making a few enemies
October 1, 2019

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's latest comments about Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) may very well make their way into her next campaign ad.

The Verge published leaked audio Tuesday from two meetings between Zuckerberg and Facebook employees over the summer, with the Facebook CEO at one point expressing some anxiety over a Warren presidency and predicting the company will have to sue her administration if she's elected. Warren has called for breaking up major tech companies.

"I mean, if she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge," Zuckerberg says. "And does that still suck for us? Yeah. I mean, I don't want to have a major lawsuit against our own government ... But look, at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight."

Zuckerberg also tells employees that he's "worried" someone will try to "break up our company," although he expresses confidence that Facebook will prevail in a legal challenge because "there is the rule of law."

This is only one piece of the two hours of audio The Verge obtained, which also includes Zuckerberg repeatedly joking that he would have been fired long ago if not for his total control over Facebook. "[Having voting control of the company] was important because, without that, there were several points where I would've been fired," Zuckerberg says. "For sure, for sure."

Warren has already seized on Zuckerberg's comments, hitting back on Twitter by writing, "What would really 'suck' is if we don't fix a corrupt system that lets giant companies like Facebook engage in illegal anticompetitive practices, stomp on consumer privacy rights, and repeatedly fumble their responsibility to protect our democracy." Brendan Morrow

March 21, 2019

Facebook is in hot water once again.

The social media giant on Thursday acknowledged having stored hundreds of millions of user passwords in plain text when they should have been encrypted. This followed a report from journalist Brian Krebs on Facebook not encrypting passwords, which said this has been happening "in some cases going back to 2012."

Krebs quoted a Facebook source as saying "between 200 million and 600 million" users have been affected by this. In a blog post, Facebook didn't provide an exact number but said it would notify "hundreds of millions" of affected Facebook Lite users, as well as "tens of millions" of other Facebook users and "tens of thousands" of Instagram users.

These unencrypted passwords were searchable in a database that could be accessed by 20,000 Facebook employees, Krebs reports. Facebook says it discovered this during a security review in January but found "no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed the passwords."

This is only the latest bit of bad press for the scandal-plagued Facebook, which The New York Times reported last week is under criminal investigation over deals made with other companies over its user's data. Facebook told the Times it is "cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously." After the company's Thursday revelations, the Times' Mike Isaac quoted a Facebook employee as saying, "working at Facebook is like living the Sideshow Bob stepping on rakes GIF." Brendan Morrow

February 18, 2019

Facebook should be subject to new regulations so that it can not be allowed to behave like "digital gangsters," a U.K. parliamentary committee's report has concluded.

A report from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which was issued Monday after an 18-month investigation, said that the social media giant "intentionally and knowingly" violated data privacy and competition laws, The New York Times and CNN report.

The committee had examined Facebook's internal emails as part of the investigation, and it recommends a watchdog be set up for the technology industry, as well as for Facebook and other companies to be legally compelled to remove harmful content.

"Companies like Facebook should not be allowed to behave like 'digital gangsters' in the online world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law," the report reads, CNN reports. The report also criticizes CEO Mark Zuckerberg, saying he showed "contempt" for the committee by refusing to appear before them and accusing Facebook of deliberately sending witnesses who weren't briefed on key issues.

Facebook expressed openness to "meaningful regulation," the Times reports. Brendan Morrow

December 19, 2018

Facebook's week has gone from bad to worse.

Following a report that the social media giant gave more than 150 companies special access to users' personal information, Facebook is being sued by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, writes The Washington Post. This is over a different privacy scandal: the revelations earlier this year that a political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, improperly accessed users' personal information.

A source told the Post that the lawsuit will likely be amended to take into account the other privacy issues that have come to light since then, and that several states are pursuing their own investigations.

Racine confirmed the Post's report in a statement, saying the suit is about "making Facebook live up to its promise to protect its users' privacy.”

Facebook has not yet responded, but the Post notes that this is the first example of U.S. regulatory action being taken against the company since the scandal was first reported, although there's also a federal investigation underway. CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to users when he testified before Congress in October, telling lawmakers, "It was my mistake, and I'm sorry." Facebook just recently revealed that a bug also gave some apps access to photos that users had not publicly shared; this affected up to 6.8 million users. "We're sorry this happened," Facebook said. Brendan Morrow

December 5, 2018

It appears the fallout from Facebook's year of scandal has hurt employees' morale.

After topping Glassdoor's list of best places to work for 2018, Facebook fell dramatically to seventh place in the newly-released 2019 ranking. The company's overall score dropped from 4.6 to 4.5 out of five, marking the first time Facebook's score has declined since 2015, CNBC reports. LinkedIn now ranks above Facebook, as does Zoom Video Communications, which earned second place. Sitting at number one on the list this year is Bain & Company, a management consulting company.

Glassdoor bases its ranking on a number of factors, but if you just look at Facebook's employee satisfaction, the decline is more significant, per CNBC. In the first quarter of 2018, Facebook's employee satisfaction rating was at 4.6. But now, at the end of the year, it's at 4.3. Google also fell in the ranks compared to last year, although it only dropped three spots compared to Facebook's six, now coming in at number eight. Apple and Microsoft, meanwhile, moved up the list.

Facebook's 2018 has been a public relations disaster, starting with revelations in May that a political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, had improperly gained access to users' private information. The New York Times reported recently that the company knew about Russian interference on its platform before it let on, and that it hired a lobbying firm to attack critics by linking them to liberal billionaire George Soros.

Glassdoor's findings fit in with a Wall Street Journal report from last month that employee morale has taken a hit at Facebook, with "several key measures of internal sentiment taking a sharp turn for the worse over the past year." Brendan Morrow

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