Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak releasing his own mobile app — Propaganda tool to crush opposition? Investment in “Prime Minister for Life”

October 14, 2016


When Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak announced he was releasing his own mobile app, social media was abuzz with concerns that installing ‘Najib Razak’ on their phones would result in their data being abused.

Another concern was the identity of the app’s mysterious developer, Resonate Digital.

For instance, who owns this company? How much funds did it receive to develop ‘Najib Razak’? How much did ‘Najib Razak’ cost? Was the project awarded to it through open bidding?

So many questions, yet so little information available.

A quick Internet search reveals that the company has no website nor office number available online.

A check on the Commission of Company Malaysia’s records shows that Resonate Digital Sdn Bhd was established in January 2014.

In “nature of business”, it wrote: “Principally engaged in the management, administration, development, control, supervision, and marketing of web management and communication strategies solutions.”

The company has two directors: Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, 40, is, interestingly, a special officer in the Prime Minister Department; Har Kok Kit, 47, is a former senior executive in Astro.

According to the balance sheet dated April 30, 2015, the company has RM8,920 current assets and RM8,839 in liabilities.

Shrouded in mystery

Filled with doubt and buzzing with questions, Malaysiakini went to the ground to check this company out.

The company is located at the PJ Trade Centre – a modern, industrial-style office area surrounded by lush green landscape, nestled at the entrance of Damansara Perdana and visible from the Damansara-Puchong Expressway.

The upscale office building, resplendent with tall glass windows and exposed brick walls, comes complete with a fitness centre and a coffee lounge, and also houses listed company MMC-Gamuda.

Visitors who wish to take the lift to Resonate Digital’s office must first register with their IC at the security counter. Walking out from the lift, the company’s name is prominently displayed on the wall.

During this reporter’s visit, the door to the office was ajar, as someone was about to leave, so entering the premises to speak to the receptionist was not too difficult.

A staff soon approached, and, upon learning the purpose of the visit, said the company was reluctant to be interviewed.

A ‘person-in-charge’ joined the conversation as well; asked about the cost of the application and number of downloads, he refused to answer, saying such information was “internal”.

He only revealed that the company had its own team to develop the application.

Asked if he felt it was inappropriate that Amhari, as a PMO special officer, was given the project from the prime minister, he begged to differ.

“This is the PM’s personal app,” he said.

He also revealed that Amhari was not based in the office.

Just as this reporter was about to take a picture of the company name outside the office before leaving, one staff came out and requested not to do so.

“Otherwise people will come and disturb our work,” she said politely.

Concerns over cost

On Wednesday, Najib announced on Facebook that his application would give users the latest updates of his exclusive live features, as well as broadcast his activities and programmes.

But to install the application, users will need to provide the app access to their photos, media and files found on the device.

The privacy policy states information obtained from users will be shared with “employees and vendors who are engaged by or working with” the Najib Razak app team to complete commissioned work.

It logs IP address and user location, but does not gather personal information, the policy states.

DAP’s Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim has expressed concern over the cost to build the application, and who foot the bill.

He said this is especially since Najib released a similar app called ‘Najib Razak 1Malaysia’ in 2011, which is now no longer available for download.

In any case, anyone wary of the app’s privacy policy can always turn to Najib’s numerous social media accounts for updates on the prime minister.

Apart from his Twitter and Facebook accounts, he also has a personal website, which usually posts lengthy articles about his activities and views on current affairs.

Read more:


Najib: National unity under attack from two individuals

FMT Reporters | October 14, 2016

Prime Minister Najib Razak warns of next phase of attacks against government following reconciliation between ‘former opposition leader’ and ‘former leader’.

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Najib Razak spoke of two individuals “threatening our national unity in two phases” over the past eight years, in his latest blog post.

The PM said the first phase started in 2008 with the first individual, the then opposition leader, playing up racial issues, while the second phase, took off this year with the second individual, a former leader, launching a new Malay party.

Though Najib did not mention any names, it was an obvious reference to former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“In 2008, the opposition leader tried to challenge the constitution, making a political issue out of the rights accorded to all races, simply to get more votes.

“There had never been any dispute with the constitution before and people of all races and religions had lived in harmony all this while,” Najib said, adding that as a result of the opposition leader’s actions, the 12th General Election was dictated by racial issues and it has remained since.

According to Najib, the second individual started the second phase this year, by disrupting the unity of the Malays.

“This former leader formed a new political party for the Malays, and this has caused an even bigger fracture within the community

“Our political strength has now been diluted with the presence of five different Malay parties,” Najib said, most likely referring to Mahathir’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, which joins Umno, PAS, PKR and Amanah as parties with a majority, if not exclusive, Malay-Muslim representation.

