Posts Tagged ‘Mark Zuckerberg’

IS FACEBOOK BECOMING A THREAT TO CIVIL LIBERTIES OR A TOOL FOR ESPIONAGE?

by Stephen Levine on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

This is article 36 of 45 in the topic Cyber space

Facebook users volunteer the most personal details of their lives … lulled by the impression they are chatting with their “friends.” Ignoring the commercial data-mining that supports targeted advertising, consider that the government is now obtaining the type of information it may be prohibited from law (regarding the collection, storage and use of information) if they were to do it themselves and store it in government databases.

So why is this story disturbing?

Russia pushes Facebook to open research center

Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg was in Moscow on Monday, where top officials were pressing him to expand the company’s operations in Russia. Russia’s communications minister tweeted that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev urged the social media giant’s founder to abandon plans to lure away Russian programmers and instead open a research center in Moscow. A Facebook spokeswoman, who refused to be named because she wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter with the media, said the company has no immediate expansion plans for Russia.<Source: News from The Associated Press>

  1. Can you imagine a better method of spying on the American public and its elected officials (many of which have Facebook accounts)?
  2. Can you imagine a better method of inserting malicious code on to American computers – and possibly those connected to government agencies?
  3. Can you image a better method for data-mining of corporate secrets and performing industrial espionage?

Not that this is not already happening, but the locus of activities would be on foreign soil, subject to foreign justice – highly manipulated by the state for the state’s benefit.

Bottom line …

Social media may be the Trojan Horse that helps breach America’s security.

— steve

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As Facebook stock is un-friended, California fears it’s about to be even more broke than initially thought

by Doug Powers on Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

California’s tax revenue predictions from Facebook might end up being an object lesson in “don’t count your chickens until they accept your friend request”:

With shares of Facebook hitting new record lows, the state of California might be more concerned than most.

The social network’s declining stock price could cost the Golden State “hundreds of millions of dollars” in revenue not received from taxes on capital gains, according to a report from the state’s Legislative Analysts’s Office.

The report said the most populous U.S. state’s $91.3 billion budget, approved in June, depended on $1.9 billion in income-tax revenue from company insiders such as CEO Mark Zuckerberg. California had expected Zuckerberg and others to exercise options at a share price of $35.

Facebook’s share price hasn’t closed above its $38 IPO price since its first trading day on May 18. On Thursday, Facebook’s shares sank 3 percent to hit another record low of just above $20. They are now down 47 percent from their public trading debut in May.

Heaven forbid California’s politicians should consider cancelling construction of the train to Farmville though.

Facebook closed at $20 today, and this certainly won’t help matters in the immediate future:

Facebook’s share price dipped below $20 on Thursday after reporting slowing growth and an admission of an alarming number of fake accounts.

In a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the social media company said that as many as 83 million of its accounts are fake.

It also reported that as many as five percent of its active users have duplicate accounts.

Facebook members grew to 955 million this year.

It says 1.5 percent of its accounts are likely spam or accounts set up for other malicious activity. The fake accounts are concentrated in developing markets, according to the filing.

It also blames people who set up accounts for non-human entities, such as pets.

There are “inherent challenges” in measuring usage,” the social network said.

Wouldn’t you think Facebook would have been forced to nail down this kind of information before the IPO? Or did they but their data was “inaccurate”?

I’m off now to tell my dog to “like” this post on his Facebook account. Help is on the way, Governor Brown!

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TEXAS, TAXES & BRASS TACKS

by Burt Prelutsky on Friday, June 8th, 2012

by Burt Prelutsky

Rush Limbaugh once described politics as show business for ugly people. If he weren’t such a nice guy, he might have added that it also provides careers for really dumb ones.

For instance, while chatting with Charlie Rose on “CBS This Morning,” Governor Jerry Brown went into a lengthy pitch for California business, pointing out that it is the state that’s always been known for innovation. To prove his case that it is as true now as it ever was, Brown announced that no less an enterprise than Facebook got its start here on the edge of the Pacific. Not wishing to embarrass a fellow liberal, Mr. Rose didn’t start cackling like a loon, as I might have done. Instead, he politely informed Governor Moonbeam that Mark Zuckerberg and a few college pals launched the billion dollar brainstorm in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while they were attending Harvard.

