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As the frenzy leading up to Facebook‘s initial public offering heats up, a rumor is rumbling that the social network is angry with Morgan Stanley (MS).
According to Fox business reporter Charlie Gasparino, Facebook is upset that the bank was allegedly blabbing that it was close to securing the lead underwriting role in the social network’s much-anticipated IPO, a spot that many pundits figured would go to rival Goldman Sachs (GS). Gasparino isn’t revealing his source, and a spokesman for Morgan Stanley couldn’t be be reached.
Facebook is expected to file papers for an initial public offering this week. Indications are that the IPO will suggest the company is worth $75 billion to $100 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The offering, which could raise as much as $10 billion, has been hotly anticipated as a defining moment for the latest Web investing boom.
Post continues below.
Gasparino’s account has appeared in many stories about the IPO, and a little context is in order. According to the Journal, Goldman Sachs topped its IPO Lead Bookrunner ranking with $11.29 billion in 2011, edging out Morgan Stanley with $10.11 billion. A difference of a $1 billion may seem like a lot to most people, but on Wall Street, it is basically a rounding error.
Obviously, leading the Facebook IPO would be a huge coup for whichever bank gets it. Not only is it a coup monetarily, but the offering will also be a public-relations bonanza for years. It’s no wonder rich executives fight like school kids to make sure credit is given where it’s due.
It’s widely believed that companies don’t comment on “rumors or speculation.” While officially that may be true, unofficially the masters of the universe and the publicists who work for them talk to Gasparino and other members of the elite business press all the time.
Publicity to some big shots on Wall Street is as addictive as heroin. There is a whole network of public-relations firms in New York and London that enable them to engage in this behavior with no consequences, since the information is always provided to the media anonymously. It is a win for Wall Street and the press. The losers are investors who may not realize that they are getting spun.
Jonathan Berr is a freelance business writer. He owns no stocks listed in this story.
Facebook’s IPO filing is reportedly imminent — and rumors are swirling about how much the social network led by Mark Zuckerberg is is worth.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — A long list of tech IPOs captured attention in 2011, but no company has been drooled over like Facebook. And finally, its debut looks to be imminent.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Facebook may file for an initial public offering as early as this Wednesday. It’s still not certain if Facebook will actually file this week.
But that hasn’t stopped people from speculating about how much Facebook might be worth.
Some experts have suggested that the social network could be worth anywhere between $75 billion and $100 billion once it starts trading. No matter what the valuation Facebook’s IPO is undeniably hot, says Max Wolff, chief economist at GreenCrest Capital.
He expects Facebook will be valued at $85 billion to $100 billion, and that the company will sell about 8.5% to 10% of its available shares in the offering. Based on those estimates, Facebook would raise between $7.2 billion and $10 billion from the sale of its stock.
But there’s a lot more riding on Facebook’s paperwork than wealth creation. The social network has become an entire ecosystem, supporting independent app makers and gaming platforms like Zynga ().
Facebook’s filing will have implications for companies that depend on it, as well as the social media landscape at large. Until then, analysts are left to speculate about Facebook’s revenue streams and profitability — and whether it really deserves a $100 billion market value.
Michael Pachter, a research analyst at Wedbush Securities, says the rumored valuation range is reasonable — though he won’t cite a specific estimate of his own.
How Facebook makes money — and could make more: The vast majority of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising: a combination of search and display ads. And the sales growth is incredibly robust.
Research firm eMarketer estimated last September that Facebook’s ad revenue would more than double in 2011 to $3.8 billion and increase another 52% to $5.78 billion in 2012.
Facebook has grown by grabbing market share from Google and Yahoo. Last year Facebook comprised 16.3% of the so-called display (i.e. banners and other graphical ads) market, eMarketer estimates — compared with Yahoo’s (Fortune 500) 13.1% and Google’s ( , Fortune 500) 9.3%.,
Martin Pyykkonen, analyst at Wedge Partners, says Facebook is highly appealing to advertisers because about two-thirds of its users fall into the coveted age demographic of 18-49. He thinks Facebook’s ad targeting will become even more effective over time.