The PM added that the actions of the second individual had also further eroded the already weakened national unity.

“His actions, together with the opposition calling for protest rallies behind the veil of projecting a ‘bipartisan’ and ‘multiracial’ image, are merely to attack the democratically-elected ruling government.

“He is even willing to work with the ruling party in Penang, who are known to have corrupt practices,” Najib said alluding to DAP.

Najib added that it was more regrettable that the former leader was willing to be used by those wanting to divide the people, using rallies to attack the government the same way his (former leader) own administration was attacked before.

Acknowledging the continuing threat to the Barisan Nasional government, Najib said “these two leaders have now reconciled, and we can only guess what they will do to our country in Phase Three.”

Google, Facebook team on undersea cable to Hong Kong

October 12, 2016


© AFP/File | Google and Facebook are working with Pacific Light Data Communication Company and with undersea communications technology firm TE SubCom on a high-capacity internet cable that will run from Los Angeles to Hong Kong

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Google and Facebook on Wednesday announced plans to work with a China Soft Power Holdings subsidiary to connect Los Angeles and Hong Kong with a high-capacity internet cable.

The Pacific Light Cable Network will stretch 12,800 kilometers (8,000 miles), crossing beneath the Pacific Ocean in a first-of-its-kind direct connection between the two locations, according to companies involved with the project.

PLCN is expected to handle some 120 terabytes of data per second, enough capacity to enable 80 million high-definition video conference calls simultaneously between Los Angeles and Hong Kong, said Google network infrastructure director Brian Quigley.

Google and Facebook are working with Pacific Light Data Communication Company and with undersea communications technology firm TE SubCom on the cable, which was scheduled to be ready in mid 2018, according to a joint release.

“PLCN will be among the lowest-latency fiber optic routes between Hong Kong and the US and the first to connect directly using ultra-high-capacity transmission,” PLDC chairman Wei Junkang said.

“It is certainly gratifying that global technology companies like Google and Facebook have become co-investors in PLCN.”

Most Pacific subsea cables stretch from the US to Japan, according to Facebook vice president of network engineering Najam Ahmad.

“As the number of people using Facebook apps and services continues to grow in the region, PLCN will help further connect Asia and our data centers in the US,” Ahmad said.

“This new direct route will give us more diversity and resiliency in the Pacific.”

– Cables to Clouds –

Lifestyles increasingly centered on access to cloud-based online services as well as to video, pictures and other content on the internet have increased the need for infrastructure capable of quickly and efficiently moving digital data.

PLCN will be the sixth submarine cable in which Google has an ownership stake, according to Quigley. The US internet giant claimed to have the “largest network backbone of any public cloud provider.”

Microsoft and Facebook early this year teamed together to lay a high-speed Internet cable across the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

The subsea “MAREA” cable was expected to be completed by late 2017, with the aim of meeting growing demand by the tech companies’ customers for fast, reliable data connections.

MAREA was expected to have a capacity of some 160 terabytes per second of data, according to the companies.

The 6,600 kilometer cable system will also be the first connecting the United States and southern Europe, running from Northern Virginia to Bilbao, Spain, Microsoft and Facebook said.

America’s Dazzling Tech Boom Has a Downside: Not Enough Jobs — Technology widens the income gap — Not much of a national discussion on what Americans will do in the future to make money…

October 12, 2016

The discontent driving Donald Trump’s campaign stems partly from the dashed employment promises of the late 1990s; $7-an-hour robots

Thee technology revolution has delivered Google searches, Facebook friends, iPhone apps, Twitter rants and shopping for almost anything on Amazon, all in the past decade and a half.

What it hasn’t delivered are many jobs. Google’s Alphabet Inc. and Facebook Inc. had at the end of last year a total of 74,505 employees, about one-third fewer than Microsoft Corp. even though their combined stock-market value is twice as big. Photo-sharing service Instagram had 13 employees when it was acquired for $1 billion by Facebook in 2012.

Hiring in the computer and chip sectors dove after companies shifted hardware production outside the U.S., and the newest tech giants needed relatively few workers. The number of technology startups fizzled. Growth in productivity and wages slowed, and income inequality rose as machines replaced routine, low- and middle-income, human-powered work.

Technology Booms, But Not For American Workers

After rising in the 1990s, employment at computer and electronic firms has fallen by more than 40%, though a smaller number of jobs has been created in other tech sectors.

This outcome is a far cry from what many political leaders, tech entrepreneurs and economists predicted about a generation ago. In 2000, President Bill Clinton said in his last State of the Union address: “America will lead the world toward shared peace and prosperity and the far frontiers of science and technology.” His economic team trumpeted “the ferment of rapid technological change” as one of the U.S. economy’s “principal engines” of growth.

