Former Facebook VP states social networking is destroying society

An old Facebook executive is making waves after he spoke out about his “tremendous guilt” over growing the social networking, that they feels has eroded “the core foundations of methods people behave by and between one another.”

Chamath Palihapitiya started employed by Facebook in 2007 and left this year since it’s v . p . for user growth. As he began, he stated, there is very little thought provided to the lengthy-term negative effects of developing this type of platform.

“I think within the back, deep, deep recesses in our minds, we type of understood something bad might happen,” stated Palihapitiya, 41. “But I believe the way you defined it wasn’t such as this.”

That altered as Facebook’s recognition exploded, he stated. Up to now, the social networking has greater than 2 billion monthly users all over the world and keeps growing.

But the opportunity to connect and share information so rapidly — along with the instant gratification people give and receive over their posts — has led to some negative effects, based on Palihapitiya.

“It literally is really a point now where I believe we’ve produced tools which are ripping apart the social fabric of methods society works. That’s truly where we’re,” he stated. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we have produced are destroying how society works: no civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth. And it is no American problem. This isn’t about Russian ads. This can be a global problem.”

Facebook has pressed back around the former executive’s comments, saying inside a statement Tuesday that Palihapitiya hasn’t labored there in excess of six years which was “a completely different company in those days.”

Palihapitiya, a venture capitalist and part who owns the Golden Condition Players, made his remarks in a talk for Stanford Graduate School of economic students in November. Video from the talk was widely shared again now following the Verge reported on his comments Monday.

Though he didn’t have immediate answers on how you can permanently correct the issue, Palihapitiya encouraged students to consider a “hard break from a few of these tools and things that you depend on.” He added he has published on Facebook only a number of occasions in the last many years and did not allow his children to make use of “this sh-t” either, talking about social networking platforms.

“Everybody else needs to soul-search a bit more by what you’re prepared to do,” he stated. “Because your behaviors, you do not understand it, but you’re being programmed. It had been unintended, however you gotta choose how much you’re willing to stop, the amount of your intellectual independence.”

The issue is not isolated to Facebook, he stated, citing other social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. Palihapitiya pointed to a hoax in India which had spread through WhatsApp and brought towards the lynching of countless men that were falsely charged with being child traffickers.

“Bad actors are now able to manipulate large swaths of individuals to complete anything you like,” he told the crowd. “And we compound the issue. We curate our way of life for this perceived feeling of perfection, because we obtain rewarded during these short-term signals — hearts, likes, thumbs up — so we conflate by using value so we conflate it with truth. And rather, what it’s is fake, brittle recognition that’s short-term leaving you more, be honest, vacant and empty before you decide to made it happen. . . . Consider that, compounded by 2 billion people.”

After departing Facebook, Palihapitiya continued to found Social Capital, a investment capital firm that invests in education and health-care companies frequently neglected by Plastic Valley. In the wide-varying Stanford talk, also, he addressed using money being an instrument of telecomutting saves gas. While he noted that Facebook “overwhelmingly does good on the planet,” Palihapitiya also stated one way he’s reconciled his guilt over growing the woking platform is to invest money in diabetes, education and climate-change research.

Because the Verge reported, Palihapitiya became a member of a chorus of former Facebook investors and employees now expressing regret over their contributions to the organization:

In November, early investor Sean Parker said he has become a “conscientious objector” to social networking, which Facebook yet others had been successful by “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.” An old product manager at the organization, Antonio Garcia-Martinez, has stated Facebook lies about its ability to influence individuals in line with the data it collects in it, and authored a magazine, Chaos Apes, about his work on the firm.

Most lately, the organization was charged with attempting to exploit children and eroding their privacy after it launched an application a week ago known as Messenger Kids. Facebook claimed that it’ll not display ads on Messenger Kids or use its data to promote on Facebook.

Facebook has additionally been belittled heavily for the way it regulates — or doesn’t regulate — the information and origin of ads on its platform, particularly when it found a large number of Russian ads which were produced to help voters within the 2016 U.S. presidential election. After a little initial resistance, the organization switched over a large number of Russian ads to Congress this fall.

Facebook founder and leader Mark Zuckerberg had mostly performed lower their responsibility to watch and curate its content, saying it’s not a media company. Particularly, though, in the finish of Yom Kippur this season, Zuckerberg published an apology on his Facebook account “for the methods my work was utilized to split people instead of bring us together” and vowed to complete better.

Inside a statement towards the Washington Publish, a Facebook spokesman stated the organization would like to lessen its profits to “make sure the best investments are created.”

“When Chamath what food was in Facebook i was centered on building new social networking encounters and growing Facebook all over the world,” the statement read. “ . . . once we have become, we’ve recognized how our responsibilities have become too. We take our role seriously and we’re spending so much time to enhance. We’ve done lots of work and research with outdoors experts and academics to know the results in our service on well-being, and we’re utilizing it to tell our product.”

Both Twitter and facebook say Kremlin-linked organizations used their platforms to influence voters throughout the 2016 election. Here is how. (The Washington Publish)

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The Shift: The ‘Alt-Right’ Produced a Parallel Internet. It’s an Unholy Mess.

The Shift


If you’ve lost sleep fretting about the growing power the alt-right — that shadowy coalition which includes white-colored nationalists, anti-feminists, far-right reactionaries and meme-discussing trolls — I might have discovered relief from nervousness.

Just use its websites.

In recent several weeks, as sites like YouTube, Facebook have cracked lower on hate speech and barred several high-profile conservative users, the alt-right designed a promise of technological independence from Plastic Valley. Hard-right activists vowed to produce their very own versions of those digital services, which all views could be welcome, regardless of how crude or incendiary.

Greater than a dozen “alt-tech” companies have finally emerged, each promising a refuge from political correctness and censorship. There’s Gab, a type of alt-Twitter social networking that started this past year, whose early adopters incorporated prominent figures like Milo Yiannopoulos and Andrew Anglin, the founding father of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website. There’s WrongThink (alt-Facebook), PewTube (alt-YouTube), Voat (alt-Reddit), Infogalactic (alt-Wikipedia) and GoyFundMe (alt-Kickstarter). There’s even, a dating site for white-colored nationalists yet others “wishing to preserve their heritage.”

Lately, I spent a few days testing several of these alt-tech services. I produced accounts, explored their features and interfaces, and interviewed users of every site regarding their encounters. (With my wife’s permission, I even produced a profile and marketed myself like a New You are able to journalist searching to interview lovelorn white-colored supremacists. Oddly, I acquired no takers.)

Things I available on these websites was more pitiful than fear-inspiring. Sure, some alt-tech platforms were full of upsetting types of Nazi imagery and bigoted garbage. But many were ghost towns, with couple of active users with no apparent supervision. As technology products, most are second- or third-rate, with lengthy load occasions, damaged links and frequent error messages. A couple of have been taken offline altogether.

When the alt-right’s ideology harks to 1940s Germany, its website design might transport you to definitely 1990s GeoCities. The movement’s own adherents have become frustrated. One Gab user, who claimed to become while using site while temporarily suspended from Twitter, complained inside a public publish concerning the site’s technical inferiority.

“I’m a trader in Gab,” authored the consumer, who passes the username @AnewThomasPaine. “I have confidence in the concept, but I’m disappointed within the platform.” In another message, he authored: “I barely utilize it because there are couple of active users, and couple of essential features despite annually.”

Gab, which states convey more than 300,000 users, was said to be an alt-tech success story. The service attracted reams of attention if this launched this past year, also it elevated greater than $a million inside a crowdfunding campaign, which makes it the rare alt-tech platform with significant sources. Utsav Sanduja, Gab’s chief operating officer, told Slate this season that the organization was beginning a company known as the “Free Speech Tech Alliance,” coupled with employed greater than 100 Plastic Valley engineers to assist.

However nowadays, Gab is buggy and confusing, and far from the activity on the website seems in the future from the small core of frequent users. Some of the well-known figures who once published on the website have abandoned it. (“I’m a creature of habit, and fell from practice of posting there,” Mike Cernovich, a well known right-wing media personality, explained.) The website also had its very own censorship drama captured, after moderators removed a publish that mocked Louise Heyer, the activist wiped out throughout the Charlottesville protests.

Gab’s founder, Andrew Torba, declined to discuss the site’s progress, saying inside a Gab message that “I don’t do interviews with fake news outlets.”

Rather, I spoken with Cody Wilson, a developer in Texas who’s behind another alt-tech service. Mr. Wilson’s product, a crowdfunding site known as Hatreon, was designed to give alt-right personalities yet others a method to raise money for projects considered too risqué for mainstream crowdfunding platforms for example Patreon and Kickstarter.

Interactive Feature Thinking about Everything Tech? The Bits e-newsletter could keep you updated around the latest from Plastic Valley and also the technology industry.

