|Bid||0.00 x 900|
|Ask||0.00 x 1100|
|Day's Range||1,111.03 - 1,122.00|
|52 Week Range||970.11 - 1,289.27|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||1.14|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||27.98|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||1,275.00|
Cloud services are great until you can't access an important file while you'reon the road with frustratingly slow internet connection
One reason why investors may be going gaga over the recent mini-flurry of IPOs (Uber, Beyond Meat, Slack, etc) is the simple fact there are so few of them.
Google announced this morning it's expanding its two-year-old digital safetyand citizenship curriculum for children, "Be Internet Awesome," to now includemedia literacy
(Bloomberg) -- I’m woken up by an alarm on a home speaker designed by Yandex NV. I go to work in Yandex taxi listening to the company’s music-streaming service. My lunch is delivered by Yandex.Eats. I buy sneakers on the company’s Beru marketplace, and catch up on a series on its Kinopoisk smart-TV app in the evening.You get the picture. Not so long ago, most decisions in Russia were decided by the state. Now, Russia’s largest tech company can cater to your every need.A tech company attempting to offer a range of services to keep users attention is not new. Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc. have been launching new business from internet balloons to healthcare. But few offer the breadth of services offered by Yandex.Five years ago, Yandex was just a search engine trying hard to fend off Google in its local market. Since then it has bought Uber Technologies Inc.’s Russia business, built its voice assistant into cars and home appliances, and more than doubled its revenue. Yandex now claims to have 108 million monthly users, which is about 75% of Russia’s population.Yandex’s expansion -- still focused almost entirely in Russia -- has allowed it to gather significant amount of data on its users, who have to log into each service using the same ID. This has allowed Yandex to offer highly personalized services. In Yandex’s car-sharing app, the dashboard welcomes you by name, turns on your favorite music and maps a route to your home.At a time where tech giants are attempting to convince users they take privacy seriously, Yandex’s Chief Financial Officer Greg Abovsky argues that, despite having expanded to multiple services, it doesn’t know much more about its users than Google does (which could be argued is a lot)."To respond to users’ personal needs, we need not only the data that you tell Yandex directly – like your name and age - but also technical data, including cookies, IP-addresses and GPS coordinates," said Abovsky. “It’s important that these data are processed in anonymized form and automatically - no one can get access to it."Perhaps unsurprisingly, Yandex’s user data has attracted the attention of the Russian government. The company’s email and cloud-storage services are deemed "information-dissemination operators," and monitored by communications watchdog Roskomnadzor, while a 2016 law required internet service providers and mobile telephone operators to store records of users’ online activities for up to six months.Russian authorities also have a legal right to request all your data stored by Yandex -- whom you sent e-mails to, what files you downloaded and possibly everything else linked to your user ID. So far, Yandex has pushed back against government demands to turn over encryption keys that would allow the security services to monitor users’ private data."These additional data it has on users may become important pieces of the puzzle for some advertisers or law-enforcement agencies," said Artem Kozlyuk, head of Roskomsvoboda, a civil-rights lobby group.Yandex’s growth has also led it to shed the role of tech underdog. Back in 2015 it complained to Russia’s antitrust watchdog that Google was abusing its dominance on mobile devices, arguing that Google required phone makers to install a bundle of its services as a pre-condition. Yandex eventually won the case.Now, Yandex is bundling its own services. Last year it introduced Yandex.Plus - somewhat similar to Amazon Prime. Users subscribe to Yandex.Music for $2.69 a month, also gaining access to Yandex’s online-cinema Kinopoisk and discounts for Yandex.Taxi, car-sharing, Beru marketplace and cloud storage. Over 2 million people already use Yandex’s paid subscriptions, most of them via the bundle.When asked if this puts competition for smaller music, ride-hailing or other apps at risk, Abovsky responded: "No. It’s a commercial bundling. We don’t force it on others, consumers are willing to buy or not to buy our bundle. It’s incorrect to compare this with Google’s bundling when they forced phone makers to pre-install only Google services and no one else’s."A few years after shifting