The gap between what the tech boom promised and then delivered is another source of the rumbling national discontent that powered the rise this year of political outsiders Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

The tech-powered disappointment is subtler than the anger caused by the crushing impact of China’s import invasion and the perceived failures of government institutions like the Federal Reserve in guiding the economy. Instead, it stems from the idea that Americans expected larger economic gains from these amazing new machines and the companies that created them, not a widening between the haves and have-nots.

“There is a growing sense of frustration that people haven’t seen the progress that their parents and grandparents did,” says Erik Brynjolfsson, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist whose work has chronicled how technology widens the income gap between rich and poor. “That frustration spills into the political arena.”

In 1997, Time magazine named computer-chip maker Intel Corp. ’s chief executive, Andrew S. Grove, who died in March 2016, as “Man of the Year.” Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos won in 1999. Companies spent billions of dollars reprogramming their computers for the Year 2000 bug, and profitless dot-com startups won giant valuations from optimistic investors.

The bursting of the dot-com bubble in early 2000, the recession in 2001 and deepening globalization proved to be turning points for the tech economy and its broader impact on American prosperity.

U.S. tech companies accelerated the reshuffling of their supply networks to China and elsewhere in Asia, places filled with growth potential and cheap labor. Hardware makers concentrated production overseas to supply U.S. and foreign computer makers.

Apple made early iMac computers in California but then shifted most of the company’s production to outside the U.S., including assemblers in China.PHOTOS: HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES; THOMAS LEE/BLOOMBERG NEWS

After rising through the 1990s, total employment at computer and electronic firms in the U.S. sank to 1.03 million in August 2016 from 1.87 million in 2001, according to Labor Department statistics. Employment at semiconductor makers fell by half to 359,000 in the same period.

In the 1990s, Micron Technology Inc. was a successful example of how far the tech industry reached beyond its nexus in Silicon Valley. Based in Boise, Idaho, Micron was founded by Idaho farmers and businessmen, including the late billionaire J.R. Simplot, who supplied McDonald’s Corp. with most of its frozen french fries and had “MR SPUD” license plates on his pickup truck.

Micron’s workforce quadrupled to 18,800 between 1994 and 2000, with the growth overwhelmingly in the U.S. The company fought with Japan in the 1980s to restrict imported memory chips and protect its U.S. base.

These days, Micron is a case study in how technology companies have exported jobs to other countries. As of 2013, the most recently disclosed data, Micron had 11,300 workers in the U.S., down from 14,000 in 2000. The company’s non-U.S. workforce surged to 19,600, mainly in China and other Asian nations, from 4,800.

Securities filings show that the percentage of employees at Micron who were in the U.S. shrank to 37% from 74% in the same period. The company stopped disclosing the annual percentage in 2014. A Micron spokesman says much of the growth outside the U.S. came from acquisitions.

“What we’re doing is replacing more resources there to support the growing customer base—both the multinationals that are leveraging the low labor-cost areas in China, in particular, as well as the indigenous Chinese manufacturers,” Mike Sadler, Micron’s head of sales, told analysts in 2014. He is now Micron’s strategic chief.

The Semiconductor Industry Association says semiconductors remain a big U.S. business and are America’s third-largest export, trailing cars and aircraft.

Superstar Tech Companies Create Fewer Jobs

Few technology companies are doing initial public offerings, which can help spawn more jobs as those companies grow. And companies that went public in the five years before the dot-com bubble burst in 2000 have more employees overall than those with IPOs since then.

Apple Inc. followed a similar path. Co-founder Steve Jobs made it a mission early in his Apple career and after creating NeXT Inc., another computer maker, to revitalize U.S. manufacturing. Macintosh computers rolled off the line at an Apple factory “like a Holiday Inn toaster turns out toasted bagels,” says Brent Schlender, who co-wrote a biography of Mr. Jobs.

By the time Mr. Jobs died in 2011, Apple made nearly every one of its products outside America, largely in Asia. Apple halted U.S. manufacturing in 2004 and didn’t resume until 2013, when it began producing Mac Pro personal computersin Austin, Texas.

Apple says it employs about 80,000 workers in the U.S., or two-thirds of the company’s overall workforce. About half the U.S. employees have retail jobs.

An Apple spokeswoman says it is “creating jobs in new industries like the App Economy,” or apps developed for the iPhone, and is “a major contributor to U.S. manufacturing” by buying American-made components and materials.

Mr. Schlender, the Jobs biographer, says it made sense to assemble the iPod outside the U.S. when production began in 2001. “The components were hard to make, and putting them together was a labor-intensive job because everything was so small,” he says. “You had to piece it together by hand.”