Because Brown has spent his entire life in politics, he didn’t say, “Whoops!” the way a normal human being would. Instead, without missing a beat, he pointed out that Zuckerberg and his company had settled in California. In other words, we’re not really the home of innovation and entrepreneurship, but we have a terrific climate, and we’re the go-to place for guys who have piled up a lot of dough and want to get away from New England winters.

The sad truth of the matter is that, when compared to other liberal politicians, Jerry Brown is probably one of the brighter ones. For instance, have you ever heard Sen. Barbara Boxer give a speech or try to answer a simple question? I’ve never even voted for the woman, but it’s downright embarrassing just living in the state that has elected her on four separate occasions.

The fact that it is the same state that keeps electing Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman and Barbara Lee, to the House might help explain why some people, including friends, call me “Grumpy.”

On the other hand, California is a huge state. We have well over 40 million people jammed in here. It figures we’re going to have more louts than other places. But when you non-Californians keep on voting for the likes of Charles Schumer, Frederica Wilson, Al Franken, James Clyburn, Harry Reid, Bev Perdue, Sheila Jackson Lee, John Kerry and Patty Murray, you’re not exactly in a position to throw stones.

Even Texas, the state that calls to me in my dreams, keeps electing people who wind up proud members of the Congressional Black or Hispanic Caucus, dunderheads who apparently feel a greater allegiance to those who share their skin color than they do to America and the Constitution. The very idea that members of Congress would separate themselves on the basis of their pigmentation makes a mockery of their oath of office. It would seem that for people such as Al Green, Charles Gonzalez, Henry Cuellar. Ruben Hinojosa, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Silvestre Reyes and Sheila Jackson Lee, the notion that ours is supposed to be a colorblind society is their idea of a bad joke.

I have heard, though, that even Democrats on Capitol Hill are getting upset because they aren’t hearing from Obama.

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Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin Renounces U.S. Citizenship to Avoid $1 Billion in Taxes

by Donald Douglas on Saturday, May 12th, 2012

This is article 153 of 307 in the topic Taxation/IRS

Look, that’s a lot of money. I don’t really care about this Saverin kid, but clearly his case shows that folks like this aren’t really American, with no national loyalty, despite gaining U.S. citizenship and becoming fabulously wealthy in this country.

And his decision to renounce isn’t going over too well among Facebook fans. See the Los Angeles Times: “Americans feel defriended over perceived Eduardo Saverin tax dodge.” I can see why. See, “Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin gives up citizenship: Shrewd tax move?“:

Here’s a tax tip for Mark Zuckerberg: Give up your U.S. citizenship.

The 27-year-old Facebook Inc. founder could face a tax bill of more than $1 billion after the company’s initial public offering, expected next week.

His former Harvard classmate who is known as “the other Facebook founder” may have found a way to cut the bill. Eduardo Saverin, who now lives in Singapore, has given up his U.S. citizenship. Tax experts say it’s a shrewd move.

Saverin, who was immortalized in the film “The Social Network” as Zuckerberg’s contentious former friend and business partner, has a 4% stake in the company, according to the Who Owns Facebook? website. His stake could be worth nearly $4 billion after the IPO.

“It’s definitely savvy tax planning,” said Edward D. Kleinbard, a professor of law at USC who specializes in federal tax policy and international taxation. “He can argue that the value of the Facebook shares in September, when he gave up his citizenship, were significantly less than the value that will be set at the IPO next week.”

“Savvy tax planning.”

Well, no. It’s called tax evasion.

See the Wall Street Journal, “Taxes Got You Down? Renounce!” And at Bloomberg, “Facebook Co-Founder Saverin Gives Up U.S. Citizenship Before IPO.”

And this Savarin kid is a playboy, it turns out. See “The Other Facebook Founder“:

SINGAPORE — Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg is one of the world’s most famous chief executives. His former business partner and friend, Eduardo Saverin, is big in Singapore.

The Brazilian-born billionaire’s skirmishes with Mr. Zuckerberg over the future of Facebook were dramatized in the 2010 film “The Social Network,” which portrayed Mr. Saverin as a naive entrepreneur.

