UK lawmakers prepared to summon Facebook boss Zuckerberg over data scandal


May 1, 2018

LONDON (Reuters) – British parliamentarians said they were prepared to issue a formal summons for Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg to appear before them and answer questions over a data scandal which has engulfed the technology giant.

The social network has faced questions on both sides of the Atlantic over how millions of users’ details got into the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, and over its wider handling of personal data.

Zuckerberg previously declined to come in person to answer questions from British lawmakers, instead sending Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer to face a four-hour grilling last month. Schroepfer apologized for errors made by the firm and vowed to do more to improve transparency.

But the head of parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee Damian Collins said on Tuesday he still wanted Zuckerberg to appear before lawmakers, ideally by May 24, and listed 39 questions or points which remained unanswered.

“While Mr Zuckerberg does not normally come under the jurisdiction of the UK parliament, he will do so the next time he enters the country,” Collins wrote in a letter.

“We hope that he will respond positively to our request, but if not the Committee will resolve to issue a formal summons for him to appear when he is next in the UK.”

(Reporting by Costas Pitas, editing by Estelle Shirbon)

Vía One America News Network


CEO Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook Launching Dating Service — CBS Philly


NEW YORK (CBS NEWS) — Facebook will roll out a series of features to facilitate dating, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday. He said the service will be optional and, to preserve people’s privacy, not viewable to users’ friends. It will also only suggest possible partners who are not already Facebook friends with a user.…

via CEO Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook Launching Dating Service — CBS Philly

EU tells tech giants to tackle fake news by end-year — creation of a network of “independent fact-checkers” and a code of conduct — Peace and Freedom

International Finance, News, Tech

The EU warned US tech giants Thursday to crack down on the spread of “fake news” by the end of the year or face regulation in the wake of a scandal involving the illegal harvesting of Facebook users’ data. © AFP | Protestors demonstrated outside Portcullis house in London where Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer Mike […]

via EU tells tech giants to tackle fake news by end-year — creation of a network of “independent fact-checkers” and a code of conduct — Peace and Freedom

Brussels called for the creation of a network of “independent fact-checkers” and a code of conduct amid growing concerns over election meddling involving the use of the internet and personal data.

“We are giving social networks and online platforms a chance to resolve the problem once and for all,” EU digital commissioner Mariya Gabriel told a news conference.

As a first step, the Bulgarian commissioner called on tech firms to draw up a code of conduct by July, and proposed the creation of a secure online platform to tackle “disinformation”.

“We will closely monitor the progress made and may propose further actions by December, including measures of regulatory nature, should the results prove unsatisfactory,” she warned.

A European Commission statement explicitly referenced the scandal over the massive leak of Facebook user data to British consultancy Cambridge Analytica for use in the election campaign of US President Donald Trump.

“The recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica revelations demonstrated exactly how personal data can be exploited in electoral contexts, and are a timely reminder that more is needed to secure resilient democratic processes,” the statement said.

Brussels has repeatedly raised concerns over meddling in elections including alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential ballot and the Brexit vote in Britain the same year.

French President Emmanuel Macron said in an address to the US Congress on Wednesday that “to protect our democracies, we have to fight against the ever-growing virus of fake news”.

The EU plans come after a group of 40 media experts including AFP produced a report on the issue earlier this year.

Brussels meanwhile also pressed Silicon Valley firms like Google to be more transparent about how their search results work amid concerns that they are squeezing out small businesses.

“We must make sure they are not abusing their power,” Gabriel said.

Google was hit last June with a 2.4-billion-euro (more than $2.7 billion) EU fine for illegally favouring its shopping service in search results, after which it proposed fixes including running the shopping arm as a standalone business.

The EU has taken an increasingly tough stance on US tech firms, with plans announced in March for a digital tax on Silicon Valley giants riling Washington.

Facebook Shares Jump Amid Blowout Earnings: “Nothing That Was Feared, Happened”

Tech, Uncategorized

Despite reporting blowout earnings, and beating on every single line time, Twitter failed to close in the green today, fading a 13% early spike, and continuing the curse of the Q1 earnings season in which the more powerful the beat, the more shocking the Fed.

So will Facebook succeed where its smaller social media peer failed, especially with the world so keenly focused to see if Facebook indeed suffered a sharp drop in users as a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the #DeleteFacebook campaign?

Well, moments ago Facebook reported earnings and, just like Facebook it too beat on the top and bottom line, reporting revenue of $11.97BN, above both the average consensus exp. of $11.41BN and the highest sellside estimate of $11.73BN. The revenue in the quarter was just shy of record, and only Q4 2017 surpassed it.

