billion, media, company, wednesday

Detroit couple creates Netflix-like service with pro-socialist programming  

Two filmmakers who gained national attention for making a campaign video for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are launching a pro-socialism media company.


Oil firm Equinor agrees climate change targets with investors   1%

Norwegian oil and gas company Equinor will revise its climate targets next year and assess its investments against U.N.-backed goals following talks with major investors.

Human Rights Watch Report Reveals Major Free-Speech Impact of Anti-BDS Movement   -4%

Human Rights Watch has been subjected to intense backlash by Israel and its supporters, including a number of state governments, for its role in publicizing the home rental company Airbnb’s operations in the illegally occupied West Bank.

The post Human Rights Watch Report Reveals Major Free-Speech Impact of Anti-BDS Movement appeared first on MintPress News.

Saudi Aramco buys US$1.2 billion stake in South Korean refiner Hyundai Oilbank   -70%

Saudi Aramco says it has reached an agreement to acquire a US$1.25 billion stake in South Korean refiner Hyundai Oilbank that would provide Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil company with a dedicated outlet for its crude to South Korea.Aramco says the deal, announced on Monday, amounts to a 17 per cent stake in Hyundai Oilbank, a private oil refining company that is a subsidiary of the publicly traded Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings. The refinery complex in the western coastal city of Daesan, where…

A year after Hong Kongs stock listing overhaul, citys aim to be Asias biotech hub is still a work in progress  

The radical overhaul of the rules for listing on Hong Kong’s stock exchange implemented last April had the goal of making the city a hub for technology and biotech firms looking to raise capital.A year on, it is debatable whether the reforms – the biggest in a quarter of a century – have met expectations.Just nine companies have taken advantage of the new regime, which for the first time has allowed technology firms with weighted voting rights, commonly known as dual-class shares, and pre…

Gree Electric and Chinas home appliance queen Dong Mingzhu seeking to lead way on SOE reform   8%

Appliance queen Dong Mingzhu may soon become the standard bearer for China’s effort to its reform state-owned businesses.Outspoken chairwoman Dong is widely known to the Chinese public because she appears in many of the adverts for Gree Electric, the listed, state-owned company that is the world’s largest manufacturer of residential air conditioners.Dong is now at the forefront of a highly anticipated deal that will shift the ownership, and the actual control of the company, that she had helped…

Facebook warns Sri Lankan block thwarts families in tragedy   1%

The social media giant is struggling to cope with the local complexities in the wake of the disaster.

Court orders settlers evicted from Palestinian home purchased with forged documents  

The Bakri family home in Tel Rumeida was taken over after an investment company forged sale documents and handed it over to Jewish settlers. Court rules settlers must pay the family $161,000

Couples who tend to post a lot on social media are insecure   34%

A recent study has indicated that 'happy' couples on social media might not be as happy as we think!

Trump meets with Twitter CEO amid bias complaints  

Trump meets with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey after bashing the company and accusing it of not treating him well because he's a Republican

Shikun & Binuis new CEO gets one of Israels top salaries  

Eyal Lapidot is coming from Phoenix Insurance, which went from being one of the country's weaker companies in the sector to its second largest by market value

Chinese regulator hints at better access for foreign cloud computing companies   -3%

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said it welcomes foreign company participation in its efforts to explore ways to further reform and open the country’s cloud services market, signalling a possible shift in the way Beijing controls access to the world’s fastest growing cloud market.“Chinese regulators approve of foreign companies conducting cloud-computing business in China via cooperation with local firms,” said Wen Ku, director of the telecom department at MIIT,…

Fire mostly contained after ethanol train derailment in Texas: Union Pacific   20%

A fire that broke out early Wednesday after 25 cars of a Union Pacific train hauling ethanol derailed at Fort Worth, Texas, has been "mostly contained", a company spokeswoman said.

Singaporean real estate investors are leading the Asian charge deeper into Europe as Chinese firms lie low   16%

Last Tuesday, the real estate arm of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), one of Asia’s leading media companies, announced that it had acquired £134 million (US$174 million) worth of student housing assets in three cities in Britain – Southampton, Sheffield and Leeds – in a deal that increases the size of its United Kingdom university accommodation portfolio to more than 5,000 beds in 10 cities, making SPH one of the leading players in the popular asset class. The transaction is the latest in a… Apologizes for Ad Showing Slavery-Era Interracial Couple  

The genealogy company said it had pulled a video ad that depicted an interracial couple fleeing the antebellum South.