Hatreon departed to some fast start, using more than 400 creators raising about $25,000 monthly around the platform. But recently, it’s fallen into disrepair. Based on Mr. Wilson, a significant charge card company, that they declined to mention, kicked Hatreon off its network recently, stopping many users from funding projects on the website and basically killing their prospects for growth. Today, people to Hatreon are welcomed with a message stating that “pledging is presently disabled basically we upgrade our systems.”

Mr. Wilson, who not describe themself as alt-right, stated he’s recognized that creating a viable alt-tech business may be impossible, because of the practical constraints.

“I don’t know how them intend to be lucrative,” he stated.

Things aren’t going far better for WrongThink, which went online at the end of 2016 with aspirations to become a totally free-speech option to Twitter and facebook. Annually later, WrongThink only has about 7,000 registered people, based on the site’s founder, who passes the username Bane Biddix.

Far-right activists happen to be attempting to build alternative tech platforms for a long time, with little success. About ten years ago, white-colored nationalist websites with names new Saxon and PodBlanc sprang as much as contend with Myspace, Friendster, and yet another social giants from the era. But many of individuals sites fizzled when their creators ran from money or experienced legal trouble. And none came near to reaching a sizable mainstream audience.

Granted, it’s still the first days with this new wave of services, that are transitional phase throughout the Trump many may need altering norms around P.C. culture and acceptable speech. Some alt-right leaders are hopeful that the coming “purge” on Twitter — their phrase for something new within the site’s hate speech policies, which Twitter intends to enforce beginning in a few days — will be sending lots of disgruntled users scurrying to alt-tech platforms.

But Mark Pitcavage, who studies right-wing extremism in the Anti-Attorney League, explained that alt-tech companies face several structural barriers. Not just do they need to develop a compelling product and attract users — a high challenge even just in the very best of conditions — however they should do it without use of mainstream funding sources, for example investment capital firms and private investors, which offer a lot of the fuel for other tech start-ups. Additionally they depend on finding firms that are prepared to host their professional services and process their debts.

“Being on the web is an organization venture,” Mr. Pitcavage stated. “You depend with an isp, your own domain name service, a charge card processor. It’s one such factor for a number of these entities to not want to use a white-colored supremacist group.”

There’s additionally a talent shortage among alt-tech companies, a few of which depend on volunteers, and couple of which are able to afford to pay for the sorts of salaries required by top-tier programmers.

“Speaking frankly, you aren’t getting 10x engineer talent using these people,” stated Mr. Wilson of Hatreon, utilizing a popular Plastic Valley term for any star worker. “No one’s arranging with this.”

Alt-tech is another victim of the identical market forces which have held back other small tech start-ups. A lot of the internet’s fundamental architecture is controlled by a number of gatekeepers — Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon . com included in this. Individuals companies run back-finish services that permit developers to construct reliable products, the application stores that permit them to achieve full of audience, and also the advertising platforms that permit them to earn money. With no support of Plastic Valley’s giants, it’s extremely difficult to compete, regardless of what your political opinions are.

“If someone with plenty of money and determination magically materialized, I am not saying it’s impossible, but it wouldn’t be simple,” Mr. Pitcavage stated.

What’s promising for that alt-right’s detractors, then, would be that the movement’s vision of the flourishing parallel internet appears condemned to fail.

Unhealthy news is the fact that, with no functional alternate ecosystem, it might be harder to quarantine the views of neo-Nazis along with other poisonous ideologues to little-used corners from the internet, not even close to most users. Facebook, Twitter, along with other mainstream services will still be the dominant venue for ideological battles, and keeping these platforms free from hate and misinformation will stay individuals companies’ responsibility. Let’s hope they’re to the challenge.

The Finance 202: GOP drive to repeal estate tax risks making its tax plan more unpopular


If you didn’t know better, you might think some Republicans were trying to see how low they can drive public support for their tax plan. 

It’s already basement-dwelling, with lopsided majorities of voters consistently telling pollsters the GOP’s rewrite of the code will benefit the wealthy more than the middle class. On Thursday, 54 House Republicans banded together behind a push seemingly tailor-made to reinforce the suspicion. 

Their request, laid out in a letter to their leadership: to insist in conference negotiations on maintaining the House tax bill’s full repeal of the estate tax, rather than the Senate version, which doubles the current exemption to $22 million for couples. 

“I get all the political arguments over, ‘Hey it’s an easier political deal to do it this way,’ particularly given the perceptions with the president,” Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), who organized the letter, tells me, referring to estimates that full repeal would save President Trump’s heirs $1.1 billion. “But the reality is, this is just a fundamental issue about, to me, a tax that seems immoral… It’s been a long-term Republican platform position. To me, it’s important to do the things we said we were going to do.”

The letter came hours after the release of a national poll showing, again, the tax push remains deeply unpopular with voters. Sixty-nine percent of respondents to the CBS News survey said the proposal would benefit wealthy Americans; less than a quarter said it would help their own family. 

And it also comes on the heels of a new report showing the wealthiest 1 percent of American households own 40 percent of the nation’s wealth, a higher share than at any point since at least 1962. That wealth gap is widening, with the share of the wealth owned by the top 1 percent climbing nearly three percentage points since 2013. 

Some conservatives registered objections to full repeal of the estate tax, including Josh Holmes, former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mcconnell (R-Ky.): 

And blogger and radio host Erick Erickson:

Republican negotiators aim to hash out differences between the two chambers’ bills in time to get a package to the president before Christmas. Since both versions exhausted the $1.5 billion in deficit spending their budget blueprints allowed, deciding what ends up in the final product requires making decisions between competing demands. 

The Republicans who signed Davidson’s letter aren’t the only ones who believe the estate tax repeal deserves priority. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) said the tax is “just wrong” and committed to fighting for full repeal in conference, per the Washington Examiner’s Joseph Lawler. (There are Senate Republican negotiators on both sides. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman points to scarce revenue in arguing for the Senate version, which is $68 billion cheaper, while South Dakota Sen. John Thune embraces the lower chamber’s position.)

The estate tax repeal advocates are arguing for a shrinking, and extremely wealthy, slice of the population. As The Post’s Glenn Kessler points out, since successive Congresses started chipping away at the levy four decades ago, the number of estates it captures has dwindled from 139,000 in 1977 to 52,000 in 2000 to just 5,500 this year. About half those subject to it would pay an average tax of roughly 9 percent. And while Trump’s campaign plan called for repealing the tax, as Glenn points out, the House-passed bill goes further by also protecting inherited assets from capital gains taxes they would otherwise face. 

“It seems to me it ought to be a remarkably low priority for tax reduction,” says Michael Graetz, a law professor at Columbia University and former Treasury Department official under George H.W. Bush whose 2006 book “Death by a Thousand Cuts” chronicled the history of estate tax lobbying.

Proponents of full repeal, he said, “hide behind farmers and small businesses, but estate tax revenues virtually all coming from portfolio wealth. Once you’re up a $22 million exemption, the only people paying the estate tax are the hundred-millionaires and billionaires.”

Indeed, the Mars family — owners of the candy empire and worth an estimated $78 billion, making them the third-richest clan in the country — is still actively lobbying on the issue, lobbying records show. “As a family-held business, we are supportive of meaningful corporate tax reforms and estate tax reforms, which allow us to grow, re-invest in our company and continue to create jobs in the United States,” Denise Young, Mars Incorporated’s global director of external communications, said in a statement. 

Jamie Richardson, vice president of the burger chain White Castle — likewise a family-owned business since its 1921 founding — said repealing the tax would strengthen a business model that, unlike public companies, doesn’t manage with an eye toward Wall Street and short-term returns. The company is aiming for $700 million in revenue this year, “but that gets reinvested back in the business and the margins are small,” he said. 

“Of course there are going to be tough decisions,” Richardson said of the tax debate’s endgame. “It’s about achieving lower rates and making sure the benefits are real for every American citizen. We really believe this is something that’s going to free up a lot of opportunity for a lot of family businesses to grow and prosper.” He plans on traveling from Columbus, Ohio to Washington next week to make the case to lawmakers in person. 

Meanwhile, Davidson, whose 8th district runs up the western border of the state and stretches east toward Columbus, said “it’s important that we do the things we’ve told the American people we’re going to do.”

Davidson added he wouldn’t put estate tax repeal at the top of his list of last-minute edits to the tax package. More importantly, he said, the final product should repeal the alternative minimum tax and make individual rate cuts permanent. 


Brexit breakthrough. FT’s Alex Barker, Jim Brunsden, and Arthur Beesley: “Britain has reached a historic deal on its EU exit terms, enshrining special rights for 4m citizens and paying €40bn to €60bn in a hard-fought Brexit divorce settlement that clears the way for trade talks next year. Theresa May, the UK prime minister, and Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, met in Brussels early on Friday to sign off a 15-page ‘progress report’ that will allow EU negotiators to recommend opening a second phase of talks on post-Brexit relations. The breakthrough came after a week of high drama in Brussels and Westminster over Northern Ireland’s border, with original compromises scuttled on Monday by the Democratic Unionist party, Mrs May’s parliamentary allies. Arlene Foster, DUP leader, made it clear that she had reservations about the final wording of the deal, but she told Sky News she had secured ‘substantial changes’ to the text.”

