A German cartoonist has apologized for causing offense by depicting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as a hooked-nose octopus, after Jewish groups complained it resembled Nazi propaganda.
Cartoonist Burkhard Mohr says he had intended to make a point about Facebook devouring rival WhatsApp and didn’t realize the parallels to the Nazis’ anti-Semitic portrayal of Jews as hungry tentacle monsters.
The cartoon was published Friday in early editions of the Munich daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Later editions showed an empty hole where Zuckerberg’s face had been.
“I’m very sorry about this misunderstanding and any readers’ feelings I may have hurt,” Mohr said in an email to The Associated Press on Tuesday.
“Anti-Semitism and racism are ideologies that are totally alien to me,” he added.
Efraim Zuroff, the head Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, said he wasn’t convinced by the apology.
“He drew a caricature that is so reminiscent of Der Stuermer caricatures that it’s inconceivable to me he didn’t realize this,” said Zuroff, referring to the weekly propaganda paper that the Nazis used to whip up hatred against Jews. “Maybe he should pay a visit to their archives.”
I only started using WhatsApp a couple of months ago, after a prospective CouchSurfing host in Jakarta asked me if I had it on my mobile. It’s an elegantly simple messaging app — as simple as sending a text, but without incurring your carrier’s SMS fees.
Facebook just bought WhatsApp for $19 billion. Here’s Forbes’ profile of the creator of the app, a Ukrainian emigré who once depended on food stamps.
Jan Koum picked a meaningful spot to sign the $19 billion deal to sell his company WhatsApp to Facebook earlier today. Koum, cofounder Brian Acton and venture capitalist Jim Goetz of Sequoia drove a few blocks from WhatsApp’s discreet headquarters in Mountain View to a disused white building across the railroad tracks, the former North County Social Services office where Koum, 37, once stood in line to collect food stamps. That’s where the three of them inked the agreement to sell their messaging phenom -which brought in a miniscule $20 million in revenue last year — to the world’s largest social network.
With 450 million monthly users and a million more signing up each day, WhatsApp was just too far ahead in the international mobile messaging race for Facebook to catch up, as you can see in the chart above we made last year. Facebook either had to surrender the linchpin to mobile social networking abroad, or pony up and acquire WhatsApp before it got any bigger. It chose the latter.
Facebook recently said on its earnings call a few weeks ago that its November relaunch of Messenger led to a 70% increase in usage, with many more messages being sent. But much of that was likely in the United States and Canada where the standalone messaging app war is still to be won.
Internationally, Facebook was late to the Messenger party. It didn’t launch until 2011 after Facebook bought Beluga, and at the time it was centered around group messaging where SMS was especially weak.
WhatsApp launched in 2009 with the right focus on a lean, clean, and fast mobile messaging app. And while the international messaging market is incredibly fragmented, it was able to gain a major presence where Messenger didn’t as you can see in this chart above that we made about a year ago.
Unlike PC-based social networking, there is no outstanding market leader in mobile messaging. Still, WhatsApp absolutely dominates in markets outside of the U.S. like Europe and India. It’s also impossible for Facebook to acquire certain other Asian competitors like WeChat, which is the one hope of Chinese mega-giant Tencent to have a global consumer product.
So it’s clear that WhatsApp had strategic interest to Facebook, and we know that the two talked from time to time.
Ryan Lenz posted this on Hate Watch about four days ago,
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is spearheading a campaign to build support for immigration reform among mainstream conservatives by pointing out what his advocacy group calls the “shocking extremism” of the anti-immigrant movement.
A New Jersey judge has ordered a woman to perform 500 hours of community service for scamming relatives and others into thinking she was dying of cancer.
Lori Stilley pleaded guilty to theft by deception for receiving nearly $12,000 in donations from more than 300 people in 20 states, who even paid for her wedding. She was sentenced Thursday.
Prosecutors say the 41-year-old former Delran resident told relatives and posted on Facebook in 2011 that she had been diagnosed with bladder cancer. But they became suspicious when Stilley said she was feeling better.
Hey, did you know that Obama didn’t beat Romney because he ran a much better campaign, or because Romney was a lousy candidate, or because of the shifting demographics of the nation, or because Republican policies are way more unpopular than anyone on the right can bear to admit?
No, Obama won because he cheated!