The computer-hardware exodus spread. International Business Machines Corp. , the company that turned computers into a big business, was born in Endicott, N.Y., and built its first factories there.

From 2001 to 2015, though, employment in computer and electronics manufacturing in surrounding Broome County fell about two-thirds to 3,055 jobs. Warehouses and transportation companies scooped up some laid-off workers at salaries of less than half those paid in high-tech manufacturing, says Christian Harris, an analyst for the New York State Department of Labor.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs at MacWorld Expo in San Francisco in January 1999. He pushed to revitalize U.S. manufacturing, but the company stopped making products in the U.S. in 2004 and didn’t resume until 2013.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs at MacWorld Expo in San Francisco in January 1999. He pushed to revitalize U.S. manufacturing, but the company stopped making products in the U.S. in 2004 and didn’t resume until 2013. PHOTO:JOHN G. MABANGLO/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

American tech workers are getting a smaller piece of the economic pie created from what they produce. As of 2014, employee compensation in computer and electronic-parts making was equal to 49% of the value of the industry’s output, down from 79% in 1999, according to the Commerce Department.

While other tech jobs have been created in sectors such as software publishing, that growth is smaller than the losses in tech manufacturing.

Since 2002, the number of technology startups has slowed, hurting job creation.In a 2014 study, economists Javier Miranda, John Haltiwanger and Ian Hathaway said the growth of tech startups accelerated to 113,000 in 2001 from 64,000 in 1992.

That number slumped to 79,000 in 2011 and hasn’t recovered, according to the economists’ calculations using updated data. The causes include global competition and increased domestic regulation, says Mr. Haltiwanger, an economics professor at the University of Maryland.

Another problem is that fewer tech companies have gone public, which can enrich early employees and spawn more jobs as companies grow.

Jay Ritter, a professor at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business, says there were 548 initial public offerings of technology-related companies from 2001 to 2015. From 1990 to 2000, by contrast, 1,853 went public.

The latest generation of hot tech startups has attracted a mountain of venture-capital funding and gigantic valuations, led by Uber Technologies Inc., which was worth $68 billion as of June.

The influx of wealth has created more prosperity in Silicon Valley but exemplifies the economic polarization rippling through America.

WhatsApp had more than 450 million users world-wide when Facebook bought the messaging service for $19 billion in 2014, turning founder Jan Koum into a billionaire several times over. At the time of the acquisition, WhatsApp had 55 employees.

Economists call the phenomenon “skill-biased technical change.” The spoils of growth go to those few people with skills and luck and who are best positioned to take advantage of new technology.

The five largest U.S.-based technology companies by stock-market value—Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Facebook and Oracle Corp. —are worth a combined $1.8 trillion today. That is 80% more than the five largest tech companies in 2000.

Today’s five giants have 22% fewer workers than their predecessors, or a total of 434,505 as of last year, compared with 556,523 at Cisco Systems Inc., Intel, IBM, Oracle and Microsoft in 2000.

Robots help fill orders at an warehouse in Tracy, Calif., in December 2014. Amazon uses robots at about a third of its warehouses in the U.S.
Robots help fill orders at an warehouse in Tracy, Calif., in December 2014. Amazon uses robots at about a third of its warehouses in the U.S. PHOTO: DAVID PAUL MORRIS/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Amazon uses 45,000 small robots at about one-third of its U.S. warehouses to automate order processing. The robots look like bread boxes on wheels, lifting modular shelves stuffed with products and carrying the shelves to workers who pick out pieces.

An Amazon spokesman says the company has added about 200,000 employees since it began using the robots in early 2012. Amazon has 268,000 employees world-wide.

Robots aren’t dexterous enough yet to identify different sized-packages, pick the right ones and place them safely in boxes, says Mr. Brynjolfsson, the MIT economist. That is the fundamental skill in warehousing. Researchers now are trying to automate that part of the job, too.

In coming decades, machines are likely to replace new forms of routine work done by humans. From 1991 to 2001, the number of secretaries declined about 35%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of textile and apparel workers fell 37%.

For a long time, those with bachelor’s degrees in science seemed to be safe from automation-related layoffs because their cognitive knowledge was tough for computers to duplicate. Less-educated workers who dispense personal service, such as home health aides or masseuses, also seemed safe.

Harvard University economist David Deming estimates that the hollowing-out of work spread to programmers, librarians and engineers between 2000 and 2012. As much as $2 trillion worth of human economic activity could be automated away using existing technologies, such as Amazon’s robots, in coming years, consulting firm McKinsey & Co. estimates.