Some top lines, courtesy of Bloomberg:

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Congress averts shutdown. For now. The Post’s Mike DeBonis: “Congress passed a short-term spending deal Thursday, sending to President Trump a bill to avert a partial government shutdown and setting up a heated budget fight later this month. Trump has indicated that he will sign the deal, preventing a government stoppage that had been set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. The deal does not resolve numerous debates over domestic spending, immigration and funding for the military that brought the government to the brink of partial closure, leaving party leaders with a new Dec. 22 deadline to keep the government open.

There are clear obstacles to any longer-term deal, and leaders of both parties are demanding concessions in exchange for their members’ support. Democrats are pushing for the next government funding bill to include increased domestic spending, legal status for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children and other party priorities. Some Republicans are pushing for increased defense spending, while others have made shrinking the government their top objective.”

Reminder: Shutdowns are expensive. The Post’s Jeff Stein: “On Wednesday, S&P Global analysts said a shutdown would cost the economy about $6.5 billion per week, or about 0.2 percent of gross domestic product growth in the fourth quarter of 2017, as the impact of furloughing federal employees ripples across the country. ‘If a shutdown were to take place so far into the quarter, fourth-quarter GDP would not have time to bounce back, which could shake investors and consumers and, as a result, possibly snuff out any economic momentum,’ the report says. ‘The timing could not be worse.'”


Will Collins hold? Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur: “The three biggest stories in Washington — a broad overhaul of the U.S. tax structure, a health-care makeover and a spending bill that would avert a government shutdown — all depend, more or less, on one moderate Republican senator who says she’s got a deal that could deliver them all. The only trouble is, Senator Susan Collins’s deal could unravel fast, putting the Maine lawmaker and her party in a tight spot as GOP leaders seek a major policy win in 2017.

Collins joined 50 of her GOP Senate colleagues Saturday in voting for tax legislation — but only after securing what she’s called a promise that Congress would pass two other bills before year’s end. Both measures are aimed at shoring up insurance marketplaces that experts say would be ravaged by one part of the Senate tax bill: a repeal of the “individual mandate” imposed by the 2010 Obamacare law. But Collins’s promise came from … McConnell — who can’t always deliver a vote in his own chamber, let alone the one across the capitol. It’s by no means clear that either of the health care bills Collins bargained for will get anywhere in the House, where conservatives regard at least one of the measures with disdain.

‘I wasn’t part of those conversations,’ House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Thursday, when asked about Collins’s bargain with McConnell. ‘I’m not deeply familiar with those conversations.'”

International changes may wait. WSJ’s Richard Rubin: “The prospect of starting a new international corporate tax system in 25 days is a bit daunting, and lawmakers may give more time for companies to adjust and for the Treasury Department to write rules. ‘Because the international provisions are complex, just by the nature…we’ve had industries ask for transition periods in certain areas,’ …Brady…told reporters Thursday. ‘Most of those requests, I think, are very fair.’ Mr. Brady, who will lead a House-Senate conference committee working out the differences between the two bills, said he hadn’t talked to his Senate colleagues yet about this issue. And he wasn’t specific about which provisions might get different start dates.”

Biz concerned. The Post’s Heather Long: “For the most part, companies have cheered the Republican tax bills ever since the House first introduced its plan on Nov. 3. The Dow Jones industrial average rose over 700 points (3 percent) in November. But much of the euphoria stopped in the wee hours of Saturday morning, when the Senate hurriedly passed its bill and business leaders woke up to realize they weren’t getting such a great deal after all. The biggest last-minute change the Senate made was to keep the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT) at 20 percent — the same rate as the new, massively lower business tax rate. What that means is many businesses would not be able to take deductions and credits to lower their tax bill below 20 percent…

Manufacturing companies — the very businesses President Trump vowed to help in the campaign — would be hit especially hard… A half-dozen lobbyists who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly describe frantic calls Monday as companies from tech to industrials tried to figure out how to get Republicans to fix the bill. By Wednesday, top executives were talking with Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic policymaker, and Senator Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.).”

From AEI’s Jim Pethokoukis:

Next year’s headlines today: Home Depot announces stock buyback. The Post’s David Lynch: “With unemployment low and demand for new homes high, a company like Home Depot could be spending most of its surplus billions on raises for workers or the rollout of new stores. Instead, the world’s largest home improvement chain this week announced that it is using $15 billion to buy back shares of its own stock, a move that will reward shareholders including chief executive Craig Menear and other top executives. Even as lawmakers on Capitol Hill began hammering out the final version of a tax cut designed to give businesses more money to invest, Home Depot’s statement was a reminder that corporate America may have other plans for that cash.”

Trump’s richest friends want more. The Post’s Damian Paletta and Josh Dawsey: “Some of President Trump’s wealthiest New York friends have launched a last-minute campaign to pressure him for changes to the GOP tax bill, telling the president personally that the current plan would drive up their taxes and hurt his home state. Trump on Saturday attended a fundraiser at the home of Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive of the Blackstone Group and the former leader of Trump’s now-disbanded White House Strategy and Policy Forum. Longtime Trump friend Richard LeFrak, a New York real estate magnate who Trump has said would play a lead role in his infrastructure push, also ­attended.

At the fundraiser, LeFrak asked Trump about making changes in the tax bill, people familiar with the exchange said. LeFrak had previously expressed to the White House concerns that the tax bill could hurt New York, and particularly its wealthy business class, people familiar with his thinking said. At least one other donor jumped in to echo LeFrak, the people said… In response, Trump told the group he was aware of the concerns among his old friends and business associates — and that he understood them.”

Newman’s Own accidental tax bill. Politico’s Brian Faler: “A decision by the Senate’s parliamentarian could force the sale of the late actor Paul Newman’s food company, and dismantle his charity. During the Senate’s consideration of Republicans’ plans to rewrite the tax code, Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough struck a provision that would have spared Newman’s Own from an unusual 200 percent tax it’s facing…When Newman, one of the biggest movie stars of the 20th century, died in 2008, he left the company to his foundation, which gives away its profits to charity. The problem is a 1969 tax law that bars foundations from owning more than a small stake in private businesses. It was written with an eye toward preventing wealthy people from using foundations as tax shelters, and it imposes a deliberately confiscatory 200 percent tax on those that don’t unload their businesses after a certain period of time.”

Ford fired. The tidal wave of revelations sweeping those accused of sexual abuse from power perches across the country has barely grazed Wall Street. That changed Thursday. NYT’s Kate Kelly: “Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman turned Wall Street rainmaker, was fired by the financial services firm Morgan Stanley in recent days “for conduct inconsistent with our values and in violation of our policies,” the company said in a statement on Thursday. Morgan Stanley declined to say specifically what prompted the firing. But it came after a woman who did not work at the firm accused Mr. Ford of acting inappropriately in a professional setting, according to a person briefed on the details of the allegations…

In a statement provided by his lawyer, Mr. Ford denied the claims and threatened to sue the bank and his accuser, whom he identified as a reporter, for damaging his reputation. ‘This simply did not happen,’ Mr. Ford wrote. ‘I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.’ He added that socializing with members of the press was part of his job, and said that ‘false claims like this undermine the real silence breakers.’ … Mr. Ford appears regularly on the MSNBC show ‘Morning Joe.’ ‘We are looking into the report about Harold Ford Jr.,’ a spokeswoman for MSNBC said. ‘During that time he won’t be a guest on MSNBC.'”


Planning on an infrastructure plan. Bloomberg’s Mark Niquette: “Trump plans to keep pushing his legislative agenda in 2018 by releasing his long-promised infrastructure proposal in early January, a senior administration official said… The president aims to release a detailed document of principles, rather than a drafted bill, for upgrading roads, bridges, airports and other public works before the Jan. 30 State of the Union address, said the administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details aren’t public. Naysayers should wait until they see the details and how the legislative process unfolds, the official said. The White House plan is essentially complete and Trump recently reviewed it, the official said. It calls for allocating at least $200 billion in federal funds over 10 years to spur at least $800 billion in spending by states, localities and the private sector.”

Looks to locals for funds. The Post’s John Wagner: “Even as President Trump and Republicans in Congress seek to cut federal taxes, the White House has quietly come up with a very different plan for infrastructure: It wants to reward states and localities willing to raise taxes or other revenue to pay for new projects. The dynamic is key to the Trump administration’s latest thinking on an infrastructure bill aimed at spurring a $1 trillion investment in the nation’s ailing roads, bridges, rail lines and airports. Originally touted by Trump as a first-100-days initiative — and one with the prospect for bipartisan support — it has stalled amid other bruising legislative battles. The approach now being contemplated is considered innovative by some infrastructure experts but also carries considerable political and economic risks for Trump.”

