Tag Archives: facebook

Facebook Shuts Down DC Anti-Racist Rally Pages

Facebook announced that it had uncovered websites that may have been intended to disrupt the coming mid-term elections. According to the Washington Post Facebook deleted 32 false pages and profiles that were created between March 2017 and May of this year.  The misinformation websites lured nearly 300,000 people with ads, events and regular posts focused on race, fascism and feminism with the intent to spark backlash against Donald Trump. Facebook notified law enforcement officials before deleting the profiles Tuesday morning. The company also notified members of congress of the activity and will notify the real Facebook users who were swept up in the operation.

But it seems that some legitimate organizations have been caught up in the Facebook cleanup operation. Organizers in Washington D.C are angry with Facebook for taking down their legitimate page that was organizing a counter protest against a “Unite the Right  2.0” rally scheduled to take place in D.C on August 12th.

DCist, one one of organizers of the counter protest, say their counter-rally is legitimate and backed by a number of real organizations.

Dylan Petrohilos of “Resist This” said, “This was a legitimate Facebook event that was being organized by Washington, D.C. locals.”  Petrohilos was a defendant in a rioting case during the Inauguration of Donald Trump. 

Petrohilos said “Shut It Down DC” is the group organizing the counter protest. The group formed after known white supremacist Jason Kessle, organizer of the Charlottesville rally, announced plans for the D.C. rally. The counter protest will involve numerous local groups, including the D.C. Antifascist Collective, Black Lives Matter D.C., Hoods4Justice, and Smash Racism D.C.

Facebook issued a press release saying that the original creator of the “No Unite the Right 2 — DC” page was created in part with a fake “Resisters” account. Facebook did not explicitly connect the pages to the Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA). According to U.S. intelligence officials the IRA is a source Russian misinformation and propaganda efforts. Facebook did however say it had “found evidence of some connections” between the IRA and whoever was behind the pages.

Facebook wrote; The Event – “No Unite the Right 2 – DC” – was scheduled to protest an August “Unite the Right” event in Washington. Inauthentic admins of the “Resisters” Page connected with admins from five legitimate pages to co-host the event. These legitimate pages unwittingly helped build interest in “No Unite Right 2 – DC” and posted information about transportation, materials, and locations so people could get to the protests.

Organizers say that the counter-protest will still take place.  A legitimate replacement event page has been created. Organizers however are still angry with Facebook for removing the original page because it had numerous RSVPs and was the hub for discussion and planning.

 

Celebrity Cyber Report – Tyler Perry, Drake

Filmmaker Tyler Perry is warning fans of a Facebook hoax claiming he is giving away money and other prizes.

In a Facebook video Perry said “I am not giving away anything on Facebook. I am not giving away any money. My team has to shut down these things every day.” According to Perry his team shuts down as many as 30 fake websites and social media pages daily.

The actor and film producer did not go into specifics but reiterated that unauthorized people were using his name for “giveaways.” Fans searching “Tyler Perry” on Facebook will find hundreds of fake accounts using the actor’s name. Fans are warned that his real pages are are verified by blue checkmarks.

Perry said he is a giver saying “In my life, I’m a giver. I give a lot of things to a lot of people, to a lot of employees, random things, cars, houses, I do.” But he drew the line at scams using his name. “But that is not true. The Facebook stuff. I’m not giving away anything. Stop it, devil.” Perry did however give comedienne Tiffany Haddish a new Tesla electric vehicle wrapped in a red bow. Perry explained why he gave her the car saying he understands how rising stars worry about money at the start of their careers.

Drake

Drake

Canadian rapper Drake shattered records with his new album which hit a billion streams in its first week.  The first album ever to do so. According to Billboard.com the album entitled “Scorpion” also broke the U.S. streaming record with 745.92 million streams in its first week. The new record easily topped Post Malone’s Beerbong & Bentleys streaming record of 431 million streams in its first week. 

In a stunning 24 hours “Scorpion” scored record breaking totals of 300 million streams on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Billboard.com reported that Drake now owns four of the top 10 streaming weeks ever for an album. “Scorpion” is Drake’s eighth consecutive No. 1 album on the Billboard 200.

