ask them to sign a charter agreement. The meeting is slated to take place on Monday in Geneva. A Libra Association spokeswoman said on Friday that the gathering will proceed as planned, and that it would announce the first list of official partners once a formal charter is signed.In a statement, the spokeswoman said the group was "focused on moving forward and continuing to build a strong association" as it worked to create "a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of a global payment system that breaks down financial barriers for billions of people."When Facebook launched plans for Libra in June, a critical part of its pitch was that major players in the payments and tech industry were supporting it. The cryptocurrency would be run out of Geneva by the organizations that comprised the Libra Association, not solely by Facebook. But now that that alliance appears to be eroding, the project’s future is uncertain."I don’t think Facebook can do this by itself," said Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Securities told Bloomberg TV. "Short of a big bank stepping in like JPMorgan, I don’t think this could ever happen."In a tweet on Friday, David Marcus, the Facebook executive spearheading the effort, said that the exit of six partners would not derail the effort. "I would caution against reading the fate of Libra into this update," he wrote. "Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when this much pressure builds up."Whether or not Libra implodes, the exits highlight the extreme challenges that lie ahead for the project, which if successful could have a sweeping impact on the global financial system. "It may very well fail completely," said Lisa Ellis, an analyst at MoffettNathanson. Even if it survives, progress will take much longer and "it’s likely to fall into some level of obscurity," she added.Facebook has faced fierce backlash since the company announced plans for Libra. Politicians and regulators around the world have called on Facebook to halt its progress, and some have suggested Libra could be used for illegal money laundering or trafficking schemes.Despite the scrutiny from public officials and the exodus of partners, Facebook remains committed to Libra, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Some people inside the company think the defections are partly driven by established payments providers worrying about a new entrant encroaching on their turf, the person said.In the months since its announcement, Facebook has frequently found itself in the spotlight over the cryptocurrency. Marcus went to Washington in July to testify before Congress about Facebook’s plans. Later this month, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to appear before the House Financial Services Committee to answer even more questions about Libra.Earlier this week, two U.S. senators cautioned Visa, Mastercard and Stripe to reconsider their involvement in the project. Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Brian Schatz of Hawaii said that Libra poses a risk to not only the financial system, but the payments companies’ broader business. "We urge you to carefully consider how your companies will manage these risks before proceeding," they said a letter to the companies.Mastercard said in a statement that it will "remain focused on our strategy and our own significant efforts to enable financial inclusion around the world," adding, "We believe there are potential benefits in such initiatives and will continue to monitor the Libra effort." Visa said the company would also continue to evaluate whether to join in Libra in the future, and that the company’s "ultimate decision will be determined by a number of factors, including the Association’s ability to fully satisfy all requisite regulatory expectations."In a statement on Friday, EBay expressed its support for the project, but said it would focus on rolling out its own payments products. “We highly respect the vision of the Libra Association; however, eBay has made the decision to not move forward as a founding member,” an EBay spokesman wrote in the emailed statement. “At this time, we are focused on rolling out eBay’s managed payments experience for our customers."Payments giant Stripe, one of the most high-profile startups to sign onto the project, signaled it remained open to working on it in the future. “Stripe is supportive of projects that aim to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world. Libra has this potential,” said a company spokesperson. “We will follow its progress closely and remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage.”The Libra Association is composed of about two dozen organizations, including Facebook. A Lyft Inc. spokeswoman confirmed on Friday that the ride-hailing company remains a member. Other companies that have not signaled plans to leave include Uber Technologies Inc., Spotify Technology S.A., Coinbase Inc. and telecom providers Iliad SA and Vodafone Group Plc. PayPal Holdings Inc. dropped out last week. (Updates with David Marcus comment in 6th paragraph.)