Muzinich for under secretary. Bloomberg’s Saleha Mohsin and Jennifer Jacobs: “Justin Muzinich, a counselor to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, is being considered for nomination to be undersecretary for domestic finance, according to three people familiar with the matter. Muzinich, a former Morgan Stanley banker who joined Mnuchin’s team in March as a counselor, has focused on the administration’s tax plan. The undersecretary position, which requires Senate confirmation, has remained vacant since Mary Miller left in 2014. A decision on who will take the role has not been finalized, the people said.”

(Flashback to Aug. 4. The Finance 202: “Justin Muzinich, a former Wall Streeter serving as a counselor at Treasury, is said to be up for a promotion to under secretary for domestic finance.”)


New emails show follow-up after Trump Tower meeting. CNN’s Jim Sciutto, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb: “The British publicist who arranged the June 2016 meeting with Russians and Donald Trump Jr. sent multiple emails to a Russian participant and a member of Donald Trump’s inner circle later that summer, multiple sources told CNN, the first indication there was any follow-up after the meeting.

The emails raise new questions for congressional investigators about what was discussed at Trump Tower. Trump Jr. has for months contended that after being promised he would get dirt on Hillary Clinton, the brief meeting focused almost exclusively on the issue of Russian adoptions, saying there was no discussion with the participants after that session. The emails from the publicist, Rob Goldstone, were discovered by congressional investigators and raised at Wednesday’s classified hearing with Trump Jr., who said he could not recall the interactions, several sources said.

None of the newly disclosed emails were sent directly to Trump Jr. They are bound to be a subject during Goldstone’s closed-door meetings with the House and Senate intelligence panels, which are expected to take place as early as next week.”

Russian exec sought to help. The Post’s Roz Helderman, Anton Troianovski and Tom Hamburger scoop: “An executive at a leading Russian social media company made several overtures to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 — including days before the November election — urging the candidate to create a page on the website to appeal to Russian Americans and Russians. The executive at Vkontakte, or VK, Russia’s equivalent to Facebook, emailed Donald Trump Jr. and social media director Dan Scavino in January and again in November of last year, offering to help promote Trump’s campaign to its nearly 100 million users, according to people familiar with the messages.

‘It will be the top news in Russia,’ Konstantin Sidorkov, who serves as VK’s director of partnership marketing, wrote on Nov. 5, 2016. While Scavino expressed interest in learning more at one point, it is unclear whether the campaign pursued the idea. An attorney for Trump Jr. said his client forwarded a pitch about the concept to Scavino early in the year and could not recall any further discussion about it.”

Fox smears Mueller. CNN’s Brian Stelter: “What’s President Trump hearing when he watches Fox News? He’s hearing that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is ‘illegitimate and corrupt.’ That it’s led by a ‘band of merry Trump-haters’ who are trying to reverse the results of the election. And that it must be stopped. He’s also hearing that the FBI is becoming ‘America’s secret police,’ akin to the KGB in Russia, full of ‘sickness” and “corruption.’ These are all actual quotes from some of the president’s favorite pro-Trump talk shows. The overarching message from ‘Fox & Friends’ and ‘Hannity’ is unmistakable: Mr. President, you’re the victim of a ‘deep state’ plot to take you down. Don’t let it happen.”

Democrats Ask Kushner If He Sought Help Abroad for Family Tower

A group of Democratic lawmakers has sent a letter to White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner asking if since the election of his father-in-law Donald Trump he has discussed with foreigners the financing of a Manhattan office tower owned by his family.



Inside a $100,000-per-person Trump fundraiser: Chicken, asparagus and 20 minutes of talk

The president boasted to a group of corporate and Wall Street titans as a tax-cut package benefiting the rich moved forward.

Josh Dawsey


U.S. Household Wealth Hit Record $96.9 Trillion Last Quarter

U.S. household wealth in the third quarter rose to another record, driven by a stock-market surge and rising property values, figures from the Federal Reserve in Washington showed Thursday.


Inverted Yield Curve in 2018 Is Taking Over Wall Street Outlooks

Wall Street is coming down with a case of curve-flattening fever. After weeks of relentless narrowing of the spread between short- and long-dated Treasuries, strategists have been left with little choice but to contemplate an inverted yield curve when crafting outlooks for 2018 and beyond.


Boeing’s Dennis Muilenburg says he’ll beat SpaceX to Mars; Elon Musk says ‘Do it’

So what does SpaceX CEO Elon Musk think of Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg’s claim that the first humans on Mars will arrive on a Boeing rocket? “Do it,” Musk tweeted.



Deputy consumer bureau chief challenges court ruling for control of agency

The deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) asked a federal court Wednesd

The Hill

Fed Plans to Disclose More About Big-Bank Stress Tests

The Federal Reserve proposed disclosing more about its big-bank stress tests, in response to criticism from bankers who have said the exams’ results are hard to understand.

Wall Street Journal


From The Post’s Christopher Ingraham: “The U.S. economy is creating millionaires at an astonishing pace. But what’s it doing for everyone else?:”



  • The FDIC holds a webinar on the Affordable Mortgage Lending Guide.

Coming Up

  • The Peterson Institution for International Economics hosts a book release for “Clashing over Commerce: A History of US Trade Policy” on Dec. 11.


From The Post’s Tom Toles:


What happened between President Trump, former FBI director James B. Comey and former national security adviser Michael Flynn? The Fact Checker’s Timeline:

From CNN’s Christopher Massie, a 1997 clip of Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore:

Stephen Colbert talks about Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony in the Russia investigation:

Late Night with Seth Meyers takes a closer look at Sen. Al Franken’s resignation as well as Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony in the Russia investigation:

Amazon . com uses a key to your residence. I gave it for them — and that i regretted it.

The Post’s Geoffrey A. Fowler tests Amazon . com Key, a brand new service that enables packages to become delivered right within your door by permitting Amazon . com deliverers to spread out you having a digital key. (Jhaan Elker,Geoffrey Fowler/The Washington Publish)

I gave Amazon . a vital to enter the house and fall off packages when I am not around. After two weeks, as it happens letting other people in continues to be minimal-troubling area of the experience.

Once Amazon . com owned my door, I had been the main one locked into an exciting-Amazon . com world.

When Amazon . com first sailed the thought of Amazon . com Key, an online-connected lock it may access, people had two responses. 1) This Really Is CREEPY. 2) I type of want this, so my packages don’t get stolen.

But make no mistake, the $250 Amazon . com Key isn’t nearly stopping thieves. It’s probably the most aggressive effort I have seen from the tech giant for connecting your house to the web in a manner that puts itself right in the center.

security Cloud Cam. Getting a video camera — which solve these questions . watch, and which should be powered up for that door to unlock — makes this rather less terrifying. (When the power is out, you could open the doorway by having an old-fashioned key.)

If you use Amazon . com Key, you receive a phone alert having a window whenever a delivery might occur. If nobody is home, the delivery person taps an application that grants one-time use of unlock you, places the package inside, then relocks the doorway. (It normally won’t recommend Key for those who have pet, and won’t are available in when they hear barking.) As soon as the doorway unlocks, the Cloud Cam starts recording — and transmits a live stream from the whole factor. It’s a surreal just a few seconds.

“correct the problem” in case your property will get broken. (In the small print, additionally you accept arbitration, as opposed to a suit, if something goes really wrong.)

Amazon’s motorists earned kudos for discretion. Many of them opened up the doorway sufficient to slip inside a package. Not one of them stopped to make use of the bathroom .. Not one of them required a cookie — not really after i set some through the door having a card.

The Amazon . com personnel are without doubt aware they’re under digital surveillance. Amazon’s systems monitor their location before they are able to unlock the doorway, so when they lock it again.

If perhaps it labored

Be worried about a creepy driver switched to you need to be the start of Amazon . com Key’s problems.

Another reason smart home tech is a tough slog for Plastic Valley is the fact that houses are available in a lot of shapes and ages. And there is a lot on the line if tech fails where you reside.

My Amazon . com Key setup was finicky, despite the fact that Amazon . com sent anyone to help. My installer was friendly, but found an issue with my decades-old door he wasn’t approved to fix — the place in which the deadbolt entered the frame slightly misaligned. I compensated a locksmith professional $100 for any new strike plate, that was Amazon’s recommendation.

That wasn’t enough. Every so often, my Kwikset Convert lock constitutes a screech that will alarm a hyena, and flashes an alert within the Key application about jamming.

A whole lot worse, that happened throughout an Amazon . com delivery. Fortunately, the motive force stored trying before the door really locked. Amazon . com said it thinks my lock isn’t correctly installed. I additionally may have were built with a better experience and among the 2 other compatible smart locks, whose designs are bulkier.