“The ‘Like’ button option is a basic example of targeting,” Pyykkonen wrote in a note to clients Monday. “[It's] likely that advertisers will be able to even better target their audiences as Facebook goes deeper with integrating apps, games, movies, music.”
Facebook’s other revenue stream is its payment system for purchases within apps and games: Facebook Credits. Facebook keeps 30% of the revenue from those payments, and passes the remaining 70% on to the app developer.
Facebook Credits now comprises 10% of the company’s total revenue, up from 5% in early 2010, Pyykkonen estimates.
Those estimates will soon be backed up — or refuted — by hard numbers from Facebook. Once its IPO filing does finally land, it will help answer questions about the overall social media market.
“People are extrapolating outcomes into an environment that’s hungry for missing details,” said Wolff. “It’s like all the guys in the class spreading rumors about the prettiest girl in the school.”
Technology – SCITECH
Published January 30, 2012
| Associated Press
Twitter has embraced censorship, many fear — and the world’s most repressive regimes are applauding the move.
The short-messaging service announced on Thursday what it called a commitment to free speech, a technology update that allows it to censor messages on a country-by-country basis. The move had Internet users up in arms over the weekend, with many joining in a Twitter “blackout.”
But it’s earning applause in countries that endorse censorship.
“It is impossible to have boundless freedom, even on the Internet,” read an editorial published Monday on the website of state-run Chinese newspaper Global Times. “Twitter might have … already realized the fact and made a choice between being an idealistic political tool as many hope and following pragmatic commercial rules as a company.”
The so-called “Great Firewall of China” is widely described as a black eye on Internet freedom. And China was not alone.
Technology minister Anudith Nakornthap said Monday in an article in the Thai newspaper Bangkok Post that the new policy was a “constructive” development. The Southeast Asian country routinely blocks websites with content deemed offensive to the Thai monarchy.
Anudith said it was good that Twitter “felt responsible to cooperate with governments to make sure basic rights are not violated through the use of social media.”
Thailand’s task force that monitors anti-monarchy content has blocked 1,156 websites since December.
Twitter has been a tool of free speech and dissent around the world and its policy change last week ignited global outrage. The U.S. State Department credited Twitter with being upfront about the policy but reserved comment otherwise.
Twitter sees the censorship tool as a way to ensure that individual messages, or tweets, remain available to as many people as possible while it navigates a gauntlet of different laws around the world.
Before, when Twitter erased a tweet it disappeared throughout the world. Now, a tweet containing content breaking a law in one country can be taken down there and still be seen elsewhere.
Twitter will post a censorship notice whenever a tweet is removed. That’s similar to what Internet search leader Google Inc. has been doing for years when a law in a country where its service operates requires a search result to be removed.
Meanwhile, foreign dissidents and activists fear the new policy will stifle free speech and are threatening an ongoing boycott of Twitter, reported the Los Angeles Times.
“Is it safe to say that Twitter is selling us out?” asked Egyptian activist Mahmoud Salem.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
In a blog post late last week, Twitter announced plans to begin censoring users’ tweets within certain countries. The censorship policy, which the company has stated is reactive only, will not filter tweets before they appear on Twitter. Instead, after Twitter receives what they view as a valid and applicable legal request concerning a specific tweet that has already been published, they will then make that tweet unavailable to users within specific countries.
Twitter said the following regarding the necessity of the new censorship feature and policy:
“Until now, the only way we could take account of those countries’ limits was to remove content globally. Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country — while keeping it available in the rest of the world.”
Olivier Basille, a free speech advocate and the director for Reporters without Borders, encouraged Twitter to reconsider the implications of the decision:
“By finally choosing to align itself with the censors, Twitter is depriving cyber dissidents in repressive countries of a crucial tool for information and organization. Are you going to block tweets about the demands of Turkey’s Kurdish minority? Will Russian Internet users see their criticisms of the government censored?”
Although Twitter did not respond directly to Basille’s criticism, the company did say that they will only censor tweets if they receive a valid request from an “authorized entity” and after a tweet is removed they will notify the tweet’s author.
