Technology StocksFacebook, Inc.

Previous 10 Next 10 
From: FUBHO9/20/2017 11:28:54 PM
   of 3103
Internet Giants Face New Political Resistance in DC...

EU ready to move on digital tax...

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission said the EU should proceed with an overhaul of taxes on digital firms even if the rest of the rich world did not follow suit, a draft report said.

The document is part of an EU push to tap more revenues from online multinationals such as Amazon and Facebook, who are accused of paying too little tax in Europe by routing most of their profits to low-rate countries such as Ireland or Luxembourg.

The draft report, to be adopted on Thursday, said that on average brick-and-mortar multinationals pay in taxes in the EU more than twice what their digital competitors do.

Traditional large firms face a median 23.2 percent tax rate, while digital giants do not pay more than 10.1 percent - and when they sell directly to customers, rather than to firms, their effective rate goes down to 8.9 percent, data cited by the Commission showed.

An earlier report by a European lawmaker said EU states may have lost in tax revenues up to 5.4 billion euros ($6.5 billion) just from Facebook and Google, now part of Alphabet, between 2013 and 2015.

"A level playing field is a pre-condition for all businesses to be able to innovate, develop and grow," the Commission said, adding that fairer taxation of the digital economy was urgently needed.

Partly because of the uneven taxation, revenues in the EU retail sector grew on average by only 1 percent a year between 2008 and 2016, while in the same period revenues of the top-five online retailers, such as Amazon, grew on average by 32 percent per year, the Commission's report says.


The document, seen by Reuters, will be presented at a summit of EU leaders on September 29 dedicated to digital issues. Despite divergences and scepticism among some smaller states, the 28 EU countries are expected to find common ground on digital taxation by December.

The Commission is seeking a compromise among rich countries worldwide in a bid to reduce opposition from EU states that fear losing competitiveness if the EU moves ahead on its own in this field.

But "in the absence of adequate global progress, EU solutions should be advanced within the single market", the document said, adding that a legislative proposal may be presented in the spring regardless of global developments.

The best way to tackle distortions would be to review the notion of "permanent establishment" so that firms could be taxed also in countries where they do not have a physical presence, the Commission said.

At the moment online companies can often avoid paying taxes in countries where they generate large revenues because they do not have a physical presence there.

A proposal to change the corporate tax base is already under discussion in the EU. The Commission believes it represents "a basis to address these key challenges", but needs the unanimous support of EU states to turn the plan into law.

To move ahead more quickly, the Commission said short-term solutions could be considered. They include an "equalization" tax on turnover, as proposed by France and backed by 10 EU countries, the report said.

Alternative short-term options would be a withholding tax on payments to digital businesses and a levy on revenues from advertisements or other services provided by digital firms.

But short-term options "have pros and cons, and further work is needed", the Commission said, warning that they may go against double-taxation treaties, state aid rules, fundamental freedoms and EU international commitments under free trade agreements and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: FUBHO9/21/2017 6:43:02 PM
   of 3103
Artificial intelligence pioneer calls for the breakup of Big Tech...

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: Glenn Petersen9/22/2017 4:37:39 PM
3 Recommendations   of 3103
Facebook cancels plan to change ownership share structure
  • Under investor pressure, Facebook is squashing a proposed ownership structure that would allow CEO Mark Zuckerberg voting control of the company even though he owned a minimal amount of shares.
  • The company was being sued by investors who claimed diluting shares would cause shares to lose billions of dollars of value.

    David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
    Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg

    Under investor pressure, Facebook is squashing a proposed ownership structure that would allow CEO Mark Zuckerberg to retain voting control of the company even though he could potentially own a minimal amount of shares.

    "Facebook's board determined that withdrawing the reclassification was in the best interests of Facebook and its shareholders," a spokesperson told CNBC via email.

    Shareholders filed a class action lawsuit intending to block Facebook from issuing reclassified C shares, which some investors argued could cause shares to lose billions of dollars of value when they were traded. The new C shares would be publicly listed but come with no voting rights.

    "We are gratified that Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg have agreed not to proceed with the reclassification we were challenging," Lee Rudy, partner at Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check LLP which was representing the shareholders, said in a statement. "This result is a full victory for Facebook's stockholders, and achieved everything we could have hoped to obtain by winning a permanent injunction at trial."

    It was reported earlier that Facebook had settled the lawsuit, but the company announced it will abandon the plan instead.