I Then heard Amazon . com Key got hacked. Researchers found a means a rogue delivery person might cause the safety camera to freeze after which potentially lurk within your house. Amazon . com said customers weren’t really in danger, but pressed an application update to supply faster notifications when the camera goes offline during delivery.

The greatest mind scratcher: Of eight in-home deliveries, Amazon . com missed its original delivery window on four of these. It sent some inaccurate alerts about when packages might arrive, that is especially unnerving when motorists may be entering your home. (The packages all showed up eventually, each day or even more late.) This can be a record-breaking shopping online season, but this is actually the area of the business I expect Amazon . com to obtain right.

To talk about online access with family and buddies, you need to provide them with a unique code to SMS (yes, text) to unlock the doorway.

The Important Thing-compatible tresses are produced by Yale and Kwikset, yet do not work with individuals brands’ own apps. Additionally they can’t interact with a house-home security system or smart-home gadgets that actually work with Apple and Google software.

And, obviously, the lock can’t be utilized by companies apart from Amazon . com. No Walmart, no UPS, no local dog-walking company.

Keeping tight control of Key may help Amazon . com guarantee security or perhaps a better experience. “Our focus with smart house is on making things simpler for purchasers — such things as supplying easy charge of connected devices together with your voice using Alexa, simplifying tasks like reordering household goods and receiving packages,” the Amazon . com spokeswoman stated.

But Amazon . com is barely hiding its goal: It wants is the operating-system for your house. Amazon . com states Key will ultimately use dog walkers, maids along with other service workers who bill through its marketplace. An Amazon . com security alarm service and grocery delivery from Whole-foods can’t be remote. (Walmart has announced intends to test delivering groceries right to the refrigerator having a smart lock maker known as August.)

Amazon . com said it doesn’t get access to data about whenever you lock you or even the video feed in the Cloud Cam — both good stuff. But surely its data team can also be crunching the figures about how Key changes your consumer behavior, especially regardless if you are buying more stuff from Amazon . com. 

What’s so bad about residing in an exciting-Amazon . com house? The organization doesn’t also have the very best prices, or act with techniques that benefit consumers. For instance, it’s presently inside a spat with Google, whose smart-home products like Chromecast and Google Home aren’t transported by Amazon . com — and who retaliated by blocking use of its YouTube apps on some Amazon . com products. (Develop, the two of you!)

Amazon . com Key did produce some reassurance about delivery thievery. However the trade-off is giving more control of your existence to some company that most likely already has an excessive amount of.

On Amazon . com

Whenever your kid attempts to say ‘Alexa’ before ‘Mama

Amazon . com is which makes it simpler for teens to make use of their parents’ charge cards

Amazon . com and Google are fighting, meaning consumers lose

How Google Home and also the Amazon . com Echo provide a new twist towards the telephone]

An announcement from Amazon . com on Tuesday did not address Google’s claims but stated the online retail giant didn’t block consumer services which Amazon . com users could still achieve the web site form of around the Echo Show and Fire TV. “Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer use of a wide open website,” Amazon’s statement stated. “We aspire to resolve this with Google as quickly as possible.Inches

These types of conflicts could be confusing for consumers who most likely would like to watch whatever they like around the devices they have bought.

“It’s pretty childish that companies as large as Amazon . com and Google can’t exercise an offer which makes sense for each of them, therefore enhancing the industry to develop and, rather, let consumers and content proprietors suffer,” stated media analyst Dan Rayburn of Frost & Sullivan.

This is not the very first time the 2 companies have sparred over services. Google pulled YouTube in the Echo Show in September, stating that the way in which Amazon . com had implemented YouTube did not adhere to Google’s tos. YouTube came back towards the Echo Show recently, prior to being pulled again . Variety reported that Amazon’s latest implementation also had some terms-of-service issues, that have been associated with the actual way it used voice instructions.

The spat also exposes the way the interdependent condition of movies online — by which companies frequently work with their competitors hoping reaching more viewers — can hurt consumers. Also it highlights just how much control the businesses which make devices and run video services have and just how willing they’re to make use of individuals products as bargaining chips with each other.

Meanwhile, another lengthy-standing movies online tiff gets (somewhat) resolved. By Wednesday, Apple TV proprietors are finally in a position to add Amazon’s Prime Video for their devices — about six several weeks after Apple leader Tim Prepare guaranteed the service was coming. The 2 companies apparently had trouble negotiating while putting on the hats of each partner and competitors.

There’s no obligation for Amazon . com to hold products of any sort, and the organization has worked out its editorial decision over its products before. But it is definitely not helping Amazon . com or its consumers for the organization to limit its selection — particularly eliminating such popular competing products as Apple TV — without real justification.

“Consumers shouldn’t be injured in these types of business disputes. Both Amazon . com and Google have to take their customers first rather of putting them from a rock along with a hard place because of corporate warfare.” stated John Bergmayer, senior counsel in the consumer advocacy group Public Understanding.

When Amazon . com stopped selling Apple TV and Chromecast on its site 2 yrs ago, the organization gave the skinny excuse it had become “important the movies online players we sell interact well with Prime Video to prevent customer confusion.”

Amazon . com didn’t immediately respond when requested if Apple TV will go back to Amazon’s online shop since it supports Amazon . com Prime. By duration of writing, the merchandise wasn’t for auction on Amazon . com.

Google Overlooked China. Will It Achieve India?

JODHPUR, India — Each month, four million more Indians get online. They include people like Manju, a 35-year-old seamstress within this town of ancient castles, who got her first internet phone a week ago.

“It’s necessary that i can learn something totally new,Inches stated Manju, who uses just one name. She am happy to uncover YouTube along with other streaming video services that they rapidly burned through her monthly data plan. Now her phone carrier, Reliance Jio, has relegated her to some trickle of low-speed data until the following month, when her plan resets.

“It’s all finished,” she complained on Monday whenever a Google investigator found visit to check out her online habits.

Google, which overlooked an upswing from the internet in China, is decided not to help make the same mistake in India. It’s marshaled a number of its best developers, designers and researchers to learn how to adapt or completely re-think items like YouTube for everyone the requirements of mobile online users with smaller sized budgets but big aspirations.

Most of the world’s greatest tech companies — Facebook, Google and Amazon . com in the U . s . States, and Alibaba and Tencent from China — are rivaling local companies like Reliance, Flipkart and Paytm to win their loyalties. With 1.3 billion people, just one-third who are presently online, India has huge moneymaking possibility of the help that secure a foothold.

In an event on Tuesday in New Delhi, Google unveiled its most ambitious India-focused product to date — a brand new form of its Android operating-system and related apps created for low-finish smartphones. The package includes YouTube Go, which enables users to simply download and share videos using their buddies, and Google Go, a variant of their internet search engine that can help users learn more by tapping the smartphone screen rather of typing a question.

“We need to learn how to build the best products on their behalf,Inches stated Caesar Sengupta, google’s v . p . who oversees Next Billion Users, its unit focused on creating products for emerging markets like India, South america and Indonesia. “This is an extremely high priority for Google.”

New Indian users have fundamental phones, which will make it hard to allow them to run certain apps in order to store big files like videos. Data plans are restricted, and despite a telecom cost war which has cut the cost of the megabyte of information up to 97 percent, some clients are not able to pay for more data once they go out.

Google’s Android software and apps such as the Chrome browser, Maps and YouTube are frequently incorporated with smartphones. But Facebook also makes items that vie for that attention of Indian consumers and advertisers.

Actually, WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram — all Facebook products — occupied three from the top six spots this season once the research firm Application Annie measured how Indians spent time online.

Arjun Vishwanathan, affiliate director of emerging technologies at IDC India, stated that search, Google’s core expertise, was “culturally not too vital that you Indians.”

“Where Google scores is being able to make it simple and it convenient while letting the customer determine what she would like to complete without having to be in her own face,” he stated. Google also offers huge amounts of data about its users that may be useful for developing new items and targeting ads, he stated.

Google continues to be serving Indian online users as lengthy as the organization has existed. But intense efforts to evolve Google’s products for India — and invent brand new ones for everyone Indian customers — started in serious in 2015 after Sundar Pichai, who had been born in India, grew to become Google’s leader.

In the last couple of several weeks, Mr. Sengupta’s team continues to be releasing new items like Tez, a payments application, and Datally, an information-saving application. On Tuesday, Google announced that Maps will offer you driving directions for motorcycles and 2-wheeled scooters, that are common types of transportation here.

All the jobs are supported by a comprehensive research effort by Google in India along with other developing countries to look at how people really use their phones, what needs are unmet and just how their apps are received.

Datally would be a product of these research. Whenever a user opens it, a giant screen appears and shows just how much mobile data the individual has utilized, measurable during the day, week or month. Additionally, it shows which apps are utilizing the information and enables users to bar some or these. A current tweak added an element for locating nearby Wi-Fi locations.

