Embattled Facebook CEO Zuckerberg seeks to mend fences in Washington

Jeck Deocampo   •   September 20, 2019   •   580

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill for a second day on Thursday (September 19) as part of an effort by the social media giant to mend its reputation as it faces a slew of government investigations.

Zuckerberg, who is also Facebook’s founder, also has meetings planned for Friday on Capitol Hill. Discussions on Wednesday with lawmakers focused mainly on election security and data privacy concerns, sources close to the meetings said.

A person briefed on the matter said Zuckerberg was also expected to hold meetings with the Trump administration. Facebook and the White House both declined to say if Zuckerberg would meet with President Donald Trump. (REUTERS)

(Production: David Shepardson, Scott Vaughan)

Big companies boycott Facebook

UNTV News   •   June 30, 2020

A long list of U.S. companies have pulled advertising from Facebook in support of a campaign that called out the social media giant for not doing enough to stop hate speech on its platforms.

Ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, consumer conglomerate Unilever, and coffee chain Starbucks have nixed ads on the social media network.

And PepsiCo will do so as well, FOX Business News reported citing sources on Sunday (June 28).

The halt on PepsiCo’s advertising will run through July and August, the report said.

PepsiCo did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Annually, Facebook generates $70 billion in advertising sales and about a quarter of it comes from big companies such as Unilever with the vast majority of its revenue derived from small businesses.

But the publicity around its hate speech policies have hurt its perception and stock.

On Friday (June 26), Facebook’s 8.3% decline in stock price wiped out $56 billion in market capitalization.

Responding to demands for more action, Facebook on Sunday acknowledged it has more work to do and is teaming up with civil rights groups and experts to develop more tools to fight hate speech.

Facebook said its investments in artificial intelligence have allowed it to find 90% of hate speech before users report it.

The boycott has accelerated to include other digital advertising platforms, such as Twitter. REUTERS

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U.S. House of Representatives passes Democratic police reform bill

UNTV News   •   June 26, 2020

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a controversial Democratic police reform bill on Thursday (June 25), sending the measure to the Senate despite opposition from President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress.

The Democratic-controlled House voted 236-181 roughly along party lines to adopt the legislation, one month to the day after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody sparked weeks of worldwide protests over police brutality, especially against African-Americans.

But the Democratic bill, which mandates concrete changes in law and policy to rein in police misconduct, is unlikely to be passed in its current form in the Republican-led Senate, where Democrats blocked a Republican reform measure on Wednesday. (Reuters)

(Production: Vanessa Johnston)

Trump knocks protests, defends pandemic response at first rally in months

UNTV News   •   June 22, 2020

President Donald Trump addressed a smaller-than-expected crowd with criticism of anti-racism protests on Saturday (June 20) at a rally meant to reinvigorate his re-election campaign amid U.S. racial unrest and a still-strong coronavirus pandemic.

The president, who revels in large crowds and had predicted his first rally in months would be epic, complained that the media had discouraged attendees from coming and cited bad behavior from protesters outside but did not specifically acknowledge the fact that many seats in the 19,000-seat BOK Center arena were empty.

Only a handful of attendees wore masks inside the arena.

Trump was seeking to bring momentum back to his campaign after coming under fire for his responses to the coronavirus and to the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in the custody of Minneapolis police.

He has brushed aside criticism for his decision to hold his first rally since March 2 in Tulsa, the site of the country’s bloodiest outbreaks of racist violence against Black Americans some 100 years ago.

Trump, who has encouraged a militaristic response to the demonstrations nationwide while taking criticism for not showing more empathy for the plight of Black Americans, criticized some of the protests.

“The unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments – our beautiful monuments – tear down our statues and punish, cancel and persecute anyone who does not conform to their demands for absolute and total control. We’re not conforming,” Trump said.

The Republican president is trailing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, in polls ahead of the November election. Biden has hammered Trump for his response to the pandemic.

Trump defended his response, saying that more testing had led to identifying more cases, seemingly to his chagrin.

“When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to … find more cases,” he said. “So, I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.'” (Reuters)

(Production: Vanessa Johnson)

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