While the Twitter censorship policy is controversial and has many outspoken critics, the new policy is similar to the policies of other large technology companies. For example, Google works with local authorities to determine if content violates local laws and if they determine that the content violates the local law, Google removes the content and notifies future visitors that it was removed due to an official take-down request.
Twitter, which has over 100 million active accounts and in excess of 250 million daily tweets, has publicly said that they believe the new censorship policy will result in a higher level of freedom of expression and transparency than they have been able to provide in the past.
Article source: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/twitter-censorship/39446/
“Twitter is like a backstage pass to a concert,” says Jason Hennessey, CEO of Everspark Interactive, a tech-based marketing agency in Atlanta. “You could send a tweet to Justin Bieber 10 minutes before the concert, and there’s a chance he might tweet you back.”
A few teens use it as a platform to share opinions, keeping their accounts public for all the world to see, as many adults do.
Taylor Smith, a 14-year-old in St. Louis, is one who uses Twitter to monitor the news and to get her own “small points across.” Recently, that has included her dislike for strawberry Pop Tarts and her admiration for a video that features the accomplishments of young female scientists.
She started tweeting 18 months ago after her dad opened his own account. He gave her his blessing, though he watches her account closely.
“Once or twice I used bad language and he never let me hear the end of it,” Smith says. Even so, she appreciates the chance to vent and to be heard and thinks it’s only a matter of time before her friends realize that Twitter is the cool place to be — always an important factor with teens.
They need to “realize it’s time to get in the game,” Smith say, though she notes that some don’t have smart phones or their own laptops — or their parents don’t want them to tweet, feeling they’re too young.
Pam Praznik, Britteny’s mother, keeps track of her daughter’s Facebook accounts. But Britteny asked that she not follow her on Twitter — and her mom is fine with that, as long as the tweets remain between friends.
“She could text her friends anyway, without me knowing,” mom says.
Marwick at Microsoft thinks that’s a good call.
“Parents should kind of chill and give them that space,” she says.
Still, teens and parents shouldn’t assume that even locked accounts are completely private, says Ananda Mitra, a professor of communication at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.
Online privacy, he says, is “mythical privacy.”
Certainly, parents are always concerned about online predators — and experts say they should use the same common sense online as they do in the outside world when it comes to dealing with strangers and providing too much personal information.
But there are other privacy issues to consider, Mitra says.
Someone with a public Twitter account might, for instance, retweet a posting made on a friend’s locked account, allowing anyone to see it. It happens all the time.
And on a deeper level, he says those who use Twitter and Facebook — publicly or privately — leave a trail of “digital DNA” that could be mined by universities or employers, law enforcement or advertisers because it is provided voluntarily.
Mitra has coined the term “narb” to describe the narrative bits people reveal about themselves online — age, gender, location and opinions, based on interactions with their friends.
So true privacy, he says, would “literally means withdrawing” from textual communication online or on phones — in essence, using this technology in very limited ways.
He realizes that’s not very likely, the way things are going — but he says it is something to think about when interacting with friends, expressing opinions or even “liking” or following a corporation or public figure.
But Marwick at Microsoft still thinks private accounts pose little risk when you consider the content of the average teenager’s Twitter account.
“They just want someplace they can express themselves and talk with their friends without everyone watching,” she says.
Much like teens always have.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
As AllThingsD.com wrote two weeks ago it would be — Facebook is close to filing its documents for a long expected public offering that is on track take place in late May.
The Wall Street Journal said last week the filing would come Wednesday, although sources said that timing could shift a day or even two later, as the social networking site readies the IPO prospectus it will file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
But here’s one thing that’s clearly on its way for the much anticipated Facebook IPO: There will be no lack of media hype, elaborate obfuscation by rivals and a plethora of inaccurate hoo-ha that is about to be unleashed upon the world, related to the financial transaction that is expected to be one of the biggest deals in tech in a while.
(I’d imagine that the crafty Google+ peeps are now hard at work on a list of trouble it could make for Facebook during its quiet period.)