Chinas private firms in traditional low-tech sectors struggling without government support   12%

Among China’s millions of private businesses, Terry Wu says his is one of a minority of non-state firms that have benefited from government incentives to support the private sector, which Beijing is counting on as an important lifeline to buffer the nation’s overall economic slowdown.Wu’s company, a manufacturer of smart devices and components including camera modules for smartphones, has enjoyed five years of free factory rental and easy access to bank loans as part of a sweeping policy…

Alon Gas mulling $223 million merger with Tamar Petroleum   -40%

The deal aims to boost the value of thinly traded Alon stock. Both companies deny that talks are underway, but Alon shares jump

Twitter shares surge as Trump accuses it of 'political games'   6%

Social media platform’s revenues up 18% as president criticises its treatment of him

Twitter has reported better-than-expected financial results, sending its shares surging, as Donald Trump accused the social media platform of “playing political games”.

Revenues for the first quarter climbed by 18% to $787m (£605m), beating Wall Street forecasts of $776m. Revenues were boosted by ad sales that also rose 18%, to $679m. Its shares jumped nearly 13% to $38.81. A year ago, they were changing hands at $31.22.

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Lower hydraulic fracturing prices continue to sting Halliburton in first quarter  

Lower prices for hydraulic fracturing services in North America continue to sting Houston-based Halliburton, the second largest oilfield service company in the world.

Fury in Italy over state broadcaster Rai planning separate TV channels for men and women  

Italian state broadcaster Rai has sparked fury over a proposal to create separate male and female television channels.A reorganisation of some of the company’s channels as part of its strategic plan could result in one airing shows and films geared more towards men, and one aimed at women.Nun a hit on Italy television singing talent showA source at Rai said the plan was about repositioning programmes to better target male and female audiences, rather than gender segregation, but the potential…

Big brands dive into esports to court youth market: Nielsen   -10%

From snack companies to carmakers, a wide range of brands is trying to reach one of the hottest demographic groups around: esports fans.

More Govt Hooks in Social Media: Facebook Hires Patriot Act Co-Author While Trump Jawbones Twitter CEO   7%

Facebook’s recent controversial hire may give a boost to efforts to “break up” Facebook and other social media giants, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) recent call to take antitrust action against some of Silicon Valley’s largest companies, including Facebook and Twitter.

The post More Gov’t Hooks in Social Media: Facebook Hires Patriot Act Co-Author While Trump Jawbones Twitter CEO appeared first on MintPress News.

Elon Musk says Tesla will have robo-taxis operating next year  

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced at an investor event Monday that he expects the company to operate robo-taxis next year.

Toyota, Softbank Vision Fund in $1 billion Uber investment  

Japanese car giant Toyota and investment fund Softbank Vision Fund on Friday unveiled an investment of $1 billion in US company Uber to drive forward the development of driverless ridesharing services

Social media boycott as footballers in England say "enough" over racism   3%

Premier League stars led footballers in England and Wales in a 24-hour social media boycott on Friday in a bid to combat racist abuse online.

Dow locks out more than 200 workers in Deer Park  

A Dow Chemical subsidiary has locked out about 200 workers at a chemical plant in Deer Park outside of Houston, the union and company said Monday.

US intelligence alleges Huawei funded by Chinese state security, says a report  

US intelligence has accused Huawei Technologies of being funded by Chinese state security, The Times said on Saturday, adding to the list of allegations faced by the Chinese technology company in the

UPDATE 2-U.S. Justice staff seek Goldman guilty plea in 1MDB settlement -FT   -25%

A U.S. government settlement with Goldman Sachs Group Inc over its role in the 1MDB corruption scandal should include a guilty plea at the parent company level, U.S. Department of Justice staff have recommended, according to a Financial Times report on Wednesday.

Africa: Startups Weekly - Lessons From a Failed Founder   -1%

[TechCrunch] I sat down with Menlo Ventures partner Shawn Carolan this week to talk about his early investment in Uber. Menlo, if you remember, led Uber's Series B and has made a hefty sum over the year selling shares in the ride-hailing company. I'll have more on that later; for now, I want to share some of the insights Carolan had on his experience ditching venture capital to become a founder.

Teva stops testing its migraine drug as cluster headache treatment   -16%

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd said on Tuesday it would stop developing its migraine drug, Ajovy, for treating cluster headaches after the company found the treatment was unlikely to meet the main goal of a late-stage trial.