Mr. Saverin was squeezed out of Facebook early on, and found his stake in the Internet juggernaut diluted to less than 10% from 34%. Today, after more dilution and sales of some of his shares, his stake is about 2%, according to a person familiar with the matter.

But 2% can go a long way, given that Facebook filed documents Thursday to go public with a valuation of up to $96 billion. It can go especially far in Singapore, a financial center better known for banning the sale of chewing gum than for a thriving technology scene.

Since his arrival in 2009, the 30-year-old Mr. Saverin has attracted intense interest here. Singaporeans avidly track his nocturnal social habits. Many hoped he would fund local tech start-ups, but so far his local investments, which include a cosmetics firm, have been limited.

Mr. Saverin is regularly spotted lounging with models and wealthy friends at local night clubs, racking up tens of thousands of dollars in bar tabs by ordering bottles of Cristal Champagne and Belvedere vodka, according to people present on these occasions.

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No More Secrets

by Alan Caruba on Monday, March 5th, 2012

This is article 56 of 81 in the topic Presidential Eligiblity

There was a time when, if my Mother wanted to call my aunt in the same state, it was a “long distance” call. Now we live in a time when everyone is “connected” by cell phones and the Internet. The government deems cell phones so essential it gives them away free to “the poor.”

The explosion of “social networks” has us more “connected” and, to a large degree, it encourages the young and not-so-young to believe that every single thing they do each day is so important that it must be instantly communicated via the Internet.

I am not a Luddite who thinks that cell phones, the Internet, and other modern wonders are a bad thing. Much of my professional life is conducted via the Internet and often with people I have never met face to face. I have friends I have made via the Internet and others from a long ago past with whom I keep in contact via the Internet. Interpersonal communication is a good thing.

While Barack Hussein Obama has been busy transforming our nation into a Soviet-style Socialistic republic, the invention of the Internet and the likes of the late Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and the folks at Google have literally transformed our lives in ways we have only begun to comprehend.

In Egypt, Facebook brought out thousands of very unhappy Egyptians to Tahir square in Cairo where they proceeded to bring down one of the Middle East’s many dictators. The Internet exposed the global warming hoax when thousands of emails between its conspirators were leaked.

It gave the U.S. State and Defense Department folks a nightmare when a very low level Army kid passed countless secret dispatches on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to Wikileaks. Private Bradley Manning is looking at life in prison for that escapade. When I served in the Army, I had a clearance for “secret” materials and thought I was hot stuff until I realized that they gave that clearance to anyone who had a pulse. Apparently they are still doing that.

The fact that so much of what governments do is based on secrecy explains why billions are spent annually on intelligence gathering—spying—on each other. You need only read the teachings of Sun Tzu, written some 2,500 years ago, to learn how essential spying is to any government.

On a personal level, we have entered an era when there are virtually no secrets—as often as not because people share their secrets with friends who share them with friends who share them with friends. Former Congressman Anthony Weiner could write a book on the subject.

So far as governments are concerned, we are in a new era of disinformation—lies—to counter leaks. All this information pouring forth on the Internet has increasingly marginalized the role of the press.

For those who recall Watergate, a 1970s scandal that forced a president to resign, we looked to newspapers to expose wrong-doing, but today the facts are only a computer click away and, as often as not, the press, with exceptions, is actively suppressing information it does not want us to know.

Recently, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio held a press conference to confirm that the birth certificate provided by the President of the United States is, in all likelihood, a forgery.

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The Worrisome Frivolity Of Facebook

by John Myers on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

The Worrisome Frivolity Of Facebook

“I didn’t know what Facebook was, and now that I do know what it is, I have to say, it sounds like a huge waste of time.”

–Betty White, “Saturday Night Live”

“Knowledge is power,” wrote Sir Francis Bacon. There’s little doubt Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg grasped this when he created his vision for social networking eight years ago this month. Whether you consider Facebook a miracle or a monster, there is no doubt it has changed the way people relate to each other. It also made Zuckerberg one of the youngest billionaires in history.

This year, Facebook is expected to garner its billionth user. It already has more than 845 million users, or roughly one-seventh of the world’s population.

With billions of dollars in earnings, Facebook has in the works a much-anticipated initial public stock offering. The success of that IPO will do much to determine if social networking and the accumulation of what was once deemed personal information translate into raw wealth.

