197.26 -0.14 (-0.07%)
After hours: 6:37PM EST
|Bid||197.28 x 900|
|Ask||197.32 x 800|
|Day's Range||193.05 - 198.63|
|52 Week Range||123.02 - 208.66|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||1.06|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||31.56|
|Earnings Date||Jan 28, 2020 - Feb 3, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||238.96|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The latest unrest in Iran is about something far more serious than rising gasoline prices. The proof is that, over the weekend, the regime took most of the country offline.NetBlocks, a nongovernmental organization that monitors digital rights, says that by Saturday, Iran’s internet connectivity was 5% of what it was earlier in the week. The clampdown began on Friday, coinciding with demonstrations and protests throughout Iran, with intermittent outages in major cities such as Tehran and Shiraz. By Saturday, the group said, it had “proceeded to a disconnection of all mobile networks followed by a near-total national internet and telecommunication blackout.” And yet the images from inside the country have kept coming. In the past few days, the rest of the world has been able to see videos from inside the country showing mass demonstrations and at times violent crackdowns from security services. “I keep getting these videos,” says Masih Alinejad, an Iranian activist who began the anti-hijab protests and is now based in Brooklyn. Anticipating the regime’s actions, many Iranians have developed a kind of digital resilience. They take advantage of networks that remain online and at times connect to the internet through satellites or service providers in neighboring countries.In some cases, Iranians are also taking advantage of the country’s two-tiered approach to internet access. Despite the near national blackout, regime and university networks have remained online. “The government people have internet,” says Mariam Memarsadeghi, co-founder of Tavaana, a web platform that works to build civil society inside of Iran. “There are good reasons to think the friends and families of people who have government connections will use them to get the word out.”Abdullah Mohtadi, the secretary general of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, says Kurdish activists use Iraqi SIM cards to gain access to the Internet. The participation of the Kurds in the national protests this time also marks a change. Kurdish Iranians have protested the regime for decades, but their protests are often against the regime’s treatment of the Kurdish minority. This time, he says, Iranian Kurdish parties are coordinating their activism with the national movement.But Alp Toker, the director NetBlocks, warns that there is no reliable way to circumvent the regime’s restrictions. Roaming SIM cards can be cut off, he points out, while satellite internet is expensive and slow. At the same time, some apparent connections may actually be operated by the government as a ruse — tricking users into thinking their communications are safe.The U.S. government, meanwhile, is doing what it can. It has helped fund organizations such as Memarsadaghi’s, for example. It has worked to help Iranians get access to equipment that would make it easier to get online through satellite connections instead of the on-the-ground internet service providers controlled by the regime. One U.S. official tells me that the State Department has asked some of the big social media companies to suspend the accounts of Iranian regime leaders and entities as long as Iranian citizens are kept offline. Alinejad herself has called on Twitter to shut down the personal accounts of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.But banning Khamenei’s account, and those of other regime figures, is the least that Facebook and Twitter should do. It’s in their interest to develop easy-to-use technologies to circumvent internet bans such as Iran’s; Iranians use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Telegram like anyone else.More important, the digital resilience of Iran’s freedom movement is a U.S. national security issue. It’s too soon to say whether these latest convulsions will topple a regime that has made war throughout the Middle East. But it’s clear that online activism was enough of a threat to Khamenei and his deputies that he tried to turn the internet off. The rest of the world should be grateful that so many Iranians have found ways to defy his orders.To contact the author of this story: Eli Lake at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Eli Lake is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering national security and foreign policy. He was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast and covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
There are two potential catalysts for the stock market: Money managers don’t want to get left behind, and Trump wants record-high prices.
Investors are increasingly turning to equities with cash payouts for their nest eggs. But the strategies carry risk if not done right.
Mayer has been tight-lipped about her new venture, Lumi Labs, which is focused on building A.I. applications for consumers.
Renaissance’s Jim Simons crushes both the S&P 500 index and successful investors like Warren Buffett and George Soros.
The chairman of the Federal Trade Commission said on Monday that his agency had multiple investigations of tech platforms, in addition to its known probe of Facebook, but did not identify them. Big tech companies like Facebook, Alphabet's Google, Amazon.com and Apple face a slew of antitrust probes by the federal government, state attorneys general and congress. It has previously been reported that the FTC's focus was on Facebook and Amazon.com.