Ted McCarthy, a Google consumer experience investigator, is at Jodhpur on Sunday and Monday to collect feedback on Datally and the other application, a voice-controlled va that is built to focus on a $23 feature phone. He quizzed Indians regarding their internet use, the habits of rats, even the way they commuted to operate, collecting information to consider to they.

Among the interview subjects, Deepika Panwar, 22, works inside a bookkeeping job while attempting to begin a clothing and jewellery business. The majority of her salary, Ms. Panwar stated, would go to her parents to assist support her more youthful brother and sister. She spends 179 rupees per month, or about $2.77, for any mobile phone line with one gigabyte of information.

She stated her monthly data pack was frequently gone in 15 days as she browsed YouTube for fashion videos, used WhatsApp or surfed the net.

When Mr. McCarthy demonstrated her Datally, Ms. Panwar rapidly understood what it really involved. “It is showing me what each application does,Inches she stated. “It is a great assistance to me.”

The interviews confirmed to Mr. McCarthy that Datally’s fundamental premise was seem: The tool could be helpful to individuals with data constraints. They also revealed a few problems. The app’s Wi-Fi finder had couple of public locations to point out. And also the technical language around the sign-up screen — having a warning the application was developing a virtual private network to watch network traffic — stymied potential users.

On Monday, Mr. McCarthy visited Manju and demonstrated her google’s Assistant on her behalf new Reliance Jio feature phone. The application enables her to talk instructions towards the phone in Hindi or British.

Language is a particular barrier for internet adoption in India. The voice-driven assistant continues to be extremely popular in India, with 28 percent of Google searches conducted by voice.

Initially, the application had trouble understanding her. Before lengthy, she’d it answering her questions.

“I just express it, and it is there,” she stated.

Fear and panic within the HR department as sexual harassment allegations multiply

character on “Saturday Night Live” might have been frazzled and exasperated. But among a deluge of sexual harassment allegations and reports of workplace misconduct, what many human sources managers are feeling is really this: fear and panic.

Individuals would be the three words CEB human sources consultant John Kropp accustomed to describe what he’s seeing and talking with clients because they navigate a flood of complaints along with a growing sense of unease that their company might be next within the headlines.

“They are worried these meteorites might be coming,” he stated, “but other product idea how you can safeguard their property.Inch

But that anxiety is about greater than whether there might be a Harvey Weinstein around the payroll. Kropp yet others state that among the hurry of allegations, human sources managers are grappling having a altering social networking, technology and cultural atmosphere which makes it tougher than ever before to understand how to respond.

“The playbook for H.R., with regards to sexual harassment, is really a 25- to 30-year-old playbook,” stated Kropp, one which has lengthy labored by doing this: Employees made a complaint, H.R. took time to research, and also the matter generally stayed private until it may be resolved. “It’s not fast enough for addressing these problems because they occur now.”

It’s been upended by social networking, as H.R. managers awkwardly wonder how you can handle a #metoo story they continue reading a colleague’s Facebook page that appears to implicate a co-worker. It can prompt questions about what to do when workers are chatting in anonymous workplace chatrooms like Blind, or whenever a worker writes an open blog publish concerning the sexual harassment they faced — as former Uber engineer Susan Fowler did. And it’s bringing in regards to a recognition among newer firms that after many years of recruiting  youthful workers with table tennis tables and beer taps, they might not have h.Ur. pros in place with the skills to handle the present wave of complaints.

Even while, they’re in a tougher position with employees — who could see them as less reliable, because of the current uproar — and much more under scrutiny as top executives and boards of directors grapple using the issue. Employment lawyers say they are listening to boards of company directors who’re establishing committees on sexual harassment and cultural issues. Brande Stellings, an outdoors person in an oversight panel created by twenty-first century Fox’s board, who also leads advisory services for that research and talking to firm Catalyst, said she thinks more companies see directors get involved. “It’s now quite obvious the implications from the risk perspective,” she stated.

Kropp is not the only person sensing alarm bells among individuals who lead personnel departments. Human resource consultants and employment lawyers say their phones happen to be ringing more than ever before and worry has occur as they consider how you can respond.

“We are getting numerous of calls from employers who would like us to assist them to re-evaluate all of their process, to check out their policy, to complete some training,” stated Amy Bess, a partner with Vedder Cost in Washington.

Certainly one of their big concerns is how you can respond at a time of social networking. “For those who have a really public allegation that a person inside your organization has involved in sexual harassment or any other inappropriate behavior, information mill panicking about how you can deal with it,” she stated. “Awaiting one or two weeks to perform a thorough analysis is most likely not likely to satisfy constituents.”

Consequently, she states, some information mill jumping to termination decisions rapidly: “They’re from a rock along with a hard place, and lots of are opting to simply eliminate the individual.Inch Less than 48 hrs passed between when NBC News chairman Andy Lack stated the network received an in depth complaint from your worker alleging inappropriate sexual behavior by “Today” host Matt Lauer and the announcement of Lauer’s termination.

Kropp states the #metoo campaign, by which women shared tales on social networking of past encounters with harassment, can lead to delicate situations for human sources managers. When they visit a story on the colleague’s Facebook page that seems like the perpetrator may have been a co-worker or boss, it could appear as an invasion of privacy to part of and keep these things share sensitive details. “However if you simply avoid anything about this, you are exposing your organization to legal and reputational risk,” he stated.

Bess said she’s faced questions regarding that from clients, mainly in the aftermath from the #metoo campaign, noting it’s similar advice she gives about how a company should respond when they hear rumors or gossip — consider it. “They ask, ‘I saw this worker publish something on Facebook, have i got an obligation to research it?’ The solution, typically, is ‘yes’ whether it implicates conduct in the workplace,” she states.

Another new issue human sources managers face is how to handle anonymous chat apps that allow employees discuss workplace issues. To illustrate Blind, which lets workers join a piece current email address to be able to verify their employment but then be a part of an anonymous digital water cooler conversation.

“There’s lots of H.R. people on the website,Inch stated Kropp, talking about the application, that they notes is well-liked by tech companies. “How can you handle that? It’s another illustration of one of these simple places where there’s a lot information which others can obtain access to, including things about sexual harassment at the company, that simply never surfaced ten years ago.”

For example, after former Uber engineer Fowler stated on her behalf personal blog that her complaints were overlooked by H.R., the typical time allocated to the Blind application by Uber employees, stated Blind’s mind of U.S. operations, Alex Shin, leaped from around thirty minutes a day to greater than four hrs, and also has settled back lower to around 50 minutes. “Which was a large level for all of us,Inch stated Shin, who stated user growth has multiplied five occasions since Fowler’s publish. The application is presently centered on the tech industry, but he wishes to expand it to sectors like finance and retail the coming year.

Technologies are also rewriting the rules for how rapidly such allegations are addressed. With clear evidence more frequently available by means of emails, texts or any other electronic posts, stated John Alan Doran, a Phoenix-based partner using the law practice Sherman & Howard, “the times of he-stated, she-stated have basically been eliminated by technology.” More and more, “somebody’s had a screenshot somewhere, and the kind of evidence that’s laid before an H.R. person has morphed into being either irrefutable or provably bogus.”

Consequently, he stated, the rise in electronic evidence has dramatically cut short your window companies need to respond. “These issues have switched right into a drop-everything scenario,” Doran stated. “If somebody comes forward with electronic evidence, the response will probably be much more quick and — for much better or worse — much more severe.”

And perhaps human sources staff aren’t in position to cope with such complaints. David Lewis, who runs a talking to firm in Norwalk, Conn., stated that recently, many newer companies have experienced personnel managers focused on attracting and retaining employees inside a tight labor market, adding perks to mimic the job environments in Plastic Valley.

“H.Ur. focus continues to be twisted into individuals who had titles like ‘chief of fun,’ ” he stated. “If you have hired someone more for his or her capability to retain or attract people, but aren’t able to coping with complex worker relations, individuals would be the companies I see really rethinking exactly what the H.R. role is about.Inch

New tools are emerging to let employees go directly to chief executives and boards of directors with sexual harassment complaints. A site known as AllVoices set to produce early the coming year will let employees bypass H.R. and anonymously answer structured questions regarding their encounters with harassment and discrimination. Aggregated, anonymous results will be compiled inside a “dashboard” for that Chief executive officer and also the board.

The founder, former twentieth century Fox film studio executive Claire Schmidt, stated she got the concept for that site after understanding that “many people I spoken to who’d experienced harassment really didn’t feel safe reporting that harassment at the office, to H.R. in order to their bosses,” she stated. “These were concerned about retaliation. These were concerned about the way they were perceived.”