 

Fake Black Lives Matter Page Found on Facebook

Fake Black Lives Matter Facebook page

In the movie Malcom X, starring Denzel Washington, Washington’s character is preaching about how black people have been fooled. He say’s “We been hoodwinked, bam-boozled, flim-flammed, led astray…”  It seems that is exactly what has happen to African-Americans and the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM).

The official Black Lives Matter Facebook page claims more than 300,000 ‘Likes.’ But according to CNN a fake BLM Facebook page has claimed over 700,000 ‘Likes.’ The phony page is allegedly linked to a Australian man by the name of Ian Mackay. Mackay has registered numerous sites related to black civil rights like blackpowerfist.com.

The page is suspected of raising over $100,000 for BLM causes via online fundraising.  Some of the money was instead transferred to Australian bank accounts.

When contacted by CNN MacKay claimed he didn’t run, but did own, a connected website which was registered under his name, but he “once bought the domain name only and sold it.”

Ian Mackay

Facebook suspended the site after Mackay was questioned about his involvement by a blogger, Jeremy Massler, last December. In an email to Mashable Massler said he was blocked from the fake Facebook page after questioning the site’s authenticity.  According to Massler he was not alone as others had commented about the site questioning its authenticity and expressing concerns about the page’s administrators. “I certainly wasn’t the first to notice,” said Massler. “The real hurdle seemed to be getting a response (or even an acknowledgment) from Facebook about the issue.”

CNN reported Facebook’s reluctance to remove the page when contacted. It took a week for Facebook to act after numerous emails and calls between CNN and Facebook.  But Facebook was notified about the site months ago. Founder of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Cullors, told CNN she contacted Facebook months ago about shutting down the fake site. 

Cullors pointed out the damage done to the movement by fake fundraising saying that it devalues the movement’s work, and that it relies “on donors who believe in our work and our cause and that money will be used in a way that is respectful.”

According to CNN the people behind the Fake BLM page operated another hugely popular Facebook Group also titled ‘Black Lives Matter.’ The site has nearly 40,000 members. The site reportedly is the largest group on the platform professing to be supporting Black Lives Matter. Facebook Groups are similar to traditional discussion forums but  people have to request to join.

Mackay, a former official with Australia’s National Union of Workers, has been consistently linked to the fake sites and was suspended by the organization as it investigated his involvement. Mackay has since been fired from the organization. But Western Australian police have not begun any investigation. The police force said it was “not aware of any complaints” about the fake pages. A union spokesperson told the Guardian that officials were “very happy to cooperate with whoever the relevant authorities are”.

Mackay has registered dozens of websites focused on black rights. In 2015 Mackay registered blackpowerfist.com. Mackay’s name, email address, phone number and other details appeared in the registration records for the site until July 2015 when the website began allowing site owners to conceal their identities and contact information. MacKay also registered other websites such as blacklivesnews.com, blackkillingsmatter.com and blackfists.com, and 100 other site names in total.

The Facebook page continually generated traffic for other websites associated with blackpowerfist.com.  Internet archive records showed that Mackay was listed as the administrative and technical contact to blacklivesmatter.media. 

Facebook told CNN that Mackay registered blackpowerfist.com using an anonymous Facebook profile under the name ‘BP Parker’ and shared a link to the site. BP Parker was also named as an administrator of the “Black Lives Matter” Facebook page until that page was suspended. 

The people behind the websites and the fake Facebook pages were able to fool people into donating money using various online fundraising platforms, including Donorbox.

The groups Donorbox page read, “Our mission is to raise awareness about racism, bigotry, police brutality and hate crimes by exposing through social media locally and internationally stories that mainstream media don’t. We have built a following through hard work, dedication and the generosity of supporters like you that pitch in a what they can to help us promote or share our page and also pay to boost the stories the mainstream media try to suppress through paid ads.”

Black activist, DeRay Mckesson, told CNN. “The consequences of that is it hasn’t been easy to think about authenticity in the digital space.”