Charitable donations are generous, but they can also be tax-advantageous too. There are a few key vehicles that help donors save money while in the holiday spirit, including those that take money directly out of retirement accounts or save on capital gains. Retirees 70½ years and older must take required minimum distributions (or RMDs), which are predetermined withdrawal values from their qualified retirement accounts, such as a traditional individual retirement account.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- I’m not sure which is the bigger question: What is T-Mobile US Inc. without John Legere? Or, who is John Legere without T-Mobile?“I own no other clothing,” Legere joked during a conference call Monday morning, after the wireless carrier announced that its magenta-festooned CEO will be stepping down soon. Legere’s last day will be April 30, capping a remarkably successful seven-year run during which he took T-Mobile from a distant last place among the top U.S. carriers and turned it into the fastest-growing member of the industry. He will be replaced by Mike Sievert, who is currently president and chief operating officer.Make no mistake, the CEO transition will usher in a new T-Mobile. That’s not because the visions of the two men are so different — they aren’t, and Legere has been grooming Sievert, 50, for quite some time. But T-Mobile is no longer the industry upstart, and Legere’s departure suggests that he feels his work there is almost done. The last step is to complete the acquisition of Sprint Corp., which is being held up by a group of state attorneys general rightly concerned about the potential harm the transaction may cause consumers.Legere, 61, made clear that he isn’t retiring — nor is he turning his “Slow Cooker Sunday” Facebook Live series into a full-time gig. While he said the rumors of him joining WeWork aren’t true, he has fielded a “tremendous amount” of interest from companies seeking the expertise he’s demonstrated at turning around a troubled business and generating broad enthusiasm for a brand. “I’ve got 30 or 40 years and five or six good acts left in me,” Legere, the class clown of corporate events, said on Monday’s call. When Legere joined T-Mobile in 2012, the brand was in disrepair and customers were fleeing. It looked as if the wireless carrier might never be able to catch up to Verizon Communications Inc., AT&T Inc. or Sprint. But Legere transformed T-Mobile into a self-marketing powerhouse, with he and the rest of the management team shamelessly adopting new looks as walking billboards for the company. And it worked. More important, investments in the network and novel moves to simplify customer bills altered T-Mobile’s perception from one of a budget operator of last resort to a company that’s driving industry innovation. That’s earned it customer loyalty, as evidenced by having the lowest rate of churn — or customer defections — among its peers. T-Mobile’s stock has also left the others in the dust:Over the years, Legere’s style has not only included a closet’s worth of Superman-esque T-shirts adorned with a giant letter T, but also sports coats, sneakers, a leather jacket, a chef’s hat, a sports jersey and anything that could be made hot pink or fit the company’s logo. He has 6.5 million Twitter followers — almost as many as Kris Jenner, the matriarch of the Kardashian family — and is known to respond directly to them, even occasionally dropping into calls to the customer service line. It was all part of his effort to shake up an industry that was going the way of cable-TV, with subscribers irritated by steep, overly complex monthly bills. “We saw an opportunity to disrupt a stupid, broken, arrogant industry,” a typically off-the-cuff Legere said on Monday’s call. “And T-Mobile is far from done,” he added. Though that may be for better or worse. Should the Sprint deal survive or avert the trial that’s set to begin Dec. 9, T-Mobile will gain newfound pricing power. Legere and Sievert have promised that the combined company won’t exploit this, saying that the combination instead allows them to “supercharge” what’s known as T-Mobile’s Un-carrier strategy. But the logic doesn’t quite follow. There’s little reason to believe a merger that facilitates higher prices and better profit margins wouldn’t result in exactly that, and the goodwill Legere has built up with regulators and consumers isn’t insurance enough against this scenario. Fierce competition between T-Mobile and Sprint the last few years is what benefited consumers and forced the industry to do things like offer unlimited data plans. If Sprint gets swallowed, the marketplace will be narrowed to just Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.(1)Sievert is a fine choice as CEO. But the reality is that the company he’s inheriting is different from the one Legere joined, and the days of T-Mobile’s incredible rapid growth will fade into the past, and there will be a natural shift to take advantage of its enhanced market power. So when Sievert said on Monday’s call that after the Sprint deal closes, “customers are going to the be winners,” I wouldn’t count on it. (1) Regulators have mandated that T-Mobile unload some assets to Dish Network Corp., helping set up the satellite-TV provider as a new entrant to the wireless market. But Dish is years and multiple billions of dollars away from becoming a formidable rival that can fill the hole Sprint will leave behind. It’s a weak concession that Legere was more than happy to accept.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.