from a search engine to a tech company, Yandex is still looking to maintain its rapid growth, with user data at the heart of its business model. Revenue has more than doubled from 60 billion rubles in 2015 to 128 billion rubles ($2 billion) last year.Yandex already makes almost 30% of its revenue outside of internet search. Yandex is now seeking to take on traditional TV. From May, it started selling Module, a $32 device similar to Google’s Chromecast that’s plugged into a TV-set, so that users can watch Yandex.Live streaming channel with content personalized for them, instead of regular TV channels.Yandex has been experimenting with creating its own social network and messenger, but without much success, Abovsky admits. But Yandex.Zen -- a personalized content feed, may make over $100 million revenue this year, he said."Painters polish their skills by copying other painters,” said Abovsky. “The same happens in tech, that’s how progress makes its way."To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org, Torrey ClarkFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- K-pop sensation BTS has racked up a string of firsts over an astonishing six-year run. Now the seven-member group star in their very own smartphone game, marrying two of South Korea’s hottest exports.Netmarble Corp., the country’s biggest mobile-app publisher, has unveiled a game featuring global K-Pop phenom BTS, the latest attempt to wed the country’s tech and entertainment industries to drive economic growth.“BTS World” contains previously undisclosed videos and photos of the boy band. The game takes players to their pre-debut days to recruit and train the singers. Users can pay to quicken the process of guiding the seven young men to stardom. Created by local developer Takeone Company Corp. and published by Netmarble, the game also features video and text chats with BTS members based on pre-written scripts.It’s the first major mobile title to focus exclusively on a K-Pop group, a testament to the rapidly growing clout of two of Korea’s most promising exports -- games and K-Pop -- as Hyundai cars struggle to regain momentum and Samsung semiconductors undergo an industry downturn.BTS or Bangtan Sonyeondan, which translates as Bulletproof Boy Scouts, has amassed millions of fans around the world thanks in large part to social media. The band’s Love Yourself campaign, which calls on people to take better care of themselves and encourages them to speak out on social issues, has resonated in particular with young fans.“Managing BTS myself would make me feel closer to the members,” said Paik Ji-min, a 29-year-old South Korean fan who flew to London to attend a BTS concert and said she would be willing to spend about 50,000 won (around $43) playing the game. “Just the thought of it makes me smile ear to ear.”Netmarble already plans a sequel to BTS World, seeking to maximize profit from what has arguably become the biggest K-Pop success after singer Psy. BTS has 20 million followers on Twitter and has made television appearances on Saturday Night Live and Ellen DeGeneres’s talk show. This year, the band sold out London’s 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium in just 90 minutes.The company’s founder, Bang Jun-hyuk, teamed up with relative Bang Si-hyuk of Big Hit Entertainment, the agency behind BTS, to develop the game. The entrepreneur is betting the recipe will re-energize growth at Netmarble, which trades about 20% lower than when it listed in 2017.“Even though it’s based on story-telling, as you progress you can discover a lot of missions and gaming elements,” Seungwon Lee, Netmarble’s chief global officer, told Bloomberg Television. “It’s sufficient incentive to keep motivating users to play.”BTS creator Bang Si-hyuk, who is also known as Hitman, told Bloomberg in 2017 that the company was diversifying into intellectual property-protected content that could possibly multiply its revenue. Big Hit is now worth an estimated $2 billion, according to the Hyundai Research Institute. The company is drawing on the popularity of the band to collaborate with Line Corp. for character merchandise and Mattel Inc. for dolls. The K-pop industry is worth about $5 billion, according to the government-affiliated Korea Creative Content Agency.Read More: High School Dropout Turns Billionaire on Games Firm IPONetmarble, whose titles include Lineage 2 Revolution and Marvel Future Fight, ranked 5th among publishers of Google Play and Apple iOS apps last year in terms of revenue, according to analytics firm App Annie. Founded in 2000, the Seoul-based company has drawn backing from Chinese giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. and South Korean conglomerate CJ Group.Vey-Sern Ling, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, said it may be relatively easy to generate money from players because