Furthermore, advertising revenue was $11.80BN, or virtually all, while mobile ad revenue was 91% of total.

EPS likewise beat, with FB reporting $1.69, also beating both the average and highest sellside estimates of $1.35 and $1.52 respectively.


s worth noting that while revenue rose by 49% Y/Y, costs rose by 39% to $6.5BN, which resulted in a 46% operating margin, above the 41% from a year ago.

The company also reported that its effective tax rate was only 11%. No surprise here.

* * *

When it comes to the all important DAU and MAU, Facebook reported monthly active users of 2.20BN, just beating estimates of 2.19BN, while daily active users came in line with expectations at 1.45BN. More operational and financial highlights:

Daily active users (DAUs) – DAUs were 1.45 billion on average for March 2018, an increase of 13% year-over-year.

  • Monthly active users (MAUs) – MAUs were 2.20 billion as of March 31, 2018, an increase of 13% year-over-year.
  • Mobile advertising revenue – Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 91% of advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2018, up from approximately 85% of advertising revenue in the first quarter of 2017.
  • Capital expenditures – Capital expenditures for the first quarter of 2018 were $2.81 billion.
  • Cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities – Cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities were $43.96 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2018.
  • Headcount – Headcount was 27,742 as of March 31, 2018, an increase of 48% year-over-year.

So how is Facebook doing so well despite all the controversy? Well, as Bloomberg notes, the company remains the best option for advertisers on mobile phones, especially now that we know how much discrete information the company collects about everyone. In the online ad space, Facebook and Google continue to capture the majority of the growth in digital advertising.

Commenting on the results, GBH Insights head of tech research Dan Ives said:

“Facebook delivered its much anticipated 1Q18 (March) results which came in ahead of Street expectations and should give the bulls finally something to hang their hat on after the company (and its investors) have just gone through the darkest chapter in Facebook’s history post Cambridge.”

“On the all-important user front with engagement and user defections a clear worry heading into earnings and causing major agita on the Street, Facebook delivered DAU of 1.45 vs. the Street at 1.45 billion and MAU of 2.20 vs. the Street’s 2.20 billion estimate, which we would characterize as a relief given fears of missing this number were running rampant.”

Bloomberg’s Sarah Frier was just as optimistic, noting that “nothing that investors were super worried about happened. No slowdown in user growth (though we didn’t get numbers on engagement). No problems with revenue. But you can bet that the call will still have difficult questions. Cambridge Analytica happened at the end of the quarter. We’re not seeing the impact in these numbers.

But perhaps even more important than Facebook’s earnings and user numbers, was the news that in April, the company increased the amount authorized under its share repurchase program by an additional $9.0bn; originally FB was authorized to repurchase up to $6.0b of Class A common stock under the repurchase program. Which means that as Zuckerberg has been selling a record amount, Facebook itself has been buying.

Here are the key slides from the company’s Q1 presentation.

Daily Active Users: the US appears to have topped out at 185 million

Monthly Active Users: here the US and Canada saw a 2 million increase to 241 million. This means that two thirds of all Americans and Canadians are on Facebook at least once a month.

Revenue: all advertising, with US and Canada responsible for roughly half of total

ARPU: continues to rise on a Y/Y basis

Income from operations: second highest of all time.

Net income: thanks to the plunge in the tax rate, net income hit an all time high.

Capex: more than doubled

With all that said, shares have spiked, peaking at $167.25 so far after hours. Putting the move in context, if they open here on Thursday they’ll be just below where they began the week.

And here is Bloomberg’s take: “Looking at the share move, it’s positive but not a major sigh of relief — shares are still behind where they were when the Cambridge Analytica crisis first broke.Wall Street still wants to hear more from Zuckerberg.”

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UK Health Secretary Accuses Facebook, Other Internet Giants of Ignoring Safety of Children — Social media is ‘irresponsible’ — We need to protect our children’s mental health — Peace and Freedom


 Hunt said the Government would set its own limits on healthy screen time

The Health Secretary hit out at the lack of action taken by companies including Apple, Facebook and Google to protect youngsters’ mental health, dubbing it morally wrong and deeply unfair on parents.He accused them of failing to police underage users and has written to them demanding a response by the end of the month.Jeremy Hunt says tech firms are not dealing with lack of security.

 Jeremy Hunt says tech firms are not dealing with lack of security/safety. Photograph: Alamy

Mr Hunt said the Government would set its own limits on healthy screen time as part of a review on the impact of social media on children’s mental health.