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Justice Department No. 2 official explained the reasoning behind an investigation of large technology platforms, underscoring the department’s commitment to the probe at the highest levels.Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a speech Monday at an American Bar Association antitrust forum in Washington that there are “serious and substantive issues” regarding competition by the largest online platforms. While he noted that top department officials are keeping close tabs on the inquiry, no conclusions have been reached yet about the sector, he said.“Even dynamic industries characterized by rapid technological progress can be monopolized to the detriment of consumers,” Rosen said.The Justice Department is investigating whether Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. thwart competition laws as part of its broader inquiry into digital marketplaces. Attorney General Bill Barr, who has antitrust experience, authorized the probe and is closely watching it.Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons, who spoke after Rosen, said his agency is also conducting “multiple” probes of technology companies. Facebook has disclosed it’s also being investigated by the FTC.Rosen compared the technology giants to the film industry, which was the subject of multiple antitrust actions in the 20th century. He also referenced the U.S. case against Microsoft Corp. that began in the late 90s and ended in settlement.He cited an appeals court ruling that the software giant’s “operating system was a monopoly” because it was so broadly used that consumers and developers alike were reluctant to switch to competitors.Some antitrust scholars have said that Google, Facebook and other contemporary tech giants are dominant because they benefit from so-called network effects in which platforms become more valuable the more they are used. The companies say they face robust competition.Rosen also acknowledged there are other concerns about the companies that go beyond antitrust that may need to be addressed.“We do not view antitrust law as a panacea for every problem in the digital world,” Rosen said. “We are keeping in mind other tools in areas such as privacy, consumer protection, and public safety as part of a broader review of online platforms, to whatever extent warranted.”To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at firstname.lastname@example.org;David McLaughlin in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Mark NiquetteFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- For much of the past decade, the digital media landscape has largely been defined by disruptive companies such as Facebook, YouTube and Netflix. In the case of Facebook and YouTube, those disruptors are now seen as problematic; both face accusations that their platforms have become venues for privacy invasion, misinformation, malicious foreign actors and domestic political extremism. As the federal government weighs regulating these companies this creates an opening for platforms that are well-policed with the potential to take market share from the incumbent bad actors. That suggests the introduction of Walt Disney Co.'s new Disney+ video-streaming service couldn’t have been better timed.Disruptive platforms grew to enormous size by doing pretty much whatever they could to attract both producers and consumers of content. Restrictions on what kinds of content could be published were barriers to growth while also raising thorny ethical questions about how platforms that claimed to be neutral could moderate content on their networks. Content moderation has a big drawback: It's expensive, whether that means building technology to monitor abuse or hiring humans to do the job. It's not too surprising that companies interested in holding down costs and maximizing profits might try to avoid those costs.And it's hard to untangle and design remedies for these problems because the platforms have gone global, with hundreds of millions if not billions of users. With competing and divergent interests among consumers, content producers, advertisers, politicians and shareholders, any change from the status quo is bound to run into opposition. The result is that change ends up being much slower than many might hope.That's where Disney+ comes in. Disney’s announcement on launch day that it had signed up 10 million subscribers indicates potential demand; it's possible that the platform could gain significant market share in the streaming wars much sooner than many anticipate. It gives young parents -- or anyone else not interested in the fire hose of trash on offer elsewhere -- a trusted platform to install on their kids' or their own smartphones and tablets. Every minute spent on Disney+ is a minute not spent on other digital media platforms, lessening the influence of the latter. As the clout of Disney+ grows at the expense of the competition, it could put pressure on the latter to clean up their collective acts and put in place more safeguards.The parallel to consider here is the evolution of the music industry. Until the launch of peer-to-peer music-file-sharing company Napster in 1999, the vast majority of consumers got their music through traditional channels -- mainly radio and CDs. Then Napster and other illicit services built off the