they’re already fans who display a strong willingness to pay for BTS content. But the lifespan of the game could be limited. “Once the content is consumed there should be very little reason to play on, just like how you wouldn’t watch the same movie multiple times,” Ling said.Read More: ‘Hitman’ Worth $770 Million With K-Pop Craze Rocking the PlanetTo contact the reporters on this story: Sohee Kim in Seoul at email@example.com;Sam Kim in Seoul at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at email@example.com, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Sign up for Next China, a weekly email on where the nation stands now and where it's going next.For years, companies like Oracle and International Business Machines invested heavily to build new markets in China for their industry-leading databases. Now, boosted in part by escalating U.S. tensions, one Chinese upstart is stepping in, winning over tech giants, startups and financial institutions to its enterprise software.Beijing-based PingCAP already counts more than 300 Chinese customers. Many, including food delivery giant Meituan, its bike-sharing service Mobike, video streaming site iQIYI Inc. and smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. are migrating away from Oracle and IBM’s services toward PingCAP’s, encapsulating a nation’s resurgent desire to Buy China.PingCAP’s ascendancy comes as the U.S. cuts Huawei Technologies Co. off from key technology, sending chills through the country’s largest entities while raising questions about the security of foreign-made products. That’s a key concern as Chinese companies modernize systems in every industry from finance and manufacturing to healthcare by connecting them to the internet.“A lot of firms that used to resort to Oracle or IBM thought replacing them was a distant milestone, they never thought it would happen tomorrow,” said Huang Dongxu, PingCAP’s co-founder and chief technology officer. “But now they are looking at plan B very seriously.” IBM, which gets over a fifth of its revenue from Asia, declined to comment. Oracle, which gets about 16%, didn’t respond to requests for comment.China has long tried to replace foreign with homegrown technology, particularly in sensitive hardware -- it imports more semiconductors than oil. That imperative has birthed global names like Huawei and Oppo and even carried over into software in recent years, as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. expand into cloud services. That effort has gained urgency since Washington and Beijing began to square off over technology.“China has always wanted to use domestic tech and in areas like cloud, it’s been very successful,” said Julia Pan, a Shanghai-based analyst with UOB Kay Hian. “While it wants to use Chinese chips, its technology is just not there, but when it’s mature enough, they very likely will replace overseas chips with domestic ones.”Now, a coterie of up-and-coming startups are encouraging Chinese firms to go local. Customers use PingCAP to manage databases and improve efficiency, allowing them to store and locate data on everything from online banking transactions to the location of food delivery personnel.Backed by Matrix Partners China and Morningside Venture Capital, PingCAP is competing in a sector traditionally dominated by companies such as Oracle and IBM. The market is expected to grow an average 8% annually to $63 billion globally in the seven years through 2022.The startup is one of the newest members of a cohort of open-source database providers such as PostgreSQL and SQLite that are upending the market. Researcher Gartner forecasts that 70% of new, in-house applications worldwide will be developed on open-source database management systems by 2022.PingCAP -- mashing the term for verifying a web connection, ping, and the CAP computing theorem -- was founded by three programmers whose former employer, a mobile-apps company, was acquired by Alibaba. Inspired by Google’s Cloud Spanner, which pioneered the distributed database model, the trio -- Huang, Liu Qi and Cui Qiu -- began creating an open-source database management system that would allow companies to infinitely expand their data storage by simply linking more servers to existing ones.