University of Illinois the latest US school to end research collaboration with Chinas Huawei   10%

The University of Illinois is the latest US educational institution to end research collaboration with Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies amid federal investigations into the company and its alleged potential security risks.The decision was announced last week via email to faculty and staff in the College of Engineering, which ranked 10th in the US News and World Report’s list of top American engineering schools.“Effective immediately, the university will not be…

Instagram Memers Are Unionizing  

Instagram memers have had enough.

They generate the engagement that helps keep Instagram growing—but, they argue, the multibillion-dollar platform doesn’t pay them for their work, or give them any control. So they’re fighting back. And before you write off IG Meme Union Local 69-420 as a joke, the organizers of the collective would like you to know that they are very serious.

“Solidarity actions with memers. Memers of the world unite,” the Instagram page for the union reads, encouraging followers to “seize the memes of production.”

The IG Meme Union will probably never be recognized by the National Labor Relations Board, but organizers say it can still act as a union for all intents and purposes. “We’re calling it a union and doing union-organizing tactics,” Paul Praindo, a representative of the organizing committee, told me. “We stand in firm support of others who are working to organize anti-labor industries. We think these movements mark the beginning of a labor renaissance.” Some other “unions” function this way: The Freelancers Union, for instance, doesn’t have a formal management structure to negotiate with, but does advocate collectively for independent workers.

Similarly, the IG Meme Union, which is currently taking applications through an online form, hopes to negotiate better working conditions for memers who say they have been exploited by Instagram and other tech platforms for too long. “People are doing a lot of work, doing it for free or little compensation, or not recognized for the work they’re doing,” Praindo said. “All these people are bringing revenue to Instagram, producing this major profit margin for this company, and they’re subject to really little job security.”

[Read: Why some of Instagram’s biggest memers are locking their accounts]

Instagram follows the same business model as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other social platforms. The service itself is free to use, but the platform monetizes the content posted to it to sell ads based on metadata attached to that content. Users themselves, who are the ones posting the photos, videos, and memes that keep people coming back to the app, don’t get a cut of that revenue.

“We as content creators want to have worker protections,” Praindo said. “Even if you’re producing funny pictures of Shrek, that should not determine whether you’re taken seriously as a creator or your livelihood is imperiled at the drop of a hat … We are a meme union; the whole point of it is to work for protections for other content creators.”

Instagram declined to say explicitly on the record whether it supports the union. Instead, a company spokesperson offered a statement: “We’re always listening to feedback from the community,” it said. “We’re happy to have the feedback so we can improve. Hearing these concerns is useful for us.”

and non-binary feudal lords

A post shared by IG Meme Union Local 69-420 (@unionizedmemes) on

A few things the IG Meme Union wants: a more open and transparent appeals process for account bans; a direct line of support with Instagram, or a dedicated liaison to the meme community; and a better way to ensure that original content isn’t monetized by someone else. “Having a public and clear appeal process is a big thing,” Praindo said. “People appeal now and get turned down, and they won’t know why.” (In a statement, an Instagram spokesperson said, “Each week we review millions of reports and there are times when we make mistakes.” She also said the company would soon be rolling out an option to appeal post removals.)

So far, the union’s message has been well received by the broader meme community. Administrators for accounts with millions of followers said they support the group’s efforts and would stand in solidarity with them. “I think the union is a good thing. There should be something like this,” said Sonny5ideUp, a memer with more than 1 million followers on Instagram. Jackson Weimer, a writer for Meme Insider who has also created several successful Instagram meme pages, said he thinks the union is a “good idea” and a necessary way to get Instagram to finally take memers seriously.

this is what those ping-pong playing craft beer drinking tots relatable silicon valley ayahuasca over sharing hipster bosses will say to you when you try to assert your right to collective bargaining. don’t fall for the good guy bullshit your boss tries to pull. they aren't your friend. your workplace isnt a ”family”. your paycheck is thinner than their blood. cut all sentimental ties with that shit bc when push comes to shove, and they need to cut costs, your ass will be on the chopping block. if it was a ’family’ then your well-being, your concerns and your needs would be met with material return; you’d be getting paid more, you’d have full benefits, your job would be secure and they wouldn’t threaten to fire you if you formed a union. don’t let company paintball trips compensate for workplace neglect/abuse.

A post shared by nicolás ☭ (@blackpowerbottomtext) on

Memers represent a burgeoning sector of the labor force that currently has no job security or formal protection. “If you’re spending all your time as a Twitch broadcaster or creating memes, that is work,” says John Ahlquist, an associate professor at the University of San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, who has done research on the changing nature of work. “People that are trying to earn a living on these platforms are recognizing how vulnerable they are on an individual basis with respect to the platform, and so they’re turning to this tried-and-true model of collective action.”