Thanks to Stewart Baker over at the Volokh Conspiracy (which is normally not quite this batshit crazy), the claim is now being made that the Obama campaign’s high-tech doohickeys and GOTV efforts broke the law (specifically the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the same thing Aaron Swartz was prosecuted under) by violating Facebook’s Terms of Service, and that the only reason the DoJ didn’t go after them for this criminal conspiracy is, well, I’ll let Baker explain it:
The Obama campaign doesn’t seem to have been deterred by the possibility that it was violating federal law. I can think of at least four reasons why that might be. Three of them are scandals.
Maybe the campaign never thought about the possibility that it was violating federal law. That’s not a scandal, though it strikes me as unlikely that not one of these tech-savvy geeks failed to notice that they were breaching Facebook’s terms of service.
The other possibilities are all much more troubling. Perhaps the campaign, or some official in the administration, checked quietly with Justice and got an assurance that its prosecutors would not inconvenience the campaign. Or perhaps the campaign thought about the risk and said, “Pff! Those guys work for us. They’ll never prosecute, especially if we win.” Or perhaps the Obama campaign went to Facebook and got a quiet waiver of the terms of service.
Of course, Baker’s assumption that the law was broken in the first place is based on a laughably ignorant understanding of Facebook’s ToS and how the internet works. His ridiculous theory gets justifiably torn apart in the comments section of his post, as people point out that if the Obama campaign broke the law so is the very Disqus commenting system the Volokh Conspiracy uses, but something tells me that won’t stop the usual suspects from jumping on this bandwagon…
UPDATE: the original, very silly blog post Baker cites as his ‘authority’, which was originally down when I posted the Page, can be found here.
UPDATE #2: there have now been two other posts about this non-issue over at VC, by Profs. Ilya Somin and Orin Kerr, and both of them take it as a given that the Obama campaign broke the law. The first says yeah, sure, Obama’s guilty, but that’s not why Romney lost, and the second says that the original blog post Baker cited was attempting a reductio ad absurdum on the DoJ’s interpretation of the CFAA, and that while the Obama campaign was guilty so is everybody else. Neither of them make more than a backhanded reference to the incontrovertible fact that the Facebook ToS was not violated, and that no law - under anybody’s interpretation of the CFAA - was broken.
Facebook on Friday revealed that a bug inadvertently exposed the contact information of 6 million of its users via the social network’s download your information (DYI) tool.
The glitch has since been fixed, and affected members are being notified, Facebook said in a post on its security blog.
The problem stemmed from a tool that allows users to upload their contact lists or address books to Facebook so that the social network can serve up friend recommendations or invite people to join Facebook.
“Because of the bug, some of the information used to make friend recommendations and reduce the number of invitations we send was inadvertently stored in association with people’s contact information as part of their account on Facebook,” the company wrote in the blog post.
As a result, when members used Facebook’s DYI tool, which provides them with a copy of all their Facebook data, some were also provided with email addresses or phone numbers they did not previously have. “This contact information was provided by other people on Facebook and was not necessarily accurate, but was inadvertently included with the contacts of the person using the DYI tool,” Facebook said.
The companies are trying to strike a difficult balance between protecting freedom of expression for users while also creating an open and welcoming community.
With the increasing international use of social media, these companies are also learning how to deal with foreign free-speech laws that are often harsher than America’s.
Facebook accused of allowing anti-women content
Facebook came under fire in May for allowing groups to promote violent and hateful rhetoric against women.
Groups with names like “Violently Raping Your Friends Just For Laughs” posted content that included pictures of women beaten, bruised, tied up, drugged and bleeding, with captions such as… ‘Next time don’t get pregnant.’
In response, concerned users convinced advertisers like Dove to pull their advertisements from the site until the content was removed. Dove, whose advertising campaigns promote female empowerment and self-esteem, released a statement saying, “we are working with Facebook to prevent our ads from appearing on these pages.”
“Women, Action, and The Media,” a women’s rights group that wrote an open letter that started the movement, objected to Facebook policies that blocked images of women after a mastectomy or breast-feeding a baby, but allowed “Violently Raping Your Friends Just For Laughs” to continue.
Facebook’s initial response was that these accounts did not violate the terms of service.
After a large social media push in which users tweeted using the hashtag #FBrape, 15 companies removed their advertising from the site. Facebook responded, saying that they would reevaluate their policies.