Knightscope Inc., based in Mountain View, Calif., makes robots that serve as night watchmen. About three dozen are on patrol, including at shopping malls, corporate campuses such as Microsoft’s in Mountain View and the new home arena of the Sacramento Kings. Knightscope clients pay $7 an hour per robot.

“Robots don’t complain,” says Stacy Stephens, a Knightscope co-founder and vice president of marketing and sales. “There’s no pension. And there’s no worker’s comp,” he adds.

Write to Jon Hilsenrath at and Bob Davis at

Ethiopia arrests blogger, academic in apparent retaliation for his calls for respect for human rights, advocacy for wider freedoms — Ethiopia is the third worst jailer of journalists in Africa

October 4, 2016

Corruption scandal puts a dark cloud over Malaysia, Najib — Looting of billions in state funds cannot be ignored forever

September 24, 2016

Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim told Johorean football fans that he had informed Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to implement policies and not just talk.

This, he said, was after he expressed his concerns about the country’s political stability to the premier.

Recounting his meeting with Najib, Tunku Ismail said he also told the PM that he was worried about what will happen to the country in the future, for despite their differences of opinion, the federal government and the royalty are interlinked.


“If you were to pinch my left thigh, my right thigh will feel it too.”

He added that he had also asked to know about present government policies, and gave the PM a piece of his mind about the matter.

“Then I advised him to implement whatever it is, and not just talk. And from now on, its time to move forward,” he said.

His comments were detailed in a post on the Johor Southern Tigers Facebook page describing a dialogue session he held with Johor Darul Takzim football fans and the media yesterday.

The crown prince had met with Najib in August, at the latter’s official residence, Seri Perdana, in Putrajaya.

Meanwhile, Tunku Ismail said Johor is independent and neutral, and that he speaks out for the people, not because anyone is his enemy.

“Don’t only think of yourself. I’m sad, (and) as His Royal Highness the Sultan of Johor stated lately, most politicians nowadays are busy pursuing more power.


His Royal Highness the Sultan of Johor

“They sacrifice for power more than they do for the people.”

Unlike other royalty, who prefer to keep a low profile, Tunku Ismail has a penchant for taking potshots at the federal government, mostly on Facebook.

He was previously embroiled in a public feud with Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz who criticised the prince for being too vocal, especially in remarks he made against the government.


Malaysia’s government has been criticised over plans to redraw electoral boundaries ahead of possible snap polls, with the opposition accusing it of gerrymandering to keep embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak in power.

The Election Commission, whose members are picked by the government, has said it intends to reorganise boundaries in 112 parliamentary seats – about half the national total – as well as 445 of the 576 state seats.

With Najib Razak’s popularity at the lowest in the history of prime ministers, and a 1MDB scandal that just refuses to go away, Najib has to find the formula to win the elections

Opposition lawmaker Tony Pua from the Democratic Action Party said the new boundaries are designed to ensure a win for Najib who is embroiled in a massive corruption scandal involving state investment fund 1MDB.

“With Najib Razak’s popularity at the lowest in the history of prime ministers, and a 1MDB scandal that just refuses to go away, Najib has to find the formula to win the elections,” Pua said on Thursday.

He said the rearrangement aims to bundle opposition-inclined voters into “super-constituencies” with more than 100,000 voters, while breaking up ruling party supporters into smaller, multiple constituencies.

The move would favour the dominant United Malays National Organisation (Umno) which leads the 13-party ruling National Front coalition, by allowing it to win maximum seats with the least possible votes, opposition politicians said.

 Kuala Lumpur skyline. Photo: EPA

Bigger political constituencies could also hobble the opposition which has limited financial and manpower resources to garner votes.

National polls have to be called by mid-2018, but there is speculation that Najib will call snap elections next year in a bid to renew his mandate.

There is no doubt this is blatant gerrymandering. Najib is set to win again soon even before the first vote is cast

The 63-year-old premier is clinging to power despite increasingly damaging allegations that he took part in the looting of billions in state funds. Najib and 1MDB have repeatedly denied wrongdoing in the scandal.

Umno has been in power in Malaysia since independence in 1957.

“This systemic rigging been going on for the past few decades,” said James Chin, the director of the Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania.

“There is no doubt this is blatant gerrymandering. Najib is set to win again soon even before the first vote is cast.”

Electoral Commission chairman Mohamad Hashim Abdullah has rubbished the allegations and urged critics to file objections before October 14, adding that the proposals were not final.

In the 2013 election, National Front won 47 per cent of the popular vote but took 60 per cent of the 222 parliamentary seats.

The opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, won a majority of the popular vote, with 51 per cent but garnered only 40 per cent of the seats.