Facebook has deleted the site and told CNN that they have “developed several techniques to help detect and block inauthentic activity such as this,” and that the social network’s teams review reports of impersonators from the public.

 

Facebook’s Dirty Scandal – Now You Know!

Image courtesy of Arztsamui

The world’s greatest social media network! The greatest collector of personal information in history of mankind! The greatest surveillance machine ever created! All this can be said of Facebook. But when you screw up it quickly becomes equally great. 

Facebook knew its security was weak.

 Facebook’s Chief Information Security Officer, Alex Stamos  argued that the amount of data Facebook was collecting made it a target for hackers, spies and hostile state actors. 

In an audio recording leaked to ZDNet, Stamos was heard telling his security team that he had warned management “that we have the threat profile of a Northrop Grumman or a Raytheon or another defense contractor, but we run our corporate network, for example, like a college campus, almost.” Executives inside Facebook were not happy.

Stamos argued for more openness about how Russian agents used Facebook to influence the 2016 presidential election and beyond. From the inside Stamos fought for organizational changes that would at least minimize the use of misinformation. Again, Facebook executives resisted his efforts. As a result Stamos is planning to depart Facebook by August.

Between 2011 and 2012 former Facebook platform operations manager, Sandy Parakilas, was  responsible for policing data breaches by third-party software developers. According to the Guardian he warned senior executives at the company that poor data security measures were a major vulnerability.

“My concerns were that all of the data that left Facebook servers to developers could not be monitored by Facebook,” said Parakilas, “so we had no idea what developers were doing with the data.”

Parakilas went on to say that Facebook had terms of service and settings that “people didn’t read or understand.” Parakilas went on to accuse Facebook of failing to use any enforcement mechanisms at its disposal, including audits of external developers, to ensure data was not being misused. Basically Facebook was warned by its own employees of the coming danger.

What happened?

Facebook basically lost control of the personal data of over 50 million users. The data was then used to target American voters with misinformation, fake news and other highly manipulated information by Cambridge Analytica.

Professor Aleksandr Kogan a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge, requested user data from Facebook. Kogan created a research app to be used by psychologist entitled “thisisyourdigitallife.”  

Some 270,000 Facebook users downloaded the app. Each user consented to allow Kogan’s app access to their personal information provided by Facebook. The data included their “Likes,” the city they live in, etc. But what users were not consenting to was giving up the same information on their friends.

According to Facebook Kogan assured the company that the data would be cleansed of identifying information and only used for research purposes. This turned out not to be the case. Kogan shared the dataset with Christopher Wylie of Euonia Technologies and possibly others. Wylie is the whistleblower who blew up the whole scam. More on him later. The two men formed a third company, Global Science Research that, once again, assured Facebook that the data would be anonymized. Global Science Research then proceeded to build out SCL and Cambridge Analytica’s (CA) voter profiles using the data.

Kogan has spoken out claiming that he is being scapegoated. Kogan told BBC Radio 4 Today program of an environment of permissive data-gathering and lax privacy policies. “We thought we were acting perfectly appropriately. We thought we were doing something that was really normal,” said Kogan. “My view is that I’m being basically used as a scapegoat by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.”

Cambridge Analytica

Lets get one thing straight before we go any further, CA could easily take the title of Department of Dirty Tricks. They are not the innocent data analysis firm they would have you believe.

According to the TheGuardian.com CA was caught bragging about using honey traps, fake news campaigns and operations with ex-spies to swing election campaigns around the world. CA executives were recorded on hidden camera by British news reporters talking about the dirty tricks they used to help clients.

CA CEO Alexander Nix was recorded telling reporters: “It sounds a dreadful thing to say, but these are things that don’t necessarily need to be true as long as they’re believed.” In addition Nix was known to refer to black clients as “niggers” in internal emails. Emails that were encrypted and programmed to self-destruct.

Nixon has since been suspended from the company and is under investigation.