BitTorrent platform made it easier for consumers to download MP3 files at a time when major corporations were reluctant to embrace the new technologies. But downloading MP3s often exposed consumers to other types of illegally-distributed content like video games and software. That made MP3s a sort of gateway drug to other dubious online activity and content.That era didn't last long. First, Apple introduced the iTunes store in 2003, which surged in popularity with the growth of first the iPod and later the iPhone. Then, music streaming services like Spotify followed, attracting tens of millions of users. Napster has since shut down, and though black market file-sharing services still exist, most consumers would find them too much of a nuisance to deal with when it's cheap and easy to buy or stream music legitimately.If we're lucky, Disney+ could mark the point when major tech corporations decide to take control of the media ecospheres they've created. There are now a plethora of streaming services with billions of dollars invested in them, giving consumers, particularly parents, choices without some of the downsides of the large, disruptive platforms. Content creators, major corporate partners and advertisers can focus their resources on platforms that have better reputations and aren't constantly in the news for moderation and data-privacy issues. Thriving in the future may require these disruptors to abandon the Wild West ways that powered their initial rise. And who would be bothered by that?To contact the author of this story: Conor Sen at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Conor Sen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a portfolio manager for New River Investments in Atlanta and has been a contributor to the Atlantic and Business Insider.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Meet the world’s youngest selfie-made billionaire. Reality star and cosmetics queen Kylie Jenner, now 22, is probably the most recognizable (and controversial) newcomer in the Forbes magazine world billionaires issue revealed in March, when she was still 21. The social-media star’s fortune officially hit $1 billion earlier this year, several months after Forbes put her on the cover of its “richest self-made women” issue.
Twitter (TWTR) announces global ban on promotion of political content and ads from political figures like candidates, political parties and government officials.
We believe one of the best tools for ordinary investors who are on the hunt for new ideas is 13F filings. Once every quarter hedge funds with at least $100 million in total positions in publicly traded US stocks/options are required to open the kimono and disclose the number of shares and the total value of […]
The dual tailwinds of renewed trade optimism and stronger-than-expected corporate earnings drove the rally. The bullishness was further fueled by rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Do the poor suffer more from inflation than the rich? Recent reports to the contrary, the numbers are not complete enough to answer that question in a simple way. What’s clear is that diverging rates of price inflation are creating distinct winners and losers.Because the U.S. tech sector has advanced so much while many other parts of the economy have been relatively sluggish, the benefits from progress are now quite concentrated, though not in a way directly related to income. Rather, they accrue to people with a taste for a particular kind of novelty.Consider people who love to consume information, or, as I have labeled them, infovores. They can stay at home every night and read Wikipedia, scan Twitter, click on links, browse through Amazon reviews and search YouTube — all for free. Thirty years ago there was nothing comparable.Of course, most people don’t have those tastes. But for the minority who do, it is a new paradise of plenty. These infovores — a group that includes some academics, a lot of internet nerds and many journalists — have experienced radical deflation.Another set of major beneficiaries is people who enjoy writing for fun (as distinct from professional writers). They can write to their friends or groups of friends on WhatsApp and Facebook, all day long, also for free. You might also put “people who love to argue” in this same lucky category, though whether that translates into lasting enjoyment is a question that we could … argue about.Lovers of variety are another big winner. You can use eBay to find that obscure collectible, or browse Amazon’s vast inventory, or watch a lot of different TV programs, ranging from Spanish-language news to curling to cooking shows. In short, it is a wonderful time for those who love to browse and sample. Maybe you discover a favorite category or genre and form a deep aesthetic commitment, or maybe you just want to keep on surfing. Either way, the opportunities are unprecedented.As a side note, I belong to all of those groups: I am an infovore, I write for fun (and for other reasons) and love variety. So I have been a big winner from the last 20 years, in a disproportionate and unrepresentative way — quite apart from any changes to my income.So who might be worse off in this new American world?People who like to spend time with their friends across town are one set of losers. Traffic congestion is much worse, and so driving in