In that spirit — via what I am calling the Facebook (Eye)PO Tracker — I’ll be shining some much needed light on some of the hijinks, if I can, going back to stories to see how close they were to reality.
To begin, let’s start with the many reports last week about the delay in the clearing of Facebook share trades on private markets that linked the action to the upcoming IPO.
Although I like conspiracies as much as anyone — not so. To begin, this has happened to Facebook previously, so it is not as unusual as had been reported. And, sources added, this time the temporary hold on private market trades waiting to be approved was simply due to a software upgrade at its law firm at Fenwick West.
On deck for this week for later checking will two stories now making the rounds: Facebook’s reported $100 billion valuation; its ticker symbol and market; and which big investment bank will get the coveted “lead left” underwriting spot in the IPO.
As to the first, which everyone and their mother is repeating, sources tell me that the number will be lower that $100 billion figure being thrown around.
Extra points to the Journal, which has hedged its bet with an impossible-to-be-wrong, covering-all-bases $75 billion to $100 billion guess, a range you can actually drive a truck through.
The ticker symbol and where Facebook lives — Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange — will be interesting too. A bulks of the reports indicate that it will be FB on the Nasdaq.
I was hoping it would be FACE, but that is already taken by Physicians Formula Holdings. Here’s a cute story on some ideas, including: SOCL (taken), GEEK (taken) and LIKE and FRND (not taken!).
As to the third, reports pretty much cast the banker selection as some sort of romantic soap opera. In one report by CNBC, Facebook’s apparently angry at Morgan Stanley for leaking info about the IPO and might bolt; in others, it’s Facebook pissed at Goldman Sachs for screwing up a previous private investment placement.
We’ll see, but I’d expect Facebook to go where it gets the strongest retail coverage (Morgan Stanley). In any case, both banks will be well represented.
Tune in for more action — including how big Facebook’s business actually turns out to be compared to what’s been speculated. With real numbers about to released, anybody’s guess will no longer be that.
It’s all change at Facebook in the next few weeks as its timeline feature is rolled out to all users – whether they want it or not.
This will make it easier for people to dig into your past from your homepage in an unprecedented manner. Pull up someone’s profile with Timeline enabled and you can scroll back through their entire Facebook history. Click on a year (say, 2008) and you can see everything they did in those 12 months, including status updates, photos, and wall posts.
After Timeline is enabled (you can request it before it is automatically rolled out), you have seven days to review and edit your profile before it goes live to the world – but this is a positive security step you need to take. The default position is that Timeline will lay bare your Facebook history.
Does this matter from an employment point of view? Well, yes it does. Numerous surveys have shown that employers are using Facebook and other social media sites to vet job applicants. In January 2010, a survey for Careerbuilder.co.uk found that more than half of employers used social networking sites to research job candidates. As the sites have become more popular, the chances are that percentage could have grown.
Imagine your prospective employer uncovers elements of your past through a social media search that show you in a less colourful light than you would wish to be seen. There may be photos of you in a drunken stupor, or ones that identify you as being affiliated to an organisation that does not fit with the employer’s ethos
It is your prospective employer’s subjective opinion that you are dealing with. If they happen to interpret information or photos you have posted in a certain way, and reject your application, how will you ever know what the decision was really based on?
One could argue that such vetting is entirely justified from an employer’s point of view. Many background checks are already in place before the hiring process begins. Shouldn’t employers do as much as they can to protect their legitimate business interests?
On the other hand, such an approach arguably represents an unfair intrusion into people’s private lives. Indeed, in the last few years the German government has moved to make it illegal for employers to use personal social networks such as Facebook as part of their recruitment process. Job-seekers in Germany have the right to take legal action if they discover they have lost out on a position due to the employer basing their decision on information from Facebook.
Whilst in the UK you do have rights under the Data Protection Act to protect the processing of your personal information, it is unlikely that an employer viewing a personal social media site without printing it off or forwarding it would be caught by the Act. With Linkedin, which is a professional networking site, it can easily be argued that your profile is highly relevant to the recruitment process.