Goldman Sachs Group Inc. received requests for information about 1Malaysia Development Bhd. earlier this year from the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, a person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. PHOTO:ASSOCIATED PRESS

Facebook apologizes for removing ‘napalm girl’ photo

September 13, 2016

Originally published September 13, 2016 at 1:48 am Updated September 13, 2016 at 1:51 am

r Prize.

Nick Ut’s famous photo shows children, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc, center, running down Route 1 near Trang Bang after a South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped napalm on civilians. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

The cover to Norway’s largest circulation newspaper, Aftenposten, displayed in Oslo Friday Sept. 9, 2016. Editor-in-chief and CEO, Espen Egil Hansen, wrote an open letter to founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, accusing him of threatening the freedom of speech and abusing power after deleting the iconic picture from the Vietnam war, taken by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut, of a young girl running from a napalm attack. (Cornelius Poppe, NTB scanpix via AP)

The Associated Press

HELSINKI (AP) — Facebook’s chief operating officer has apologized to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg for deleting a photograph from its pages and conceded that “we don’t always get it right.”

Sheryl Sandberg said in a letter to Solberg that she’d raised important issues about Facebook’s decision to remove postings of an iconic 1972 image of a naked, screaming girl running from a napalm attack in Vietnam. On Friday, following protests in Norway the tech giant reversed its decision and allowed the photo “Terror of War” to be seen on its pages.

In a letter dated Oct. 10, Sandberg conceded that historical importance “sometimes … outweighs the importance of keeping nudity off Facebook,” after Solberg had reposted the 1972 image and other iconic photos with black boxes covering parts of the images.

The Associated Press


Facebook U-turn over ‘Napalm girl’ photograph

September 9, 2016

BBC News

Aftenposten editor and Napalm girl photo

  • Espen Egil Hansen is editor of Aftenposten, Norway’s largest newspaper. AFTENPOSTEN/NICK UT

Facebook says it will allow an iconic photograph of a girl fleeing a Napalm attack taken during the Vietnam war in 1972 to be used on its platform.

It had previously removed the image, posted by a Norwegian author, on the grounds that it contained nudity.

The move sparked a debate about Facebook’s role as an editor.

The editor of Norway’s largest newspaper had written an open letter to Facebook’s chief Mark Zuckerberg calling the ban “an abuse of power”.

The tech giant said it had “listened to the community” and acknowledged the “global importance” of the photo.

“Because of its status as an iconic image of historical importance, the value of permitting sharing outweighs the value of protecting the community by removal, so we have decided to reinstate the image on Facebook where we are aware it has been removed,” it said in a statement.

“It will take some time to adjust these systems but the photo should be available for sharing in the coming days.

“We are always looking to improve our policies to make sure they both promote free expression and keep our community safe.”

The Norwegian prime minister – who had earlier posted a copy of the photo on Facebook herself only to see it removed – welcomed the U-turn.

“That’s very good, I’m a happy prime minister,” Erna Solberg told BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight programme.

“It shows that using social media can make [a] political change even in social media.”

Tom Egeland, the author whose Facebook account had been suspended over the affair, also expressed his pleasure.

“Now I’m happy!” he tweeted.

“This does not alter at all the difficult issues that involve Facebook and the Norwegian media. But tonight I’m just happy.”

But Espen Egil Hansen – the editor of Aftenposten, who had brought the issue to prominence – said he still had concerns.

“When it comes to this photo specifically I would say that it was a sensible decision by Facebook. That’s what we editors have to do sometimes – realise that we made a mistake and change our minds,” he wrote in Norwegian on the newspaper’s site.

“But the main point of my article, and the point that I have asked Mark Zuckerberg to engage in, is the debate about Facebook’s power that results from so much information going through its channels. And that still stands.

“He should begin to take part in this discussion, for there are no simple solutions. Facebook must recognise that it has become an information filter – and that raises problematic issues.”

Last month, Mr Zuckerberg told an Italian audience that he did not want his firm to become a news editor.

“No, we are a tech company, not a media company,” he said.

“The world needs news companies, but also technology platforms, like what we do, and we take our role in this very seriously.”


Facebook accused of censoring iconic Vietnam War photo

September 9, 2016


© AFP/File / by Pierre-Henry Deshayes | Facebook has more than 1.6 billion users

OSLO (AFP) – Facebook was confronted Friday with fierce indignation in Norway as the nation’s top newspaper, the prime minister and users voiced outrage over the network’s decision to censor a historic Vietnam War photo.

Facebook has been deleting from users’ pages, including that of Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, the 1972 picture of a naked Vietnamese girl running from a napalm attack, one of the war’s defining images.