Los Angeles or Washington has never been such a big burden. In-person socializing is therefore more costly. On the other hand, the chance that you have remained in touch with your very distant friends is higher, due to email and social media. Those who enjoy less frequent (but perhaps more intense?) visits are on the whole better off for that reason. It is easier than ever to go virtually anywhere in the world and have someone interesting to talk to.Another group of losers — facing super-high inflation rates — are the “cool” people who insist on living in America’s best and most advanced cities. Which might those be? New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco? You can debate that, but they have all grown much more expensive. Many smaller cities, such as Austin, Washington and Boston, are going the same route. Alternatively, if you have more of a taste for isolation or desolation, or a high tolerance for boredom, your pocketbook is not being squeezed so tightly.Medical care is another area that has created big losers and winners. If you suffer from a common malady that simply requires care and attention from the medical establishment, you may well be worse off. The price of medical care is much higher, insurance coverage is by no means guaranteed, and the system has been growing more bureaucratic and arguably more frustrating.If, on the other hand, you have some kind of “frontier” condition, requiring innovative technology or new pharmaceuticals, your chances have never been better.What is the common theme here? It is that those who love or need “the new” are often doing relatively well. Those who value the old standbys — the crosstown friend, the Manhattan brownstone, the uncomplicated visit to the local doctor to have a broken ankle set — are in a more dubious position.As a result, there is an incentive to cultivate a taste for novelty. It’s fun, to be sure, but maybe also a bit confusing and alienating. So when people feel that way, and express it in unexpected ways, perhaps we should not be altogether surprised.To contact the author of this story: Tyler Cowen at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tyler Cowen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University and writes for the blog Marginal Revolution. His books include "Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Police fired tear gas and water cannon as they attempted to storm a university in the early hours of Monday morning after 24 hours of violence that saw a group of protesters barricade themselves on campus and authorities block roads and exits. Hundreds of demonstrators were holed up at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where fires raged inside and outside campus and barricades had been erected to stop the police advance. JG Tang, president of the university, said in a statement that he had negotiated a temporary ceasefire with the police to allow protesters to leave the campus if they refrained from using force.
(Bloomberg) -- Masayoshi Son, after backing startups around the world, is engineering a complex deal on his home turf to create a national champion that can more effectively compete with global rivals like Google and Amazon.com Inc.Son’s SoftBank Group Corp. plans to combine its Yahoo Japan internet business with Line Corp. in a deal that values the country’s leading messaging service at $11.5 billion. SoftBank and South Korea’s Naver Corp. will take Line private and then fold Line and Yahoo Japan into a new joint venture. The deal requires shareholder approvals and is scheduled to close by October 2020.The two companies said the combination is driven by a sense of crisis that global giants are increasing their grip on the technology industry and countries like Japan risk falling behind. Together, Line and Yahoo Japan, which now operates as Z Holdings Corp., will be able to share engineering resources, access broader sets of data and invest more in areas like artificial intelligence, the chief executive officers said in a Tokyo press conference.“The internet industry often operates on the winner-takes-all principle and the strong only get stronger,” said Line co-CEO Takeshi Idezawa. “Even combined, our market capital, business scale and R&D expenditures are dwarfed by the global tech giants.”At the event, the CEOs gave unusual emphasis to their corporate vulnerabilities and the incumbent risks for Japanese consumers, perhaps in an attempt to preempt government scrutiny of a deal that will combine two of the country’s largest internet companies. The chiefs said they need to join forces to mount a serious challenge to much larger rivals from the U.S. and China.