The site may help prevent information from getting filtered through H.R., or keep senior executives from having the ability to say they were not aware of a problem. Yet that may also generate a risk for H.R., said Philadelphia-based employment lawyer Jonathan Segal, where they’re viewed as less potent at managing sexual harassment complaints than some employees discover their whereabouts today.

“Some argue H.R. is insufficiently effective,” Segal stated. “But when they’re not incorporated, they’re not really effective.”

Still, at a lot of companies, stated Lewis yet others, a large fear for H.R. remains a concern that the organization’s cultural problems are not taken seriously enough.

H.R. managers “who know about cultural issues dogging their company haven’t had the ability to get management to maneuver the needle, to say ‘hey, we’re next, we’re the next company individuals are covering,A ” he stated. “You can observe them sticking the storyline within the newspaper before [executives] and saying ‘doesn’t this seem nearly the same as us?’ “

Read also:

Eight women say Charlie Rose sexually harassed them — with nudity, groping and lewd calls

More information mill buying insurance to pay for executives who sexually harass employees

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Inside the Revolution at Etsy


The first time Josh Silverman addressed the staff of Etsy as their newly installed chief executive, he tried to connect with a work force known for its diversity, idealism and sincerity.

“Hello,” he said. “My name is Josh. I identify as male. My preferred pronouns are ‘him’ and ‘he.’ Most people just call me Josh.”

It was May 3, and Mr. Silverman was speaking to a roomful of traumatized employees. The day before, Etsy had fired 80 people, the first big layoffs at the online marketplace for handmade and vintage arts and crafts. Among those ousted was Etsy’s beloved chief executive of six years, Chad Dickerson.

Now Mr. Silverman — an Etsy board member but an unknown to most employees — stood in the Etsytorium, trying to win over a hostile crowd. His earnest introduction was an olive branch of sorts, an effort to signal that he was attuned to Etsy’s vibrant gay and transgender community, and would be respectful of the company’s distinctive culture. But to many in attendance, his remarks came off as tone deaf, and his inability to read the room foreshadowed sweeping changes that would soon transform Etsy.

Charlie Brown sits next to his owner, Neha Geraghty, while she works in the library at Etsy. The dog-friendly office has big windows and unusual work spaces.CreditHolly Pickett for The New York Times

The drama began last November, when Mr. Silverman joined the Etsy board and began asking tough questions of management. Soon after that, an activist investor took a stake in Etsy and called for the sale of the company. Then powerful private equity firms began buying shares, stoking fears of a takeover. The board was under pressure, and in early May abruptly fired Mr. Dickerson and installed Mr. Silverman.

On the same day as the chief executive changeover, the company announced its first layoffs. Within weeks of assuming control, Mr. Silverman shut down several projects that had been in the works for months. Not long after that, he fired another 140 employees.

It was a dizzying series of events at a company that has long held itself up as a paragon of righteous business practices. Etsy’s founders believed its business model — helping mostly female entrepreneurs make a living online — was inherently just. Employees shared their emotions freely, often crying at the office. Perks included generous paid parental leave, free organic food and a pet-friendly workplace. Etsy was certified as a B Corp by a nonprofit called B Lab, denoting its particularly high social and environmental standards.

But once Etsy went public in 2015, it was evaluated just like any other company traded on the stock market. By late last year, expenses were growing fast. And even as the company reported $88 million in revenues during the third quarter, it posted a net loss of $2.5 million. After a few quarters of tepid results, investors grew impatient and a classic clash of corporate governance came spilling into view — how would a company like Etsy balance the short-term demands of its shareholders with its high-minded long-term mission?

By some important metrics, Etsy appears to be improving under Mr. Silverman’s leadership. Revenues are up, as are “gross merchandise sales” — the total value of goods being sold on Etsy. The company’s stock has risen about 50 percent in the six months since he took over.

By other measures, however, Etsy is barely recognizable. The “Values-Aligned Business” team, which oversaw the company’s social and environmental efforts, was dismantled. A new focus on profitability has sapped many employees of their enthusiasm. A workplace that once encouraged workers to express their feelings has clammed up. Etsy is no longer a B Corp.

Today, as Mr. Silverman continues to push for change and investors keep close watch on the stock, what’s most frustrating to some close observers of the company is that Etsy seems to have given up so much to gain so little.

“Etsy had the potential to be one of the truly great ones,” said Matt Stinchcomb, an early employee who now runs the Good Work Institute, which was originally an Etsy charitable foundation before being spun off last year. “But it looks like they are cutting anything that’s not essential to the business. This is a cautionary tale of capitalism.”

Abby Glassenberg, one of Etsy’s first sellers, works on her most recent design, a blue puppet, in her home sewing studio in Wellesley, Mass.CreditKayana Szymczak for The New York Times

A Godsend

Etsy was founded in 2005 by a group of friends including Robert Kalin, an amateur furniture maker who was looking for a better way to sell his goods online. To explain the power of Etsy’s community of buyers and sellers, Mr. Kalin often read aloud from a children’s book, Swimmy, which is about a school of fish finding strength in numbers. Mr. Kalin became the chief executive, and his sensitive affect set the tone for the company culture.

Makers and crafts enthusiasts flocked to the site, grateful that there was somewhere besides eBay and Amazon where they could buy and sell jewelry, furniture and clothing online. Abby Glassenberg was one of the site’s first sellers, using it to find a market for her handmade stuffed animals, and has chronicled Etsy over the years with her popular blog and podcast. “At this point it was really hard to sell online,” she said. “Etsy was a godsend.”

As Etsy grew, it eschewed traditional corporate customs in favor of a more freewheeling approach. Building consensus was more important than moving fast. Employees believed Etsy could be equally beneficial to buyers, sellers, staff and the planet. The idealism was infectious, and many people turned down higher salaries from other companies to work for Etsy.

Yet for all its efforts to stand apart, Etsy followed the established playbook when it came to financing its growth. Venture capitalists poured some $85 million into the company, making a takeover or initial public offering all but inevitable.

In 2011, the board decided to replace Mr. Kalin with Mr. Dickerson, who was then the chief technology officer. As C.E.O., Mr. Dickerson oversaw dramatic growth. When he took Etsy public in 2015, the company had 1.4 million active sellers, nearly 20 million buyers and had gross merchandise sales of $2 billion a year.

Etsy executives and employees, including Chad Dickerson, center right, the former chief executive, celebrated the company’s initial public offering in 2015.CreditMark Lennihan/Associated Press

True to form, Etsy found ways to make its initial public offering inclusive. It marketed shares to small investors and Etsy sellers and tried to concentrate shares in a smaller than usual number of institutional holders. Besides upholding the company’s egalitarian ethos, the effort had a strategic rationale. The hope was that such a shareholder base might insulate Etsy from some of the short-term pressures of the stock market.

It didn’t work. In the first nine months after the offering, the stock fell 75 percent. Etsy was still spending heavily on growth and marketing, and while revenues were up in early quarters, the company was unprofitable. Insiders were selling shares, creating more supply than demand for the stock. It didn’t help that Amazon launched a competing vertical, Handmade at Amazon.

Yet even as Etsy grew to number more than 1,000 staffers, the company’s unorthodox culture survived. Mr. Dickerson held weekly “Office Hours,” when any employee could ask him about anything, and spoke openly about his doubts, admitting when he didn’t know the answer to a question.

Etsy became a B Corp in 2012, completing a certification process that put the company on par with Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s in terms of social and environmental bona fides. Meditation and yoga classes were offered during the workday. Companywide meetings, known as “Y’all Hands,” featured musical performances by employees. New mothers and fathers got six months of fully paid parental leave. The company moved into an old Jehovah’s Witness building in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn, giving it an eco-friendly face-lift. Men and women shared bathrooms, which were adorned with signs that read “we believe that gender is not binary.”

Gender neutral bathroom signage at Etsy offices.CreditHolly Pickett for The New York Times

The emotional, individualistic culture had its drawbacks. The emphasis on go-it-alone craftsmanship meant Etsy managed its own data centers, instead of using more efficient options like Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud. With everyone empowered to express themselves, there was a lot of sharing going on. Inboxes were stuffed with unnecessary emails, which dragged on productivity.

A Sense of Urgency

On Nov. 15, 2016, with little fanfare, Josh Silverman joined the Etsy board. Mr. Silverman had been a senior executive at eBay and chief executive of Skype. After leaving an executive role at American Express in 2015, Mr. Silverman, who is now 48, said he wanted to take on one more big job, but was waiting for the right opportunity. “I was patient and picky,” he said. “This was my keystone.”

Mr. Silverman said he came to his first board meeting prepared to listen. But in the Etsy boardroom, seated around a large custom-made table featuring gold inlay, a large owl sculpture looming over the directors, he said he was troubled by what he heard from Mr. Dickerson. Expenses were growing faster than revenues. Sales on the site were up, but the rate of growth was slowing.

As Mr. Dickerson tried to move the meeting on to topics including international expansion, Mr. Silverman spoke up. “I don’t think we’re big at all,” he told the board. “We’re at the early stages.”