“Think of traditional database mangers like a fixed glass container, every time you run out of storage you have to get a bigger one,” said Huang. “What our system does is that you can link as many cups together as you want.”Their idea caught on with investors and venture fund hot shots including Matrix agreed to invest about 10 million yuan ($1.4 million) in 2015. To date the company has raised more than $71 million and has about 190 employees.PingCAP is working in a space where competition is fierce -- its database TiDB currently only ranks 121 among global peers, according to database rank compiler DB-Engines, which uses mostly mentions on social media and discussion forums as key metrics. Other open-source database managers such as PostgreSQL ranks 4th and its direct competitor CockroachDB, which also focuses on distributed database systems, leads PingCAP by 30 spots. The Chinese startup also operates in a market where it’s difficult to make money -- PingCAP only has a couple dozen paying customers in China and makes about 10 million yuan in revenue a year. Their best shot is to create successes that can be later replicated on a larger scale, said Owen Chen, an analyst with Gartner. “Work with the 10% early adopters free of charge, and make money off the 90% followers later,” he said.That’s why Huang is working with big names like the Bank of Beijing and Mobike -- so it can create templates for each sector. “Only one thing is certain, data will continue exploding,” said Richard Liu, a founding partner at Morningside Venture Capital. “We have the patience to wait before they figure out the best revenue model.”PingCAP has one thing going for it: Chinese customers are increasingly willing to experiment with technology. Data supplied by some 2,000 companies -- more than 300 in-production users and 1,500 who are testing its system -- will provide PingCAP with what Matrix Partner Kevin Xiong says is akin to a supply of ammunition.“You need bullets to train someone to become a stellar marksman, and PingCAP right now has a lot of bullets,” said Xiong, who invested in the company.Huang points to how PingCAP’s database helped tide over Chinese bike-sharing giant Mobike during stressful days when user and transaction numbers exploded on a daily basis -- at its peak in 2017 the company said it handled as many as 30 million rides a day.“It was a really challenging time for us, and [open-source database] MySQL was no longer able to meet our demands given the jump in data volume,” said Li Kai, a senior tech director at Mobike. “PingCAP really helped us big time.”Huang and his team also made it easy for IT departments to jump ship. With one key stroke, companies could export their entire database on MySQL over to PingCAP’s. Some are considering moving their most sensitive data including transactions and customer info over, Huang said without disclosing names.Yu Zhenhua, an IT manager at Bank of Beijing, said China is constantly trying to enhance information security while his industry wants to lower costs as it rapidly expands. “TiDB’s service meets the demands of what we want in a distributed database manager,” Yu said in a statement posted on PingCAP’s website. A representative for the lender didn’t respond to emailed queries about its collaboration.Longer term, PingCAP wants to venture beyond China -- but there, the geopolitical spat is proving an impediment. Earlier this year, PingCAP was ready to embark on an expansion into the U.S. and said it was already in discussions for getting some prominent tech startups to use its software. Now the prospects of winning over American clients are clouded.“We’re not seeing any immediate impact on our business in the U.S. but the trade war does force us to look at the long term uncertainties of getting important U.S. clients in finance or tech to move to our platform,” Huang said.(Updates with iQiyi as a client in the second paragraph.)\--With assistance from Olivia Carville, Nico Grant, Lucas Shaw and Gao Yuan.To contact the reporter on this story: Lulu Yilun Chen in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at email@example.com, Colum Murphy, Edwin ChanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Google warned employees about protesting against the internet giant at official company events during Pride celebrations, according to people familiar with the situation.Some workers have been planning protests at the Pride parade this weekend in San Francisco to speak out against the company’s policies on harassment of LGBTQ people on YouTube.The Google video service has been under fire for how it responded to homophobic and racist jokes made in clips by conservative comedian and commentator Steven Crowder. Some Google workers spoke out against YouTube on Twitter, and a small group organized protests last week during the annual shareholder meeting of parent company Alphabet Inc.One of the next steps planned by these employees is to speak out about YouTube during Pride activities this weekend because they think the company hasn’t done enough to quash LGBTQ harassment on the video service, the people said. The parade in San Francisco requires people to be invited to a specific contingent to march, so that often means workers attend as part of groups organized by their employers.Google warned workers not to protest against the company if they are marching with Google’s official contingent. Doing so would violate the company’s code of conduct, according to internal memos viewed by the people. The Verge reported the memos earlier. A Google spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment on Monday.The company’s actions may violate federal labor law protecting workplace activism, as well as a California law protecting employees’ political activities, according to University of California at Berkeley law professor Catherine Fisk. "Maintaining the policy would chill speech that is protected by law," she said."Google has undermined their own reason for participating in the Pride parade by trying to prevent its gay workers from criticizing Google’s alleged failure to address homophobic hate speech," she added. "They have sort of shot themselves in the foot on this one."