“We want to become an AI tech company that leads the world from Japan,” said Kentaro Kawabe, CEO of Z Holdings. Kawabe wore a bright green tie, Line’s trademark hue, while Idezawa donned one in Yahoo Japan red.Under the proposed transaction, Z Holdings and Naver will buy out Line’s public shareholders in a tender offer at a projected 5,200 yen per share, a 13% premium to Line’s share price before news of the talks. Each company plans to spend 170 billion yen ($1.56 billion) on the bid. Naver already owns 73% of Line, while SoftBank Corp., the domestic telecom arm of Son’s business empire, holds a roughly 44% stake in Z Holdings.The companies have been in talks about a possible alliance since June and settled on the idea of a merger in August, according to the statement. After taking Line private, SoftBank and Naver will undertake a reorganization that will eventually result in a 50-50 ownership of the new company. The combined entity will hold stock in Z Holdings, which will remain public with Yahoo Japan and Line as wholly-owned subsidiaries.SoftBank and Line have increasingly competed in fields such as digital payments, and an alliance may allow them to save money on expenses like subsidies. Both companies have also been investing in artificial intelligence to improve their services. While the announcement didn’t say how the mobile payment rivalry will be resolved, it said the resulting company aims to spend 100 billion yen annually on development of AI-powered products.“Big data is key for the future of both companies,” said Koji Hirai, the head of M&A advisory firm Kachitas Corp. “The merger will enable them to create a massive repository of client data.”Idezawa and Kawabe said there are potential synergies in a number of services areas spanning media content, fintech, advertising, communications and commerce, but didn’t give further details. The combined company will also have about 20,000 employees, a major benefit in an industry where competition for talent intensifies year after year, they said.Steps to the planned merger:Step 1 - Final signing of the deal planned for DecemberStep 2 - Naver and SoftBank to buy out Line’s public shareholders and create a new 50-50 joint ventureStep 3 - SoftBank moves its stake in Z Holdings to the JV, while Z Holdings issues 2.8 billion new shares to the JVStep 4 - Line and Yahoo Japan become fully owned subsidiaries of Z Holdings, which will be owned by the JV. The companies plan to complete the deal by October 2020Silicon Valley giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook Inc. and Chinese startups have taken the lead in both pushing AI development and turning the research into commercial products. That has left most other companies scrambling to attract scarce talent and collect the data necessary to conduct research in fields like deep learning.Line and Yahoo Japan are betting they can leverage local knowledge to stay in the race in their home country and markets where their services are popular, including South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia. Line and Z Holdings shares rose on the deal.Yahoo Japan was once the country’s leading search engine, web portal and major e-commerce player, but has lost ground as users migrated from PCs to smartphones. The company’s online shopping offering has been squeezed by Amazon and Rakuten Inc., while smartphone-native newcomer Mercari Inc. lured customers from its auction service. Yahoo Japan counts some 48 million daily active users across its portfolio of more than 100 mobile phone apps.Line’s origins date back to the turn of the century, when Naver dispatched Shin Jung-ho to Japan to promote its search engine technology. Shin led the company through its first decade in relative obscurity, distributing online games and dabbling in social networking services. In 2010, Line acquired Livedoor Inc., a once high-flying Japanese web portal that had fallen on hard times after its founder was thrown in jail for accounting fraud. It launched Japan’s dominant messaging service in 2011 and went public in 2016.Shin, who shares the CEO title with Takeshi Idezawa at Line, will become the newly created entity’s chief product officer. The post will give him control over the 100 billion yen AI budget and oversight of service development for both Line and Yahoo Japan.Line has 82 million monthly active users in Japan and is also the dominant messenger in Taiwan and Thailand, where it has 21 million and 45 million customers respectively. The company has been expanding into financial services by partnering with Nomura Holdings Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. It has also been developing a lineup of AI-powered hardware products, including speakers and earphones. Outlays on the new businesses have led to losses in four out of five past quarters.In the Tokyo press conference, the CEOs repeatedly spoke about getting outgunned by GAFA, or Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple Inc. They said they wouldn’t want see Japan lose out on world-leading services like search and e-commerce, but they want to create a local alternative that can address domestic needs and tastes.“GAFA’s biggest threat is the kind of loyalty they command from their users,” said Kawabe. “We want to give users a domestic AI option. By focusing on Japan’s unique challenges, we can offer services others cannot.”(Updates with the deal strategy from first paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at email@example.com;Takahiko Hyuga in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
At first glance, Amy Dowd’s Facebook account appears perfectly normal. There is a smiling profile picture of a young woman surrounded by autumnal leaves and the date that she began a new job at Southeast Missouri State University.
“Friends” might be getting a reboot on HBO Max while Netflix secures a one-time licensing deal with Paramount for the fourth installment of “Beverly Hills Cop." Why reboots are all the rage as platforms look to beat out streaming competitors.