    Zuckerberg said in a post on Facebook he felt reclassifying the shares was the best way to allow him to still lead the company while donating money to work on global issues like curing diseases, improving education and climate change with his wife Priscilla Chan through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. However the company's stock has performed better than expected, making it unnecessary for Zuckerberg to sell shares to fund his project.

    "Over the past year and a half, Facebook's business has performed well and the value of our stock has grown to the point that I can fully fund our philanthropy and retain voting control of Facebook for 20 years or more," he wrote. "As a result, I've asked our board to withdraw the proposal to reclassify our stock -- and the board has agreed."

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (2758)9/22/2017 5:31:15 PM
From: Sr K
3 Recommendations   of 3103
Bloomberg's take:

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: Sr K9/22/2017 6:25:29 PM
   of 3103
There's a feature story

Mark Zuckerberg's Fake News Problem Isn't Going Away

in the September 25 Businessweek.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

From: Glenn Petersen9/22/2017 9:17:55 PM
   of 3103
Facebook’s Frankenstein Moment

New York Times
SEPT. 21, 2017

Victor Frankenstein, looking over a creature he had made, eventually realized that he couldn’t control his creation. Credit Hammer Film, via Photofest

On Wednesday, in response to a ProPublica report that Facebook enabled advertisers to target users with offensive terms like “Jew hater,” Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, apologized and vowed that the company would adjust its ad-buying tools to prevent similar problems in the future.

As I read her statement, my eyes lingered over one line in particular:

“We never intended or anticipated this functionality being used this way — and that is on us,” Ms. Sandberg wrote.

It was a candid admission that reminded me of a moment in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” after the scientist Victor Frankenstein realizes that his cobbled-together creature has gone rogue.

“I had been the author of unalterable evils,” he says, “and I lived in daily fear lest the monster whom I had created should perpetrate some new wickedness.”

If I were a Facebook executive, I might feel a Frankensteinian sense of unease these days. The company has been hit with a series of scandals that have bruised its image, enraged its critics and opened up the possibility that in its quest for global dominance, Facebook may have created something it can’t fully control.

Facebook is fighting through a tangled morass of privacy, free-speech and moderation issues with governments all over the world. Congress is investigating reports that Russian operatives used targeted Facebook ads to influence the 2016 presidential election. In Myanmar, activists are accusing Facebook of censoring Rohingya Muslims, who are under attack from the country’s military. In Africa, the social network faces accusations that it helped human traffickers extort victims’ families by leaving up abusive videos.

Few of these issues stem from willful malice on the company’s part. It’s not as if a Facebook engineer in Menlo Park personally greenlighted Russian propaganda, for example. On Thursday, the company said it would release political advertisements bought by Russians for the 2016 election, as well as some information related to the ads, to congressional investigators.

But the troubles do make it clear that Facebook was simply not built to handle problems of this magnitude. It’s a technology company, not an intelligence agency or an international diplomatic corps. Its engineers are in the business of building apps and selling advertising, not determining what constitutes hate speech in Myanmar. And with two billion users, including 1.3 billion who use it every day, moving ever greater amounts of their social and political activity onto Facebook, it’s possible that the company is simply too big to understand all of the harmful ways people might use its products.

“The reality is that if you’re at the helm of a machine that has two billion screaming, whiny humans, it’s basically impossible to predict each and every possible nefarious use case,” said Antonio García Martínez, author of the book “Chaos Monkeys” and a former Facebook advertising executive. “It’s a Whac-a-Mole problem.”

Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president of communications and public policy, said in a statement: “We work very hard to support our millions of advertisers worldwide, but sometimes — rarely — bad actors win. We invest a lot of time, energy and resources to make these rare events extinct, and we’re grateful to our community for calling out where we can do better.”

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, vowed on Wednesday that the company would work to prevent advertisers from targeting users with offensive terms in the future. Credit Frank Franklin Ii/Associated Press

When Mark Zuckerberg built Facebook in his Harvard dorm room in 2004, nobody could have imagined its becoming a censorship tool for repressive regimes, an arbiter of global speech standards or a vehicle for foreign propagandists.

But as Facebook has grown into the global town square, it has had to adapt to its own influence. Many of its users view the social network as an essential utility, and the company’s decisions — which posts to take down, which ads to allow, which videos to show — can have real life-or-death consequences around the world. The company has outsourced some decisions to complex algorithms, which carries its own risks, but many of the toughest choices Facebook faces are still made by humans.