\--With assistance from Gerrit De Vynck.To contact the reporters on this story: Joshua Brustein in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Josh Eidelson in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. is significantly increasing its footprint in Seattle as its expands on a previously announced plan to boost hiring, bringing an additional 2,000 jobs to the area in the next five years.The iPhone maker signed a lease for office space at 333 Dexter, a 660,000-square-foot (61,300-square-meter) development in the South Lake Union neighborhood being built by Kilroy Realty Corp., according to the office of Mayor Jenny Durkan.“These new jobs confirm what we already knew: We have the best talent and city anywhere,” Durkan said in an emailed statement. “Apple’s expanded footprint in Seattle is another example of the growing opportunity that exists for residents of Seattle and the economic powerhouse our city has become.”For years, cranes have dotted the Seattle skyline as builders rushed to accommodate a swelling population and rapidly growing tech firms, led by Amazon.com Inc. That company now employs more than 45,000 at its headquarters in town and occupies about a fifth of the city’s prime office real estate. Other firms have been muscling in to recruit from Seattle’s deep well of engineers. Both Google and Facebook Inc. are leasing offices near 333 Dexter.Apple has a relatively modest presence in the city of about 500 employees. In December, the company said that it planned to add 1,000 jobs in the area over three years as part of a national expansion that also includes spending $1 billion on a new campus in Austin, Texas.To contact the reporter on this story: Noah Buhayar in Seattle at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org, Dan Reichl, David ScheerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Sidewalk Labs LLC., the urban innovation unit of Alphabet Inc., is proposing to team up with local partners to invest C$1.3 billion ($980 million) to get its vision for a high-tech city in Toronto off the ground.Part of that would be a C$900 million equity investment to finance the C$3.9 billion development of a five-hectare neighborhood on Lake Ontario that will include tall-timber housing, adjustable curbs and heated bike lanes. It will also include the Canadian headquarters for sister company Google, Sidewalk said in its development plan released Monday.“Our plan puts the public sector in the driver’s seat in ways that’s not the norm for a lot of tech companies in the world,” Dan Doctoroff, the company’s chief executive officer said at media briefing. “Sidewalk aims to partner with the government in order to create the conditions for real estate developers, civic organizations, tech companies, and residents, workers and visitors to build a great community in the decades to come.”The proposal comes 20 months after Sidewalk won the mandate to build the community with Waterfront Toronto, a public corporation created to revitalize a scrappy expanse of old industrial lands along Lake Ontario. Kicked off with much fanfare by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt, the project has since become mired in controversy over how data from the site will be used, how it will be financed and just how much control a giant tech company should have over public lands.Doctoroff, who was previously CEO of Bloomberg LP and deputy mayor of New York City under Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg’s founder, has been waging a public relations battle to win over a skeptical public ever since. Sidewalk Labs said it consulted more than 21,000 Torontonians and invested more than $50 million to develop the 1,500-plus-page draft.New York-based Sidewalk advocated the creation of an independent, government-sanctioned Urban Data Trust to oversee all collection and use of data from the region.