One of the best tools for ordinary investors who are on the hunt for new ideas is 13F filings. Hedge funds hire some of the smartest Ivy League graduates as their analysts, have access to industry insiders whom they "consult" with, unconventional data sources that cost tens of thousands of dollars, years of experience and […]
As Catherine Collinson’s octogenarian father and stepmother downsized from a 4,000-square-foot home to a 1,400-square-foot, single-story home in a retirement community, their message to the rest of the family was clear: No more stuff, unless it’s functional or of great sentimental value. “In the end, they were able to keep their most sentimental items for themselves or within the family — but the process of downsizing was an ordeal,” Collinson said. When her dad visited a few weeks ago, Collinson, her brother and her sister-in-law opted for a more personal gesture: bringing him to an Antarctic dinosaurs exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Some people are fuming at Facebook for allowing unfiltered political ads, while others are fuming at Twitter for banning them. There’s lots of confusion and speculation, but what we know is that these social media companies have fundamentally changed how people exchange information. What we need to figure out is whether they also change how people spread disinformation — and if so, how to fix it. It's a question researchers are actively investigating.After “fake news” became the catchphrase of the 2016 election, experts in psychology, political science, computer science and networks stepped up research on disinformation, learning in more detail how it travels through social media and why some things stick in people’s heads.There’s a good reason not to ban political ads on social media: People in democratic societies should be able to see and hear from candidates directly, not just through interview and debate formats. Social media ads are relatively cheap, so less well-funded candidates can still make themselves heard. The fear is that politicians might lie, mislead and manipulate on social media in ways that were impossible in the days of television and newsprint.Some see a particular threat in the way Facebook allows advertisers to precisely target ads based on personal data. “Facebook profits partly by amplifying lies and selling dangerous targeting tools that allow political operatives to engage in a new level of information warfare,” writes former Facebook insider Yaël Eisenstat in the Washington Post.How dangerous is this information warfare? Experiments show that people can be misled easily and that wrong ideas tend to stick. USC psychologist Norbert Schwarz says people tend to believe messages for many reasons that have nothing to do with credibility. People are more likely to believe messages when they’re presented simply, in an easy-to-read font or spoken without an accent, and repeated often. People are also more easily influenced by messages they think their friends also believe.Stephan Lewandowsky, a psychologist at the University of Bristol, says the extremely fine-grained targeting abilities of social media might interfere with a free marketplace of ideas. Rather than making claims in ads that anyone is free to see, politicians might tailor messages to individual social media users. The propaganda might never even be seen by fact-checkers or opponents who might challenge it. “My main concern is that we’re replacing public debate with manipulation,” he says.There is still hope for democracy, however. There’s little evidence that targeted ads have the power to to change minds or votes, says Harvard law professor Yochai Benkler, co-author of the book “Network Propaganda.” Belief in targeted ads in general is more faith-based than evidence-based, he says. Advertisers assume the targeting causes people to buy things — though this is far from proven.In 2018, there was outrage when it came out that the company Cambridge Analytica claimed it could use the seemingly superficial tastes of consumers to delve deep into their psyches, gain personality information that even their friends didn’t know, and, in theory, use it to manipulate their voting behavior. But in researching a 2018 column on the phenomenon, I learned that the evidence is thin to nonexistent that Cambridge Analytica was able to glean meaningful information or manipulate voting behavior.Dr. Benkler says if he had access to enough Facebook data, he and other researchers could find out who saw which ads, and infer from other information if and how people voted. But it probably isn’t in Facebook’s interest to give out that kind of information. It might reveal that Facebook ads are suppressing voting, or that the ads don’t matter. Either way, it could look bad for the company.Dr. Benkler points to a recent paper in the journal Marketing Science, which shows it’s not clear whether an ad causes people to buy a particular product, or whether the people who are targeted are already more likely to buy. Other research papers report on the limited power of fake news on Facebook and Twitter. For example, one study that looked at Twitter activity during the 2016 election concluded that 80% of fake news was shared by just 0.1% of users, making it a fringe activity.People tend to focus on new threats, Benkler says, when there are known masters of manipulation out there. The ads, fake news, and other so-called content on social media have been getting a lot of attention, but their impact still pales in comparison to that of old-fashioned platforms like cable news and radio. In research reported in his book, he and his co-authors trace stories using of certain words or phrases — like the child sex ring rumor or the conspiracy theories surrounding the Seth Rich murder — from their origins on small-scale blogs and fringe publications to Fox News and conservative talk radio, where they blew up.It’s true that there’s still a lot we don’t know about social media. But instead of giving Facebook more power — by encouraging it to police ads for misleading content — we should make rules to force the company to reveal its targeting practices.If someone sees a Trump ad because she went to church and stopped at the liquor store on the way home, she has the right to know it, says Benkler. And the more information Facebook and others provide, the better scientists can understand how much social media is shaping the free marketplace of ideas, and whether we should be focused on other, more substantial threats to democracy.To contact the author of this story: Faye Flam at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Green Carmichael at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Faye Flam is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. She has written for the Economist, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Psychology Today, Science and other publications. She has a degree in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.