Regardless of how well Facebook’s IPO does, there is one truth about it and other social networks: The members who sign up are giving away their privacy and anonymity.

I find it irritating to watch people obsessing over Facebook. I am in my mid-50s, and I have no desire to share my life with so-called friends who can pass any of my information on to anyone. My wife and I have three children in their 20s who, like many of their generation, are avid Facebook users.

It has been my observation while shopping, walking in the park or driving that multitudes are either reading Facebook posts or updating their statuses. The numbers back me up. Facebook reports that it has 415 million mobile users.

Whether on the laptop at home or on the street with a smartphone, it appears that the principal reason so many people spend so much time on Facebook is to learn and spread gossip.

Evidence that many of my generation are upset over social networking was demonstrated this month when a North Carolina father, Tommy Jordan, responded to his daughter’s disrespectful Facebook rant by shooting her laptop and putting the video on YouTube. Jordan’s video went viral, receiving more than 2 million views in the first couple of days.

Jordan’s daughter had written a long Facebook post in which she complained about her chores. She didn’t suspect her dad would find her online tirade, but he did. He was especially upset by his daughter’s use of profanity in her post.

“This is for my daughter, Hannah, and more importantly, all of her friends on Facebook who thought her little rebellious post was cute,” Jordan said before riddling her computer with bullets.

I don’t endorse shooting computers. It is too much like Elvis Presley shooting TVs. I do understand that many older people are angry that our kids seem to give their lives over to their “friends” who number in the hundreds or sometimes thousands on Facebook.

I also realize that Facebook isn’t just for young people. Social Media Today reported in April 2010 an estimated 41.6 percent of the U.S. population had a Facebook account.

A friend told me at a Christmas party that he has more than 2,000 “friends” on Facebook. I still can’t comprehend that number.

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New Twitter Hashtag and Facebook ‘Like’ Button to Help Homeland Security

by Doug Powers on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

This is article 55 of 129 in the topic National Security

The Department of Homeland Security has had its eye on uprisings around the world and wants to become more adept at recognizing when there’s trouble brewing in social networking:

When the U.S. Department of Homeland Security receives information about potential threats to the U.S., agents may turn to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Caryn Wagner, undersecretary of the DHS, told an audience Monday at the National Symposium on Homeland Security and Defense in Colorado Springs that the agency began to draw up guidelines for monitoring social networking sites after the sites were heavily used during government uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa this year.

According to an Associated Press report Tuesday, federal agents are still mulling over how to best pull intelligence from social media sites and determine whether it is valid or Web chatter.

Because I’m all about helping Janet Napolitano, here’s what I’d suggest. First, a way for users to re-Tweet comments and add a hashtag that would alert Homeland Security to a potential threat but not tip off the original Tweeter. #ThisPersonWouldNeverOverthrowTheGovernment should do the trick. Napolitano will know what it means and the user will be none the wiser.

As for Facebook, DHS should convince Mark Zuckerberg to add a “like” button specifically for flagging posts that may contain national security threats. Here’s my proposed design:

null

Hope that helps, J-Nap.

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Is the world better off if Steve Jobs didn’t give much money to charity?

by John Lott on Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

The New York Times appears upset that Steve Jobs hasn’t given much money to charity. The question is whether Jobs did more good by amassing wealth so that he could control the companies that he ran. Is it even a close call? From a piece today by Deborah L. Jacobs at Forbes:

In his New York Times column today, “The Mystery of Steve Jobs’s Public Giving,” Andrew Ross Sorkin shines a spotlight on the fact that the former Apple CEO and Forbes billionaire has never been public about his philanthropy. He briefly considers, though seems to dismiss, the possibility that Jobs has been an anonymous donor.

Sorkin does an admirable job of marshaling the evidence that Jobs has devoted much more energy to building wealth than to sharing it. But whether Jobs has been charitable or not, what he does with his money is his choice. And he has the right to remain silent about it.

Like other wealthy people, Jobs has no doubt been badgered by fund-raising requests. He refused to join the lineup of nearly 70 U.S. billionaires who have pledged to give away at least half their fortunes during life or at death. Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz are among those who have joined the philanthropic campaign led by Berkshire Hathaway‘s Warren Buffett and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. . . .