Voicing his “disappointment” at the lack of headway since discussions were held in November, Mr Hunt said: “I fear that you are collectively turning a blind eye to a whole generation of children being exposed to the harmful emotional side effects of social media prematurely.”

It is clear to me that the voluntary joint approach has not delivered the safeguards we need to protect our children’s mental health

Jeremy Hunt

“This is both morally wrong and deeply unfair on parents, who are faced with the invidious choice of allowing children to use platforms they are too young to access or excluding them from social interaction that often the majority of their peers are engaging in.“It is unacceptable and irresponsible for you to put parents in this position.”Although he welcomed products like Google’s Family Link which help parents control what their children can access online, Mr Hunt said some websites had been too focused on complaining about the challenges they faced “rather than offering innovative solutions”.

He added: “It is clear to me that the voluntary joint approach has not delivered the safeguards we need to protect our children’s mental health.”

Refusing to rule out legislation, he warned he would pursue the reforms needed under its Internet Safety Strategy in the absence of any meaningful contribution from the internet giants.He said: “I would like to know what additional new steps you have taken to protect children and young people since November in each of the specific categories we raised – age verification, screen time limits and cyber-bullying.”Mr Hunt is a family man with three children: Jack, eight, Anna, six and Eleanor, three.

A source close to Mr Hunt said he was keen to provide parents with evidence-backed advice on screen time limits “in the same way families are recommended to eat five fruit and vegetables a day”.

The source added: “At the moment parents feel completely in the dark about what constitutes healthy internet use for their children and that has got to change, with or without the help of the companies.”Mr Hunt has asked the Chief Medical Officer to undertake a review of the impact of technology on children.His letter to Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter comes after Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield warned young people faced “significant emotional risk”.

She found secondary school pupils were particularly susceptible to becoming addicted to “likes” as a form of social validation. Between them Google and Facebook are involved in dozens of social media companies, including WhatsApp and Instagram. Google’s parent company Alphabet owns video platform YouTube.

JEREMY HUNT has accused internet giants of turning a blind eye to children being harmed by social media and has threatened new laws to protect young people from online dangers. By CAMILLA TOMINEY AND NICK LESTER PUBLISHED: 00:01, Sun, Apr 22, 2018 The Express GETTY Mr Hunt said the Government would set its own limits on healthy […]

via UK Health Secretary Accuses Facebook, Other Internet Giants of Ignoring Safety of Children — Social media is ‘irresponsible’ — We need to protect our children’s mental health — Peace and Freedom

Facebook Unveils New Privacy Policies to Comply With Europe’s Data Rules

international News, News

Facebook will start asking its European customers this week for permission to use their personal data for targeted advertising and other features in an effort to comply with the European Union’s new data privacy regulations.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect on May 25, was passed two years ago to tighten restrictions on companies that collect user data on anyone in the European Union. Under the rule, online businesses of all stripes will be required to add more privacy controls and explain to users why they collect certain information.

Facebook announced in a blog post on Tuesday that users in Europe will soon get a prompt asking if they’d like to see targeted advertising based on personal information they’ve shared with the company–such as religious and political beliefs–or its external partners. The company will also ask users for permission to use its facial-recognition technology, which Facebook hasn’t used in Europe yet because of regulations.

These prompts will expand to users in other parts of the world, including the United States, in the coming months. However, the new consent prompts don’t offer users a way to opt out ofFacebook’s data collection when they aren’t on the site, privacy activists told The Wall Street Journal.  If you visit a website that has a Like button plug-in, for example, your browser may send Facebook a small amount of information about you even if you’re not logged in.

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Ex-CEO of Cambridge Analytica Refused to Testify in UK

Business, International Finance, international News, Politics
The Facebook logo is seen on the screen of an iPhone in front of a computer screen showing a Cambrige Analytica logo
The Facebook logo is seen on the screen of an iPhone in front of a computer screen showing a Cambrige Analytica logo
Chesnot—Getty Images

(LONDON) — The chair of the British Parliament’s media committee says that Cambridge Analytica’s former CEO, Alexander Nix, says he will no longer testify at un upcoming session on fake news, citing an ongoing investigation by the information commissioner’s office.

Nix had been recalled by the committee to testify Wednesday following testimony by whistleblower Christopher Wylie on the use of data by some 87 million Facebook users in the campaign for Donald Trump’s presidential election.

Committee chair Damian Collins rejected Nix’s reason for not appearing, as he has not “not been charged with any criminal offence and there is no active legal proceedings.”

Collins says Tuesday that the committee “is minded to issue a formal summons for him to appear on a named day in the very near future.”