Taken by Vietnamese photographer Nick Ut Cong Huynh for Associated Press, the picture was honoured with the Pulitzer Prize.

Nick Ut’s famous photo shows children, including Kim Phuc, center, running down a highway after a South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped napalm on civilians. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

“Facebook is taking the wrong road when it censors photos like this. This contributes to blocking freedom of expression,” the prime minister wrote on her Facebook page early Friday, in a comment that quickly received thousands of “likes”.

The affair began several weeks ago after Norwegian author Tom Egeland published a post about war photos, illustrated by the iconic picture. It was promptly deleted by Facebook.

Egeland’s fans rose to his defence and published the photo, posts which Facebook also deleted in line with its rules barring nudity.

In recent days, Facebook has continued to remove the photo and even suspended the accounts of other Norwegians who posted it.

Facebook’s moves have sparked fierce reactions in Norway, an ardent defender of civil liberties.

“I appreciate the work done by Facebook and other media to stop images and content showing physical abuse and violence. It’s important that we all contribute to the fight against violence and physical abuse of children,” the prime minister’s Facebook post said.

That post was deleted at midday, with the prime minister’s office saying later Facebook had removed it.

Solberg re-posted the picture several hours later, this time with the nudity blacked out in protest and a plea to Facebook to “review its censorship policy and assume the responsibility befitting of a large company with a broad communication platform.”

– Front page photo –

Norway’s biggest daily Aftenposten also shot back against Facebook’s censorship by publishing the photo on its print front page on Friday, under Facebook’s logo, accompanied by a two-page open letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

“I write you this letter because I’m concerned by the fact that the biggest media in the world is limiting freedoms instead of trying to broaden them, and because this is happening in a sometimes authoritarian fashion,” editor-in-chief Espen Egil Hansen wrote under the headline “Dear Mark.”

Aftenposten had also published the picture on its Facebook page several days previously. Facebook had asked it to take down the picture, but then deleted it before Aftenposten editors could respond to Facebook’s request.

“I’m afraid we’re becoming a society where the lowest common denominator determines what is shocking to the global population,” Hansen told AFP.

“The information has to be as acceptable in a small village in Pakistan as in an intellectual milieu in Paris. This lowest common denominator is a very dangerous mechanism when it is implemented by the most influential editor-in-chief in the world,” he said in reference to Zuckerberg.

The affair has taken on such proportions that the Norwegian Press Federation has asked the country’s powerful pension fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, to examine whether the censorship practice was in line with its ethical criteria for investments.

At the end of 2015, the fund owned 0.52 percent of Facebook.

This is not the first time Facebook has been accused of censorship, which is problematic because of its growing importance as a key channel of information for many people.

Facebook has in the past blocked several artworks.

The company is to go on trial in France after a schoolteacher accused it of censorship for blocking his account after he posted a photo of a painting by Gustave Courbet called “L’Origine du monde” (The Origin of the World) that shows a woman’s genitals.

And earlier this year, a Danish lawmaker also complained that Facebook had removed her picture of the Copenhagen statue of the Little Mermaid because of its nudity rules.

by Pierre-Henry Deshayes

Norway Leader Joins ‘Napalm Girl’ Protest Against Facebook

September 9, 2016

The Associated Press
September 9, 2016

Norway’s prime minister on Friday challenged Facebook’s restrictions on nude photos by posting an iconic 1972 image of a naked, screaming girl running from a napalm attack in Vietnam. Facebook quickly deleted it.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning image by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut is at the center of a heated debate about freedom of speech in Norway after Facebook deleted it from a Norwegian author’s page last month.

Nick Ut’s famous photo shows children, including Kim Phuc, center, running down a highway after a South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped napalm on civilians. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Many Norwegians have since posted the photo on Facebook in protest, and Prime Minister Erna Solberg joined them on Friday. Facebook removed her post within hours, said Sigbjorn Aanes, one of Solberg’s aides.

“What they do by removing images of this kind, whatever (the) good intentions, is to edit our common history,” Solberg told the Norwegian news agency NTB.

Facebook, in a statement from its European headquarters in London, responded that “it’s difficult to create a distinction between allowing a photograph of a nude child in one instance and not others.”

The little girl in the image, Kim Phuc, is naked and crying as the napalm melted away layers of her skin.

Several Norwegian government members followed Solberg’s lead and posted the photo on their Facebook pages. One of them, Education Minister Torbjorn Roe Isaksen, said it was “an iconic photo, part of our history.”

Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten published an open letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on its website Friday in which chief editor Espen Egil Hansen accused the social media giant of abusing its power.

Hansen said he was “upset, disappointed — well, in fact even afraid — of what you are about to do to a mainstay of our democratic society.”