Now if you want to know how dirty this whole thing gets a former employee of CA told CNN  former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon presided over a program at CA who’s purpose was collecting Facebook data to create voter profiles. CA was a prime data provider to the campaigns of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.  Trump political appointee, Kelly Rzendzian, also worked at Cambridge Analytica.

Now remember that the original number is still only 270,000 users. Cambridge Analytica took it to the next level by hiring workers on Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT). This platform allows gig workers, known as turkers, to complete small online tasks for near minimum wage or less. Turkers have been described as “volunteer slave labor.” CA hired these people to complete an online survey. According to the The Intercept’s investigation last year this system worked for Cambridge Analytica. Basically, Cambridge Analytica tricked turkers into a downloading a tool on Facebook that exposed both the worker, and their friends, in exchange for $1 or $2 to complete an online survey. According to the New York Times this trick was a massive success exposing over 50 million Facebook users to data collection.

Now back to Facebook. Andrew Zuckerberg’s company knew about this activity in 2015.  The Guardian reported in 2015 on Cambridge Analytica’s work on U.S. election campaigns. It revealed that the company drew on research “spanning tens of millions of Facebook users, harvested largely without their permission.” Kogan denied this was happening.

This was not a great concern for Facebook until 2015. That year Facebook updated its third-party API.  An API or application programming interface is just a piece of software that allows two software programs to talk to each other. Facebook moved to block access to the kind of massive data sets that Cambridge Analytica was collecting.  Although it drastically limited the data third party apps could access Facebook said nothing to users about the API misuse. Facebook also clamped down on any third-party app requesting more than the usual amount of data like public profile, list of friends, and email addresses from its users. But it all came too late.

After The Guardian published its article, Facebook demanded Global Science Research delete the data taken from Facebook users. Facebook has the right to delete data gathered by any app deemed to be “negatively impacting the platform.” Facebook believed that Kogan and SCL complied. They had not and no one from Facebook followed up.

Christopher Wylie

Christopher Wylie blew the lid off the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Wylie is being cheered for revealing how CA, according to the New York Times and the The Observer of London, of  improperly using and manipulating the Facebook data to influence elections. Wylie told the Observer “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons.” According to Wylie himself he was the gay Canadian vegan who somehow ended up creating “Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare mindfuck tool”.

Now you know.

 

Tax Season 2018 – The IRS is Checking Your Facebook Page

There are lot of ways that the IRS can figure out your income. In addition to your W-2 and 1099 the IRS also receives information from your bank and other financial institutions and your credit card company. 

According to Debt.com if something is not adding up then your information gets red flagged by a system called the Information Returns Processing system (IRP). This massive database can review  and compare your reported income against information from other third party sources. If there is a discrepancy the IRS is alerted for further investigation. Every year the IRS estimates the U.S. government misses out on hundreds of billions of tax dollars due to unreported income. With advances in technology they hope to collect at least some of that missing tax revenue. But did you know they gather information from Facebook, Twitter and your email?

Uncle Sam is checking Facebook.

People who love to post personal information to Facebook or Tweet may want to pay attention. These are rich sources of information and the IRS knows it. With all those billions going uncollected every year the IRS has stepped up its game and is now checking your social media accounts.  

The IRS started checking Facebook and Twitter pages in 2013 in order to gather information that could support a taxpayer audit. The IRS initially denied these reports.

In an interview with Inc.com Kevin P. McQuillan of  The McQuillan Group said the IRS has been quiet about checking social media. “When the IRS first mentioned utilizing social media, it created quite a stir, and in response to that, they came out and were very specific to say that they weren’t going to use emails without some authorization. However, they didn’t say anything about social media. The IRS has always had access to public information, such as what car you own, or what house you live in. In the past auditors have used the audit process to decide what information they will look into on a particular case. However, given recent cuts to the agency and the decreased number of auditors, they are now coming to audits with this information in hand.”

The IRS is using your Facebook posts to determine if you are lying to them about income or tax issues. For example did a businessman write off a family vacation as a business trip? Or is an employer spending lavishly while claiming his business is currently unprofitable? Its called over sharing and people do it all the time. The IRS is using online activity trackers to scan massive amounts of public Internet data for potentially incriminating information.