“We understood that we were going to have to be held at a higher standard,” Doctoroff said. “The approach we’re proposing vests complete control of urban data in government-sanctioned independent data trusts. It would be consistent with and in addition to existing and future privacy laws in Ontario and Canada.”It reiterated it wouldn’t sell or use any personal information for ads, or share it with any of Alphabet’s companies, including Google, without consent. Like any other company, it would apply to use data collected to improve infrastructure or technology. For example, to create an advanced power grid they would apply to collect data on temperatures in apartments.Bond FundingThe company is also proposing an optional “credit enhancement” of as much as C$400 million to help fund the development of infrastructure and a C$1.2 billion, 6.5-kilometer light-rail link to the Toronto development. This would accelerate completion and save the government C$1.8 billion, according to Sidewalk which wouldn’t take a stake in the line or operate it.Sidewalk said the transit link project could include the establishment of a government-sponsored special purpose vehicle to issue debt with proceeds going to construct the infrastructure. The resulting tax revenue growth will then go back to repay the bonds.The entire eastern waterfront project, if successful, would be one of Canada’s biggest developments and has a project value of close to C$23 billion over a 20-year time frame. Sidewalk will only lead the development of Quayside and Villiers Island, the proposed area for Google’s headquarters, which makes up less than 7% of the area.The company hasn’t yet established who its local partners would be, but said it has been talking to many parties including developers and investors.To address housing affordability, Sidewalk said half of all its housing units would be purpose-built rentals, with 40% catered to larger apartments with two-bedrooms or more. The plan includes below-market rates for 40% of all housing units with half of those dedicated to affordable ones. This could generate more than 1,700 units that are cheaper than market-rate ones, Sidewalk said.Quayside will be the first neighborhood built entirely of mass timber, engineered material that is as strong and fire-resistant as concrete or steel but more sustainable and easier to manufacture, Sidewalk said. With its partners, it plans to invest up to C$80 million in a mass-timber factory in Ontario to jump start the industry.It also plans to spend C$20 million in seed funding to create a new urban innovation institute and a new venture fund for local startups, anchored by the Google HQ.The firm has said the project would be a test-bed for technological development and proposed a 10% profit sharing plan with the Canadian government for 20 years regarding certain technology first deployed in the district.Outside of market-rate returns from the rents and sales from its property development and returns from its support for the transit infrastructure, Sidewalk is also proposing to receive compensation at the end of the project tied to economic activity, government revenues and success in the development. It did not specify what type of compensation it expects to receive.“There are a number of very exciting ideas we face, particularly related to environmental sustainability and economic development,” Waterfront Toronto chairman Stephen Diamond said in a statement Monday, emphasizing it didn’t participate in the plan. “There are also proposals where it is clear that Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs have very different perspectives about what is required for success.”Waterfront Toronto raised several concerns including Sidewalk’s proposals on data and on being the lead developer for core sites. Diamond said Waterfront will begin the review and evaluation process to see if the plan will go through. “Whether the Quayside project proceeds or not, the conversation we are having is important for all of Toronto,” he said.(Updates with Waterfront Toronto statement at the end.)To contact the reporters on this story: Natalie Wong in Toronto at email@example.com;Simran Jagdev in Toronto at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Debarati Roy at email@example.com, ;David Scanlan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jacqueline ThorpeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Microsoft is a leader in the rapidly expanding cloud-computing market. Here is how Microsoft stock's technicals and fundamentals look before its Q1 report.
Adobe broke ground for its new 1.3 million-square-foot downtown San Jose office tower, marking a symbolic milestone for the Bay Area’s largest city.
US lawmakers and regulators are beginning to investigate big tech's growing power, but they need to look beyond size and into their very nature of these three companies (and find different solutions for each).
Internet service provider Starry Inc. has plans to expand into Georgia in the coming years. The ISP recently paid 48.5 million for 102 licenses in the Federal Communication Commission’s 24 GHz auction.