Memers aren’t direct employees of these tech platforms, nor are they independent contractors for them. But they produce, directly or indirectly, the bulk of these platforms’ income. And current labor protections don’t cover this type of “mediated work,” Ahlquist told me.

[Read: Memes are becoming harder to monetize]

“All the basic labor-market regulations we have in place to try to give people fallback in the event of illness or the recession or aging—they’re all designed and counted under a particular set of contractual arrangements that no longer fit many people,” he said. “That labor contract [and those jobs] looks like things we’re familiar with from the middle of the 20th century.”

This isn’t the first time internet influencers and creators have tried to band together to make their voices heard—with varying results. Top YouTubers often join multichannel networks, which bargain for higher rates and facilitate a direct line to YouTube. In 2015, more than 20 of Vine’s top stars joined together to attempt to negotiate a payment structure from the app. When talks broke down between the Viners and the platform, they walked; Vine’s user base and engagement plummeted, and the app later shuttered. In 2016, more than 100 top Facebook pages reaching more than 10 million users collectively banded together to form the Meme Alliance, which argued for more transparent enforcement of the platform’s community standards. Facebook did end up revamping its moderation policies, though it did not directly acknowledge the Meme Alliance.

While previous efforts by small groups of creators may have stalled, William Fitzgerald, a volunteer with the Tech Workers Coalition, a worker-led organizing group for the tech industry, told me that the IG Meme Union is forming at an optimal time. Tech giants such as Facebook, Apple, Google, and Amazon have come under fire recently for exploitative labor practices, and the public is becoming aware of just how much power these companies exert over our lives and economy.

Amazon was recently forced to scrap its plans for its New York City expansion after backlash. Employees at Google staged a 20,000-person walkout and protest last fall over the company’s mishandling of sexual-harassment claims, forcing the company to revise its policy. Uber and Lyft drivers have attempted to unionize, as have staff at the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and in tech-adjacent sectors such as animation and digital media. Polygon recently declared that 2019 could be “the year video game unions go big.”

People are “seeing that across the tech sector you have this handful of really big tech companies with control over the livelihoods of so many creators,” Fitzgerald said. “There are so few platforms with so much power and no accountability or rules.”

Weimer said that he hopes the conversation around the memers’ union will help open a discussion about these creators’ value to the platforms and their impact on broader culture. “We need to recognize the people who are creating these trends and give them respect for their accounts and what they’re doing,” he said. “Memers need to be respected for the power they have as creators.”

Facebook ban on hate speech to include 'white nationalists' and 'white separatists'   -6%

Facebook has concluded after months of discussions that white nationalism and separatism cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organized hate groups. How the company will define white nationalist content and enforce the policy remain unclear.

Indian court lifts ban on Chinese social media app TikTok   21%

An Indian court on Wednesday lifted its ban on Chinese social media video-sharing app TikTok on the condition that the platform popular with teenagers would not be used to host … Click to Continue »

Police officers pepper-spray and punch black teenager, 15, in Florida video   -1%

Two Florida sheriff's deputies have been suspended after a video showed them pepper-spraying and punching a 15-year-old black student. The video, which was widely shared on social media last week, shows the two officers slamming Delucca Rolle to the ground and smashing his face into the concrete several times. Rolle’s family say he was picking up a cellphone that a classmate had dropped when one officer pepper-sprayed and jumped on him

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Twitter's audience is growing again as it works to combat abuse   25%

Twitter's audience is growing again and engaging with the service more frequently as the company works to combat abuse on the platform.

Joseph Stiglitz: Elizabeth Warren & Bernie Sanders Want to Make the Economy Work for All Americans   10%

As the 2020 election race barrels forward with nearly 20 Democratic candidates, we speak with Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz about the policy platforms of progressive hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, including Warren's plan to break up big tech companies and cancel student debt and Sanders's commitment to democratic socialism, which Stiglitz compares to "what in Europe is called social democracy, sometimes called the welfare state." Stiglitz has a new book out titled "People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent."

A New Pop-Up Tries to Make Women's Financial Inequality Instagram-Worthy   12%

Money clips that read “future millionaire” are sold next to earrings that demand we “eat the rich.” Should I be questioning the system, or thriving inside of it? The company doesn’t seem to know the answer.

Robotic Tesla taxis will be roaming the streets very soon, Elon Musk says   60%

Electric car company has been repeatedly criticised for overly enthusiastic predictions

The Technology 202: Facebook is snapping up the top critics of its privacy practices   -31%

But other advocates are skeptical the new hires can shake the company up from the inside.