Businesses are not immune from the social media snooping by the IRS. If your company webpage shows off new equipment, vehicles, lavish parties or expounds on your growing business while at the same time being behind on payroll taxes or suspiciously claiming beneficial business write-offs you may have some questions to answer. Keep in mind that your employees may be sharing company information on Facebook or Twitter that reflects the state of your company’s finances. Historically the IRS has used tax returns to audit businesses.  Social media scanning shows that they are now becoming more sophisticated with its investigative tools. Be careful about over sharing on public and private platforms to avoid an nasty letter from Uncle Sam.

Is email private?

You’re thinking your emails are private right? The answer is probably not. In a 2017 report  Washington State University professors issued a report  on IRS data mining, The Use of Big Data Analytics by the IRS: Efficient Solutions or the End of Privacy as We Know It?,  found the IRS was reading taxpayer private emails without a warrant. According to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), IRS investigators can read everything in your email account except unopened emails or voicemails saved for 180 days or less. According to the report the 2011 IRS auditor’s training manual told investigators exactly how to do it. The IRS stopped this practice in response to a Senate Finance Committee request. However, the ECPA law has not been changed. So effectively the IRS has not broken the law nor is not barred from doing this again.

Now you know.

 

 

Tech Addiction is Real!

We have a problem. We are addicted to our technology. Its that feeling you get when you can’t find your cellphone? Or you can’t get your computer or tablet to connect to the Internet? Or when you have not checked your Facebook page in a few hours or days? Tech addiction is real!

Black parents make the mistake of permitting unsupervised use of technology by children and teens. Far too many parents, black and white, use phones and tablets to babysit young children and ignore a teenager who is constantly on his or her cellphone. That is the start of tech addiction in our children. According to Psychology Today troubling studies have connected delayed cognitive development in children with extended exposure to electronic media.

Apple, the most successful consumer tech company on earth is feeling the heat. Two of Apple’s biggest investors, controlling $2 billion in Apple shares, are pushing the company to curb growing smartphone addiction among children.   The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalsTRS)  and Jana Partners LLC, sent an open letter to Apple urging the company to take a  “defining role” in turning the tech industry’s attention toward the health and development of the next generation of tech users. The group said the move is “both good business and the right thing to do.”  In the letter the group said, “There is a developing consensus around the world, including Silicon Valley, that the potential long-term consequences of new technologies needs to be factored in at the outset, and no company can outsource that responsibility.”

According to a report from Common Sense Media 50 percent of teens age, 12 to 18, reported feeling addicted to their mobile devices. Fifty-nine percent of parents agreed their teens were addicted. 

The is most frightening fact about tech addiction is that designers and software developers intentionally designed these products to be as addictive as possible. A model they may have picked up from cigarette makers.

Tech and social media addiction works very much like any other addictive drug on the brain. When using chemical drugs the brain’s pleasure centers are stimulated causing the user to want more until the body becomes dependent on the drug to feel normal. Researchers at the UCLA brain mapping center performed tests on teens using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner to monitor brain activity when using social media. Researchers found certain regions of the brain became activated by “likes.” The fMRI scans revealed that the part of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens, or the brain’s reward circuitry, was especially stimulated when teens were shown that their photos received a high number of likes. Scientist believe that this could inspire them to use social media more often.

 

Apple’s chief design officer, Jony Ive, has admitted that using your iPhone too much could be considered “misuse.”

 

According to research by Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University, trends in teenage mental health began to appear in 2011 and 2012 as smartphones became  commonplace among teens.  “There was a doubling in the suicide rate and tripling in emergency room admissions of self-harm among young girls,” Twenge said. “And there was a 50 percent increase in the clinical depression rate.”

Social media addiction is another serious threat to mental health.  Tech executives and the people who practically invented social media have spoken out in recent months about the dangers and harmful effects of what has become an age of Internet junkies. This group of former Apple, Facebook and Google employees have banded together to form an anti-tech addiction coalition called the Center for Humane Technology.