\--With assistance from Candy Cheng, Lizette Chapman, Spencer Soper and Lydia Beyoud.To contact the reporters on this story: Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at email@example.com;Julie Verhage in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Jenny Surane in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Anne VanderMey, Robin AjelloFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. antitrust enforcers have started an in-depth review of Google’s $2.6 billion planned acquisition of a data analytics company, a further sign of greater scrutiny on big technology companies, according to people familiar with the situation.The antitrust division of the Justice Department is seeking more information from Google and Looker Data Sciences Inc. related to the deal to determine whether the tie-up harms competition, said one of the people, who asked not to be named discussing private matters.Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced June 6 it planned to buy Looker for its cloud unit, which lags far behind Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. with just 4% of the cloud-computing infrastructure market as of 2018, according to the most-recent figures from analyst Gartner Inc.The deal was expected to receive added regulatory scrutiny. The in-depth Justice Department review, known as a “second request,” comes as antitrust authorities start historic probes of Google and other large tech companies. One issue for enforcers is whether tech giants have used acquisitions of smaller firms to thwart rivals and cement their dominance. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which also enforces antitrust laws, is investigating whether Facebook Inc.’s purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp were anti-competitive.Representatives from Google, Looker and the Justice Department declined to comment.The Justice Department and a coalition of attorneys general made up of most U.S. states in the country have opened antitrust cases against Google. Those probes are mostly focused on the company’s dominant search and advertising businesses.Looker, closely held and based in Santa Cruz, California, provides tools that lets companies analyze their data stored in the cloud, a service that competes with offerings from Amazon and Microsoft. When Google announced the deal, its cloud chief, Thomas Kurian, said the company would continue to let Looker customers use other cloud providers. Google doesn’t share cloud sales.Google once spent lavishly on companies, dropping billions on device makers Motorola and Nest, as well as experimental tech like satellites and robots. More recently, the company’s acquisitions have mostly been relatively small deals in the cloud sector.It’s common for antitrust authorities to open in-depth investigations for sizable mergers, but more recently have faced criticism for allowing large tech companies to buy startups as a way to gain footholds in new markets. That charge has been aimed at Google after its takeovers of Waze, DoubleClick and YouTube. The Justice Department in July announced a broad antitrust review of the big internet platforms in search, social media and online retail.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Bergen in San Francisco at email@example.com;Sarah McBride in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org;David McLaughlin in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Sara Forden at email@example.com, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Let's take a look at what investors need to know about Facebook and some of its Q3 estimates to help us determine if FB stock might be worth buying before the social media company reports its Q3 2019 earnings results...
EBay Inc. , Mastercard Inc. , and Stripe said Friday that they were withdrawing from Facebook Inc.'s Libra cryptocurrency project, joining PayPal Holdings Inc., which announced its plan to leave a week earlier. "Mastercard has decided it will not become a member of the Libra Association at this time," the company said in a statement. "We remain focused on our strategy and our own significant efforts to enable financial inclusion around the world." Mastercard said it would continue to monitor the progress of the Libra effort. An eBay spokesperson said that while the company respects "the vision of the Libra Association," the e-commerce giant won't be continuing as a founding member. "At this time, we are focused on rolling out eBay's managed payments experience for our customers," the spokesperson said. A Stripe representative said that the company will follow Libra's progress "closely" and it remains "open" to working with Libra in the future. Facebook has declined to comment. Facebook shares are off 8.5% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has dropped 1%.
Facebook’s cryptocurrency project is crumbling, as partners abandon the initiative. Today (Oct. 11), eBay and Stripe became the latest members to leave the Libra Association, the group Facebook put together in June to pursue building its own global cryptocurrency. Libra has this potential.
Facebook Inc's ambitious efforts to establish a global digital currency called Libra suffered severe setbacks on Friday, as major payment companies including Mastercard and Visa Inc quit the group behind the project. The two companies announced they would leave the association Friday afternoon, as did EBay Inc, Stripe Inc. and Latin American payments company Mercado Pago. The latest exodus leaves the Libra Association without any remaining major payments companies as members, meaning it can no longer count on a global player to help consumers turn their currency into Libra and facilitate transactions.