“They still see themselves as a technology middleman,” said Mr. García Martínez. “Facebook is not supposed to be an element of a propaganda war. They’re completely not equipped to deal with that.”

Even if Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg don’t have personal political aspirations, as has been rumored, they are already leaders of an organization that influences politics all over the world. And there are signs that Facebook is starting to understand its responsibilities. It has hired a slew of counterterrorism experts and is expanding teams of moderators around the world to look for and remove harmful content.

On Thursday, Mr. Zuckerberg said in a video posted on Facebook that the company would take several steps to help protect the integrity of elections, like making political ads more transparent and expanding partnerships with election commissions.

“We will do our part not only to ensure the integrity of free and fair elections around the world, but also to give everyone a voice and to be a force for good in democracy everywhere,” he said.

But there may not be enough guardrails in the world to prevent bad outcomes on Facebook, whose scale is nearly inconceivable. Alex Stamos, Facebook’s security chief, said last month that the company shuts down more than a million user accounts every day for violating Facebook’s community standards. Even if only 1 percent of Facebook’s daily active users misbehaved, it would still mean 13 million rule breakers, about the number of people in Pennsylvania.

In addition to challenges of size, Facebook’s corporate culture is one of cheery optimism. That may have suited the company when it was an upstart, but it could hamper its ability to accurately predict risk now that it’s a setting for large-scale global conflicts.

Several current and former employees described Facebook to me as a place where engineers and executives generally assume the best of users, rather than preparing for the worst. Even the company’s mission statement — “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together” — implies that people who are given powerful tools will use those tools for socially constructive purposes. Clearly, that is not always the case.

Hiring people with darker views of the world could help Facebook anticipate conflicts and misuse. But pessimism alone won’t fix all of Facebook’s issues. It will need to keep investing heavily in defensive tools, including artificial intelligence and teams of human moderators, to shut down bad actors. It would also be wise to deepen its knowledge of the countries where it operates, hiring more regional experts who understand the nuances of the local political and cultural environment.

Facebook could even take a page from Wall Street’s book, and create a risk department that would watch over its engineering teams, assessing new products and features for potential misuse before launching them to the world.

Now that Facebook is aware of its own influence, the company can’t dodge responsibility for the world it has helped to build. In the future, blaming the monster won’t be enough.

Follow Kevin Roose on Twitter @kevinroose.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: FUBHO9/25/2017 8:34:56 PM
   of 3103
China Blocks WhatsApp, Broadening Online Censorship

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: ProThinker9/28/2017 11:08:36 PM
1 Recommendation   of 3103
Current valuation of Facebook doesn't look sustainable in view of the fact that growth will slow down as the company gets bigger. As growth slows down, the multiples should also come down.


Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

To: ProThinker who wrote (2763)9/29/2017 10:48:33 AM
From: The Ox
3 Recommendations   of 3103
There's a problem with those charts, IMO. Look at the first one and then all the others.

Revenue expectations are going almost straight up. All the other charts are rolling over at a time when revenue expectations are saying something different! Over the past 3 or 4 years, FB has been exceptional at turning the increased revenue into higher EPS than was expected by the street. The charts display something very different, that FB will no longer be able to turn increasing revenue into bottom line earnings.

Naturally, the company will not grow EPS at a rate that they have done in the past but there is no reason to believe that they will slow dramatically. Even the analysts are all over the place with the consensus for next year to grow EPS at 22% but the most bullish view shows 33% EPS growth. Likewise, the more bullish view for this year is for 38% EPS growth while the consensus is closer to 24%. If we take the $171 stock price and divide by a 33 PE, we need the company to reach $5.18 in EPS (and expectations are currently for $5.33). If we take a 24% PE, we need the company to reach $7.13 in EPS. While that is 60 cents higher than next year's consensus estimate, it's still well below the most bullish current estimate of $7.81.

FB's EPS will grow slower, yes, that is a given. Just how slow is the main question when trying to view the company as overvalued today versus what they will do in the future.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: FUBHO10/1/2017 11:02:08 PM
   of 3103
FACEBOOK Blocks Chinese Billionaire Who Tells Tales of Corruption...


Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read
Previous 10 Next 10 

Copyright © 1995-2018 Knight Sac Media. All rights reserved.Stock quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes - See Terms of Use.