Employers have to be careful not to discriminate (on grounds of disability, race, sex) in the use of information they gather. They will be laying themselves open to claims if discrimination can be proven and this applies to prospective candidates as well as existing employees. ACAS recently issued a new guide that urges employers not to be “heavy-handed” by penalising existing staff for unprofessional comments on websites.
Let’s not forget that your Facebook profile could show you up in a more positive light and sway your employer to offer you a job. A candidate who comes across as shy and retiring at interview but is able to present their “real self” online could find this acts as an extended CV, especially if their blogs are well-written and show positive interests – whether the employer agrees with them or not.
But if you don’t want Facebook’s Timeline to broadcast your personal history to the world (whether you are a job applicant or an existing employee), make sure you get your privacy settings right. You can hardly blame employers from taking a snoop otherwise.
• Philip Landau is an employment lawyer with Landau Zeffertt Weir solicitors
Social network Facebook will soon become a publicly-listed company, valued at $75-100 billion, Sky News reported on Monday.
According to the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, Facebook plans to file papers with the US financial watchdog on Wednesday.
flotation later this year would raise around $10 billion, making it one of the biggest share sales ever on Wall Street.
Rumours of Facebook’s initial public offering (IPO) have been circulating for months.
“Facebook a brilliant achievement, but $75-$100bn? Would make Apple look really cheap,” wrote Rupert Murdoch on Twitter.
The company was started by Mark Zuckerberg and fellow students at Harvard University in 2004. It has over 800 million users and makes most of its money through advertising.
Thailand has become the first government to publicly endorse Twitter’s controversial decision to censor messages in certain countries.
Twitter announced last week it would permit country-specific censorship of content that could violate local laws, prompting debate worldwide over freedom of speech.
In Thailand, where censorship laws are already heavily enforced, the information and communication technology minister, Jeerawan Boonperm, called Twitter’s decision a “welcome development” and said the ministry already received “good co-operation” from internet companies such as Google and Facebook.
The Thai government would soon be contacting Twitter to “discuss ways in which they can collaborate”, she told the Bangkok Post.
In China, the state-run Global Times also endorsed the new rules in an article on Monday: “It is impossible to have boundless freedom, even on the internet and even in countries that make freedom their main selling point,” it said.
Twitter is blocked in China, but many users access the site by accessing external networks.
According to the regulations, a tweet from Thailand could be blocked at the request of an individual, a company, or the government. However, while it will be invisible to users in Thailand, the tweet can still be seen by users in other countries.
Thailand has some of the toughest censorship laws in the world, ranking it 153 out of 178 in Reporters Without Borders’ 2011 Press Freedom Index. Thailand’s lese-majeste regulations inhibit defamatory, insulting or threatening comments about the royal family, which are punishable by up to 15 years in prison, but under Thailand’s 2007 computer crimes act prosecutors have been able to increase sentences.
Last year, a 61-year-old Thai national was jailed for 20 years for sending defamatory text messages about the monarchy, while a Thai-US citizen received a two-and-a-half year prison sentence for translating a banned biography of the king.
While the information ministry has blocked thousands of websites in recent years – mostly related to online gambling, pornography and lese-majeste cases – Monday’s endorsement comes at a time of heightened tension over censorship rules.
A lese-majeste monitoring centre was opened in December and is manned 24 hours a day by staff trawling the net for offensive material. Facebook users already face potential jail time if they click “like” or “share” on any sites deemed offensive to the monarchy, while anyone sending a link, forwarding or revisiting websites with lese-majeste content also need beware, authorities have said.
Despite open and repeated calls for relaxed censorship laws, Yingluck Shinawatra last week said the monarchy should be respected and vowed to “protect the institution, not exploit it”.
Thailand’s endorsement on Monday could have profound ramifications across the region, said Sunai Phasuk of Human Rights Watch Thailand, while it already “adds more damage to an already worrying trend in Thailand”.
“Twitter gives space to different opinions and views, and that is so important in a restricted society – it gives people a chance to speak up,” he said. “But if this censorship is welcomed by Thailand, then other countries, with worse records for human rights and freedom of speech, will find that they have an ally.”