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Obama Seeks Both Support and Money (He gets FB’s Mark Zuckerberg to Sport a Monkey Suit, and Address a Hand picked Audience of 500 Attendees.)

by Martha Montelongo on Sunday, April 24th, 2011

This is article 165 of 1300 in the topic 2012 Elections

So Obama got Zuckerberg to put on a monkey suit. Gosh, how cool… Yet, I have faith in Zuckerberg. I have to. I hope that ultimately, his conscious yearns for, responds to and thrives on wisdom over being “in” with the “in” crowd. After all it shouldn’t be hard for Mark to see these powerful “friends” are no different than all the other fools he’s already encountered. The question of grave importance to the world, is what captures Mark’s devotion for what purpose will he use his genius?

(I posted a comment at the bottom of this article written by John Wildermuth at Fox & Hound.)

President Barack Obama’s Wednesday afternoon visit to Facebook, the grandfather of the social networking biz, showed that his team has grasped political truism that has eluded many California campaigns: Bucks ain’t ballots.

Now it’s true the president reportedly plans to raise a breathtaking $1 billion for his effort to win four more years in the White House and yes, that’s billion with a “b.”

And since no one in the campaign business has ever suggested that “Big Daddy” Jesse Unruh’s observation that “money is the mother’s milk of politics” is any less valid now than when the former Assembly speaker made it in 1966, the $35,800-a-napkin dinner he had with 60 of his closest friends Wednesday night in San Francisco was a pleasant reminder of why it’s good to be the president.

But as Meg Whitman ($178 million for her governor’s race) and PG&E ($46 million for last June’s Prop. 16) discovered, all the cash in the world won’t help a campaign that can’t rally the troops. Which is why the Facebook stop was likely the most important event on a presidential trip this week that’s expected to shake the California money tree for $7 million in contributions.

There weren’t any surprises in what the president said: Click here to read more of the article.

 

Comment by Martha Montelongo:
So Zuckerberg doesn’t think Obama has much to account for? He’s cool with the President’s acts of rounding up immigrants into detention centers thousands of miles from where they are apprehended, without access to legal representation or accountability for mistakes in false charges, mistaken status reports or identity, acting as a dictator and taking us into yet another war, in Libya, for “humanitarian” reasons, without even pretending to seek approval from the Congress? Is Zuckerberg OK with Obama spending us into the utter decimation of the U.S. Dollar, ushering in a constant double digit unemployment level, continuing our war in Afghanistan, continuing and expanding our war on drugs and using it to expand the power of border security to move their check points further and further inland, casting a net that violates everyone…’s civil liberties, and ensnares all of us, in the name of protecting us, expanding the government’s access to our privacy in the name of Homeland Security, punishing and constricting the middle class with creeping taxes that devalue real wages, neutering us, vilifying us, and hoping the poor will accept him as their savior, the compassionate one who will deliver, eventually, when his own administration has successfully gutted our economy to the brink of ruin.

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Why Obama’s Past is More Important Than His Future

by John C. Drew Ph.D. on Friday, April 22nd, 2011

This is article 106 of 1014 in the topic Obama

I want to thank O.C. congressional candidate, Mike Munzing, for taking out time to record my recent speech at the San Juan Capistrano Republican Women Federated meeting on April 20, 2011.

I think this is a pretty good start at explaining the path that lead Obama and I to become Marxist socialists in 1980, the minor role I played in persuading him that there was not going to be any Communist revolution in the U.S., the straight line of ideological consistency passing from Frank Marshall Davis, me, Bill Ayers, Rev. Wright and Alice Palmer, and the dangers posed to our nation by an Obama second term, a second term that would give him the opportunity to stack the Supreme Court with people who would bend the Constitution to facilitate his Marxist socialist perspective.

One of the sweet ironies surrounding my speech is that, on this same day, President Barack Obama spoke at a “town hall” at Facebook headquarters, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Palo Alto, California. Palo Alto is within minutes of where he and I first met in Portola Valley in the fall of 1980.

Read more: Obama Ends Quarter on Low Note

By the way, please check out the nice applause line for Tricia – for her bravery – in helping me get this message out at about 11:00 minutes into the video.

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