Mr. Silverman pressed Mr. Dickerson to get more aggressive about the rate of growth, and called for a renewed focus on increasing sales. Privately, he came away concerned about the company’s trajectory. “There was not a sense of crisis,” Mr. Silverman said.

Senior employees at the company during this period say that Mr. Dickerson was already pressing the team to accelerate the rate of sales growth, and that he had encouraged employees to read “A Sense of Urgency,” a management book by John Kotter.

In March, things got worse for Mr. Dickerson. Black and White Capital, a small hedge fund, took a stake in Etsy and sent a private letter to the board, saying it was insufficiently focused on sales growth, that operations were inefficient, and that the company should “explore strategic alternatives” — a euphemism for selling the company. Soon after that, TPG and Dragoneer, two powerful private equity firms, bought into the company’s stock. Among members of the board, a consensus emerged that Mr. Dickerson had to go.

“The house was burning and nobody was paying attention,” said Fred Wilson, the co-founder of Union Square Ventures, which was an early investor in Etsy, and the board chairman. “Chad got the company about as far as he was going to get it. We needed somebody to take it to the next level.”

Instead of the soft skills that Mr. Dickerson brought, the board wanted someone with experience in marketing, software and e-commerce, someone who was comfortable at a big public company. In other words, someone like Mr. Silverman.

All new employees make a small hoop weaving to be hung in the main entrance at Etsy’s headquarters in Brooklyn.CreditHolly Pickett for The New York Times

The Soul of the Company

At 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, Mr. Dickerson called an emergency meeting in the Etsytorium, a cavernous conference room inside headquarters. Usually a loose public speaker, Mr. Dickerson read from a script, his voice shaking as he made an announcement: He was laying off 80 employees — the largest cuts in Etsy’s history. And, he said, he had been fired by the board.

Mr. Dickerson broke into tears, and sat down to steady himself. Many in the audience openly wept.

Mr. Dickerson had learned that he was being replaced only days earlier, and his termination was effective immediately. Even by the unsentimental standards of corporate America, it was an abrupt transition. That night, a large contingent went drinking at local beer garden.

The next morning, Mr. Dickerson, Mr. Silverman and Mr. Wilson all addressed the company. Mr. Dickerson told the crowd he was hung over. Mr. Wilson made some perfunctory remarks. “If you’re going to blame anyone for this decision, I want you to blame me,” he said.

Finally, Mr. Silverman took the microphone, addressing his new staff for the first time. After introducing himself (and noting his gender), Mr. Silverman spoke about his background and experience. He said he wanted to preserve what was best about Etsy and help the company grow.

When he began taking questions, the room turned hostile.

“Yesterday felt impersonal, unempathetic and decidedly un-Etsy,” the first employee said, according to a recording of the meeting. “What is the new leadership planning to do to earn our trust and maintain the empathetic and human culture that is the entire reason that many of us chose to work here?”

“Trust is earned, not granted,” Mr. Silverman replied. “Keep an open mind, and we’ll get to know each other.”

Employees saw Mr. Dickerson one last time. The next Friday, he came back to the office to give a Last Lecture, a traditional Etsy send-off. Mr. Dickerson spoke openly about his personal life and his time with Etsy. Everybody cried.

Best Intentions

Mr. Silverman wasted no time making changes. His sole focus, he said, was speeding up the pace of sales growth.

He identified 30 projects that had the best chance of boosting sales on the site. Etsy began giving buyers more assurances, telling them that it didn’t share credit card information with sellers, and that the company would refund their purchases if something went wrong. It began encouraging sellers to compare prices before listing an item. And for the first time, Etsy is running sales and promoting the holidays. Each of these changes, Mr. Silverman said, resulted in modest but measurable sales increases.

Not everything worked. A move to display all-inclusive pricing, instead of the cost of the good and shipping separately, hurt sales and upset sellers. And a new way of displaying search filters didn’t move the needle. “More than half of the things we try don’t work,” Mr. Silverman said. “But we’re trying things.”

Other projects were shut down. Etsy Studio, a new marketplace for arts and crafts supplies that had consumed significant resources, was sidelined. Plans for further international expansion were put on hold. A marketing campaign was scrapped.

At the same time, Mr. Silverman began redrawing what he said was a convoluted organizational chart. Too many people were managers, he said, and too many managers had too few reports. On June 21, less than two months after taking over, Mr. Silverman announced another, larger round of layoffs.

Despite the tumult, Mr. Silverman said progress was being made as small tweaks to the site began to pay off. “We subtracted people and we’re getting a lot more done,” Mr. Silverman said. “There’s a lot more focus, a lot more urgency.”

Several current Etsy employees said they appreciated a new sense of direction and accountability, and that the company was becoming more innovative. “The tolerance for risk has gone up significantly,” said Linda Kozlowski, the chief operating officer. “There’s been a cultural shift of accountability in a good way.”

Update from Etsy CEO Josh SilvermanCreditVideo by Etsy Success

With sales up, Etsy is highlighting successful sellers with a series of videos. But not all users are happy. For years, sellers and buyers have complained that as Etsy has grown more popular, mass-produced goods have flooded the site, making it harder to find handmade items, and harder for sellers to make a living.

“They’re doing their best to mimic eBay and Amazon,” said Amy Stringer-Mowat, co-founder of American Heirloom, a Brooklyn company that makes customized bamboo cutting boards. “It’s hard to bite the hand that feeds you, but that’s the best way to describe how I feel about what’s going on.”

Ms. Stringer-Mowat’s company got started on Etsy, but she said sales on the site have slumped in recent months. She stopped hearing from Etsy employees in the marketing department who had helped her promote her business, and she said Etsy was pressuring her to offer cheaper shipping rates, which cuts into her profits.

Amy Stringer-Mowat, right, and her husband, Bill Mowat, have sold their American Heirloom products through Etsy for the past seven years.CreditHolly Pickett for The New York Times

“I’ve seen Etsy through all these changes,” said Ms. Glassenberg, who has noted a dramatic change in tone from the company on her blog. “And for the first time, I’m worried.”

Inside Etsy, Mr. Silverman’s reorganization has upended parts of the company once considered sacrosanct. Last month, Etsy changed its mission statement. Gone was a verbose commitment “to reimagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world.” Instead, the mission was reduced to just three words, “Keep commerce human,” accompanied by a spreadsheet outlining its goals for economic, social and ecological impact. And because remaining a B Corp would require the company to change its legal standing in Delaware, where it is incorporated, Etsy will let that certification lapse.

Mr. Silverman insists Etsy is still a mission-driven company. Many of the perks remain in place, and the company is lobbying in Washington, including for the protection of net neutrality. But Mr. Silverman says Etsy’s greatest potential for impact is helping sellers — many of whom are women running small businesses — increase their sales. “The company had the best of intentions, but wasn’t great at tying that to impact,” Mr. Silverman said. “Being good doesn’t cut the mustard.”

On Glassdoor, the career reviews website, Etsy’s overall company rating has declined sharply since May. Many of the anonymous reviews portray a company in decline. After The New York Times asked Etsy about the ratings, a member of the human relations team asked employees to talk up the company on Glassdoor. In a matter of days, several new glowing reviews appeared with titles like “Why I love Etsy.”

Opportunities to Grow

On the afternoon of Nov. 6, Etsy reported strong quarterly earnings. Sales, revenues and adjusted profits were all up. In after-hours trading, Etsy shares spiked. When the markets opened the next morning, however, the stock slumped. The results, fine as they were, were not good enough.

Three days later, Mr. Silverman was back in the Etsytorium, addressing his staff. The quarter was proof that changes to the company were paying off, he said, suggesting that the tumult of the past six months had not been in vain. “The quarter that we just reported, that you all worked so hard to deliver, means so much to Etsy and to all the people who rely on us,” Mr. Silverman said. “I’m super fired up.”

Etsy will likely grow with Mr. Silverman as chief executive, but it may never again be the sensitive community fostered by Mr. Kalin and nurtured by Mr. Dickerson. Once a beacon of socially responsible business practices with a starry-eyed work force that believed it could fundamentally reimagine commerce, Etsy has over the past year become a case study in how the short-term pressures of the stock market can transform even the most idealistic of companies.

“There’s only so much wiggle room as a public company,” said Mr. Stinchcomb, the early employee. “If you really want to build a company that works for people and the planet, capitalism isn’t the solution.”

Mr. Wilson, the chairman of the board, dismisses that as sentimental hooey.

“To all the people who say taking Etsy public was a mistake, I say that’s ridiculous,” Mr. Wilson said. “ There are some people who will say, ‘Well, it’s not right for me. I like the old culture.’ Well, I’m sorry about that. Going public was the best thing that ever happened to this company.”

Follow David Gelles on Twitter @dgelles and email him at [email protected]

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