Since 2014 the center has been working to raise awareness of tech addiction. Aptly named “The Truth About Tech,” the campaign is designed to educate parents, teachers and students about the harmful and addictive effects of technology. The coalition is especially focused on the endless hours teens and children spend with their eyes glued to a glowing screen. This obsession  can lead to to anxiety, depression, shortened attention spans, sleep deprivation and negatively affect a healthy social development of teens who are already in the grips of adolescent insecurity.

Social media addiction is not just a young person’s addiction. Far from it. Plenty of adults have become addicted to constant texting and wasting hours on Facebook. So much so that Facebook and social media has become a workplace issue. Employees have been found out and terminated for sexually harassing co-workers on social media, sharing company secrets or criticizing their supervisors. Not to mention wasting millions of hours annually.

According to research performed by CareerBuilder technology is the leading cause of lost productivity in the workplace. The poll revealed that 24 percent of workers admitted spending at least an hour a day on personal email, texts and personal calls. According to the poll the biggest time wasters are doing the following;

  • Talking on the cell phone and texting – 50%
  • Gossiping – 42%
  • On the Internet – 39%
  • On social media – 38%

Like all addictions it makes it way into the homes of those affected. According to Common Sense Media 36 percent of parents and teens argue about the use of technology. 

According to AddictionsExperts.com these are the symptoms of technology addiction;

  • The need to be on a piece of technology during all waking hours. An addict may even take a phone to bed at night, or use a mobile device while in the bathroom.
  • Talking incessantly about technology and spending copious amounts of money on the latest equipment. For technology addicts, having new technology is more important than paying the mortgage.
  • Using technology to avoid social situations. The technology addict may reduce the amount of time he or she deals with people by focusing on technology instead.
  • Playing games online for hours and hours, even if your family members and friends are begging you to stop. When you don’t play the games, you feel like you’re missing something.
  • Constantly checking social media pages for updates, as well as making updates about even mundane, day-to-day activities.
  • Feeling “left out” when technology isn’t available, and borrowing others’ devices to check in.

 

 

 

 

Congress, the Courts and Net Neutrality

The war for net neutrality has moved to the halls of Congress and the courtroom. Attorneys generals from 21 states and the District of Columbia have filed suit to overturn the FCC‘s new rules on net neutrality. But the battle is not just the states against the FCC. Technology companies and public interest groups have also filed law suits. Firefox browser maker Mozilla, the public-interest group Free Press and New America’s Open Technology Institute have all taken up the battle for net neutrality. Other major tech-industry companies including Facebook, Google and Netflix are getting in the fight along with other lobbying groups. 

The lawsuit, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was kicked off in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. The petition asks the court to overturn the the FCC’s decision claiming the rule is “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion” under the law. The suit also argues that the the FCC improperly reclassified broadband as a Title I information service, rather than a Title II service, because of  “an erroneous and unreasonable interpretation” of communications law. Title II services, also known as common carriers, are subject to greater regulation.

An example of a Title II service would be the U.S. Postal Service. The post office can’t deny service to people sending letters it disagrees with. Another example is the phone company. The phone company can’t refuse service to people based on their religious views. Everyone has the same right to pay to use the service. Until now ISPs were considered common carriers.

The lawsuits are a multi-faceted battle to preserve net-neutrality. In congress Democrats are working to undo the new rule. Democrats in the Senate announced that they were just one vote shy of winning a vote to restore Obama era net neutrality rules. All 49 Democrats have agreed to vote for the repeal of the new Internet regulations. On the Republican side Senator Susan Collins of Maine supports the action.  That leaves Democrats searching for the final Republican to cross the party line and join them. The idea is not so far fetched since the net neutrality issue is a hot button issue for young people and the mid-term elections are approaching.

“Given how quickly we have gotten 50, we have a real chance of succeeding,” said Senator minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York in a statement.

Even if the Democrats succeed in getting the votes the rules does not automatically change. The same bill would have to be introduced and passed in the House of Representatives. That body is controlled by the Republicans and House Speaker Paul Ryan could simply refuse to bring it to the floor for a vote.