“We try to find the right balance between enabling people to express themselves while maintaining a safe and respectful experience for our global community,” Facebook’s statement said. “Our solutions won’t always be perfect, but we will continue to try to improve our policies and the ways in which we apply them.”

Paul Colford, AP vice president and director of media relations, said: “The Associated Press is proud of Nick Ut’s photo and recognizes its historical impact. In addition, we reserve our rights to this powerful image.”


We at Peace and Freedom often find our Christian art deleted by Facebook…….

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Return of the Prodigal Son. Hermitage Museum,Saint Petersburg

EU Looks to Rein In Alleged Excesses of U.S. Tech Giants

August 31, 2016

European officials are pushing regulations and investigations aimed at altering the behavior of a cadre of U.S. internet superpowers

The EU-Apple tax case represents a new water mark in the bloc’s efforts to rein in alleged excesses of American tech giants.
The EU-Apple tax case represents a new water mark in the bloc’s efforts to rein in alleged excesses of American tech giants. PHOTO:REUTERS

PARIS–Apple’s tax bill is just the beginning.

The European Union’s decision Tuesday that Apple Inc. owes roughly €13 billion ($14.5 billion) in what it calls uncollected taxes over a decade, represents a new high-water mark in the bloc’s efforts to rein in alleged excesses of American tech giants.

But it is also just the first shot in what is expected to be a busy autumn for European officials, who are pushing forward a raft of regulations and investigations aimed at altering the behavior of a cadre of U.S.-based internet superpowers. The moves are being taken by a host of players—from EU regulators in Brussels to a bevy of national authorities across the continent. They are targeting areas ranging from personal privacy to anti-competition issues.

In coming weeks, EU bodies plan to debate new telecom rules that could expand to cover services like WhatsApp, proposed legislation to push news aggregators to pay newspapers for showing snippets of content, and potential audiovisual rules that would force companies like Netflix Inc. to finance European movies.

At the same time, authorities in capitals like Brussels, Paris and Berlin are pursuing investigations involving big companies like Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Inc. and Facebook Inc., related to alleged tax avoidance, anticompetitive behavior and privacy concerns.
“It’s an avalanche coming,” said James Waterworth, vice president for Europe at the U.S.-based Computer & Communications Industry Association, a lobby group that represents Amazon, Facebook, Google and Netflix. “There’s a political sense from some camps that these big, extraterritorial companies are getting away with things that need to be addressed.”

Such lobby firms argue that tech companies bring economic benefits, promote innovation and boost competition. They have been gearing themselves up in Brussels and across Europe to influence the rule-making.

Mr. Waterworth says the specific complaints against U.S. tech firms don’t stand up to scrutiny. The companies themselves have all launched vigorous defenses, underscored by Apple’s response Tuesday to the EU’s tax clawback decision. Apple executives denied vigorously they had avoided paying taxes and condemned Brussels’ decision as a money grab.

The proposals and investigations are the latest broadsides against big tech firms that some European politicians and consumer advocates argue squelch competition and take advantage of consumers dependent on their services. European officials reject the idea that their enforcement actions, or new rules, are motivated by the nationality of their targets, saying that their goal is to make sure European markets remain open to competitors with fair protections for consumers.

But some U.S. tech executives still say they think they are being singled out.

“More and more of these battles manifest themselves as the disrupters meet the disrupted,” said John Higgins, head of Digital Europe, a Brussels-based lobby group representing companies including Google and Apple.

Privacy is a particularly intense battlefield. Less than a year after voting in strict new privacy law, the EU plans this autumn to propose updates to its communications-privacy directive. The update could potentially extend rules now covering phone companies–like anonymizing location data once no longer needed for billing–to online-communications providers.

At the national level, France’s privacy watchdog is locked in a fight with Google over how broadly the search engine must apply Europe’s “right to be forgotten.” Several privacy regulators across Europe say they are looking into WhatsApp’s announcement that it will start sharing some user data with parent-company Facebook –just one of several probes the social network faces.

Competition law will also be a hot topic. Google is set as early as next month to respond to the EU’s formal charges that it has abused the market power of its Android mobile operating system to promote its own search engine and browser, one of several charges it is fighting.

Other probes are ongoing: the EU is investigating Amazon’s conduct in the e-book business, and France’s Autorite de la Concurrence is investigating the online ad industry.

On the tax front, apart from Apple, the EU is looking at an alleged sweetheart tax deal for Amazon in Luxembourg, a charge it denies. And Google is facing tax probes in Spain, Italy and France over claims–which it denies–that it should have declared more profit and paid more taxes in those countries.

Write to Sam Schechner at