Are you investing in Microsoft? Learn the main competitors of technology giant Microsoft and the stiff competition facing in this technology industry leader.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Facebook Inc. appears to be moving ahead with the Supreme Court-like content oversight board it has been discussing for a year. It’s a worthy step but also a 1% solution for a unimaginably vast problem. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive officer, has been talking for more than a year about an independent authority that would become a final arbiter about whether a social network post should stay online or be wiped away for breaching the company’s rules against hate speech, calls to violence or other abuses. People can also appeal to the independent body if they think one of their posts has been unfairly flagged or removed. Facebook has solicited feedback on the structure for this Supreme Court-like body, and Bloomberg News on Monday described some of the company's deliberations to come up with the best structure and policies. (Noah Feldman, a Harvard Law School professor and Bloomberg Opinion columnist, pitched the concept of an independent oversight board to Facebook. I haven’t spoken with him about this oversight body.)This is a promising idea, and I’m glad that Facebook, Google’s YouTube, Twitter Inc. and other internet gathering places are all (belatedly) thinking hard about how to deal with the inevitable and sometimes deadly downsides of giving billions of people a public megaphone. Sensible principles, however, must be tested and revised against reality, and I hope when the board does its work it will give the public opportunities to assess how well it’s working. But no one can pretend that this board of perhaps dozens of people will be able to tackle more than a minuscule fraction of disputed posts a year. That’s useful for high-profile judgment calls, such as the doctored video of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that surfaced recently on Facebook and for which Facebook faced criticism about how it handled the situation. Indeed, a Facebook executive suggested recently that the oversight board would be helpful for “dozens” of cases every year in which there is debate within the company on the right approach for a post or video. Dozens of cases are immaterial to Facebook’s scale. The company says that it gets millions of reports every week from people worldwide who believe posts have nudity, graphic violence, hate speech or other potentially inappropriate materials. Many of the judgement calls are made by relatively low-wage contractors who are left scarred by the experience of sifting through the worst of humanity to make split-second calls on whether a post violates Facebook’s rules. It is the hidden horror show behind the internet’s most popular hangouts. A Supreme Court would be the opposite end of this. A high gloss, highly selective, presumably well-paid group that would would deliberate how to best balance free expression and the protection of people from harassment, violence or manipulation. Facebook likes ideas that “scale,” and the Supreme Court cannot possible scale to the 2.7 billion people who use Facebook’s internet hangouts. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing, but let’s also not pretend an oversight board is anything close to a silver bullet. I also can’t help think that there is too much focus on Facebook’s policies and procedures and not enough on what the company does in real life. Facebook’s favorite excuse is that terrorism, calls to violence, promotions of illegal drugs, child exploitation or other abuses “are not allowed” on its internet hangouts. That’s because Facebook has written rules, and those rules have specific prohibitions against all manner of misdeeds. And yet all those abuses are rampant because Facebook exists in the real world and not on paper.Facebook is a reflection of the world, with the best and worst of humanity amplified and exposed to a wide audience. That means Facebook’s good intentions don’t matter. Its purported diligence and earnestness do not matter. What matters is what the company does when its good intentions meet reality, and too often Facebook has failed in that regard. Groups in Myanmar complained repeatedly that people in the country were systematically harnessing Facebook to sow hatred and violence against the Rohingya ethnic minority in the country, and yet Facebook could not or would not do anything to stop it. Would the supporters of the Rohingya in Myanmar be served by a Facebook Supreme Court? Would it matter if they appealed to an oversight board about genocide after the fact? Again and again, people broadcast in real time acts of violence on Facebook, and the company believes it should continue to allow live video on its site that is difficult or impossible to police until after the harm has already been done. Setting and enforcing rules for 2.7 billion people is not simple. Dealing with an open space for billions of people is often reactionary. Facebook too often ignores systematic problems until someone important complains or until it’s too glaringly obvious to ignore. Each country also has its own norms about the appropriate balance of free expression and harmful speech. And one post or photo on its own may be innocuous but it becomes dangerous as part of a pattern to encourage violence or sow division in an electorate. Assuming it is transparent about its work, having an oversight board for Facebook’s high-profile content disputes is a good step. But the public and regulators should continue to press Facebook and its peers on the bigger, pernicious problems.To contact the author of this story: Shira Ovide at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Shira Ovide is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. She previously was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
slipped Monday after a top analyst lowered his price target on Google's corporate parent. Alphabet's stock price fell 0.52% to $1,116.06, or a decline of $5.79, following a decision by a MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson to cut his price target to $1,250 a share, down from $1,290 previously.
Plus, the US steps up efforts to scrub telecom networks of Huawei gear and a Senate bill would force big tech to disclose how much your data is worth.