Finally, there is Donald Trump. He has to sign the bill to reverse the FCC action. Although the White House has publicly said it supports the the FCC move Trump has never been sure what he wants to do about net neutrality.

According to his own tweets Trump was all in for net neutrality in 2014. Trump criticized Obama for attacking the Internet, and defended net neutrality as “the Fairness Doctrine.” Now that has changed and he is all for the new rules.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kenneth Chenault Joins Facebook

Kenneth Chenault

American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault has joined Facebook as its first African-American Board member. Chenault will officially join Facebook on February 5th after 16 years as AmEx CEO. 

Chenault, described by the Wall Street Journal as “one of the country’s most prominent African-American corporate leaders,” will become the first non-white member of Facebook’s board of directors. 

This move by Facebook is an effort  to address the diversity issues that face Silicon Valley. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer told the Congressional Black Caucus in October that Facebook would hire a black board member “in the foreseeable future.” 

Chenault has been a recruiting target for Facebook years according to Mark Zuckerberg. In a Facebook post Zuckerberg wrote, “I’ve been trying to recruit Ken for years. He has unique expertise in areas I believe Facebook needs to learn and improve, customer service, direct commerce, and building a trusted brand. Ken also has a strong sense of social mission and the perspective that comes from running an important public company for decades.”

Facebook, the worlds largest social network, is fighting to clean up its image when it comes to race. The company has faced withering criticism around its ethnic affinity marketing technology that allowed marketers to exclude minorities from ads related to housing. It is unclear how the Chenault hiring will impact this area.

 

 

Celebrity Cyber Report – Mo’Nique, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Kevin Durant

Oscar Winner Mo’Nique

Mo’Nique

Comedienne and actress Mo’Nique has called for a boycott against Netflix. According to the Oscar winning actress the streaming television service is guilty of gender and race-based pay inequities. Mo’Nique said she was offered $500,000 for a comedy special where white comedienne Amy Schumer was offered $11 million. Black comedian Dave Chappelle received $20 million for his three comedy specials . Mo’Nique said she challenged Netflix on the gap, but received contradictory answers. Mo’Nique said se was told by Netflix that  “we don’t go off resumés” when justifying her pay. But then  it reportedly defended Schumer’s revenue by citing her experience.

Mo’Nique also learned that she was not the only black female comedienne who may have been short changed by Netflix. According to a tweet from fellow comedienne Wanda Sykes Netflix offered her “less than half” of that $500,000 for a Netflix special. Mo’Nique hasn’t objected to the compensation Netflix offered other performers but is asking why the figures for her and Sykes were so much lower.

 

Jada Pinkett-Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith

Three generations of actress Jada Pinkett-Smith‘s family will join Facebook for a talk show that deals with social issues. Smith, her daughter Willow and mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris will come together to discuss their individual perspectives on various topics. According to Deadline, the inter-generational talk show will be executive produced by Pinkett-Smith along with Ellen Rakieten and Miguel Melendez. EntitledRed Table Talks the show was originally streamed in 2012 on the YouTube channel. 

 

NBA All Star Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

NBA superstar Kevin Durant is joining forces with YouTube to expand its sports content offerings. Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman have agreed to develop programming based on Durant and his fellow professional athletes under the umbrella of their Thirty Five Media video business.

After moving to the Bay Area to play for the Golden State Warriors Durant became interested in tech investments. He is not alone, teammate Andre Iguodala is another big tech investor. According to Kleiman, Durant became interested in YouTube after meeting YouTube executive Neal Mohan at the star’s 28th birthday party.

Durant’s YouTube channel is a fan favorite giving them documentary-style productions offering peeks into the life of an all-star professional basketball player. It also gives players a direct venue to interact with fans.  In less than a year, Durant’s channel has scored more than of 21 million views.

Durant told TechCrunch, “Outside of the incredible relationship that we’ve developed with the team at YouTube it’s a huge destination for video content where sports fans, including myself, spend a lot of time, and we really wanted to create content where fans are most likely to find and engage with it.”