Facebook UK Paid £35m In Staff Bonuses, But Only £4,327 In Corporation Tax (gu.com) 250

New submitter Phil Ronan writes: After getting away with paying £0 corporate tax in 2013, Facebook UK has announced that its corporate tax payment for 2014 (total revenue: £105 million) is going to be £4,327. This is a tiny fraction of the £35 million pounds given away by the company in staff bonuses over the same period. "The share scheme was worth an average of more than £96,000 for each member of staff. Once salaries were taken into account, a British employee of Facebook received more than £210,000 on average. ... A spokesperson for Facebook said: 'We are compliant with UK tax law, and in fact in all countries where we have operations and offices. We continue to grow our business activities in the UK.' She added that all the firm’s employees paid UK income tax on their payouts."

Europe Code Week 2015: Cocktails At Microsoft, 'Ode To Code' Robot Dancing 15

theodp writes: In case your invite to next week's Europe Code Week 2015 kickoff celebration at the Microsoft Centre in Brussels was lost in the e-mail, you can apparently still invite yourself. "Let's meet to celebrate coding as an empowering competence, key for maintaining our society vibrant and securing the prosperity of our European digital economy," reads the invite at the Microsoft and Facebook-powered All you Need is Code website. And to "keep raising awareness of the importance of computational thinking beyond Code Week," EU Code Week is also running an Ode to Code Video Contest, asking people to make short YouTube videos showing how the event's Ode to Code soundtrack causes uncontrollable robot dancing (video) and flash mobs (video). Things sure have changed since thirty years ago, when schoolchildren were provided with materials like The BASIC Book to foster computational thinking!

EU Court of Justice Declares US-EU Data Transfer Pact Invalid 203

Sique writes: Europe's highest court ruled on Tuesday that a widely used international agreement for moving people's digital data between the European Union and the United States was invalid. The decision, by the European Court of Justice, throws into doubt how global technology giants like Facebook and Google can collect, manage and analyze online information from their millions of users in the 28-member bloc. The court decreed that the data-transfer agreement was invalid as of Tuesday's ruling. New submitter nava68 adds links to coverage at the Telegraph; also at TechWeek Europe. From TechWeek Europe's article: The ruling was the court’s final decision in a data-protection case brought by 27-year-old Austrian law student Max Schrems against the Irish data protection commissioner. That case, in turn, was spurred by Schrems’ concerns over the collection of his personal data by Facebook, whose European headquarters is in Ireland, and the possibility that the data was being handed over to US intelligence services.
Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF Joins Nameless Coalition and Demands Facebook Kills Its Real Names Policy 232

Mark Wilson writes: Facebook has seen heavy criticism for its real names (or 'authentic identities' as they are known to the social network) policy. Over the last year, all manner of rights groups and advocates have tried to convince Facebook to allow users to drop their real name in favor of a pseudonym if they want. Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation is part of the 74-member strong Nameless Coalition and has written to Facebook demanding a rethink on the ground of safety, privacy, and equality. This is far from being the first time Facebook has been called on to allow the use of 'fake names', and the latest letter is signed by LGBT groups, freedom advocates, privacy supporters, and feminist organizations.

Soon-to-Be US Ed Chief Was Almost FB CEO's Ed Chief 30

theodp writes: Before President Obama announced John B. King as his pick to replace outgoing U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan (who is returning to Chicago, where his kids now attend a $30K-a-year private school), King was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's pick to lead Zuck's failed $100 million "reform" effort of Newark's Schools. From The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools?: "[Newark Mayor Cory] Booker asked [NJ Governor Chris] Christie to grant him control of the schools by fiat, but the governor demurred, offering him instead a role as unofficial partner in all decisions and policies, beginning with their joint selection of a 'superstar' superintendent to lead the charge. Booker's first choice was John King, then deputy New York State education commissioner, who had led some of the top-performing charter schools in New York City and Boston and who credited public school teachers with inspiring him to persevere after he was orphaned as a young boy in Brooklyn. [Mark] Zuckerberg and [his wife Priscilla] Chan flew King to Palo Alto for a weekend with them and [Facebook executive Sheryl] Sandberg; Christie hosted him at the governor's beach retreat on the Jersey Shore; and Booker led King and his wife, Melissa, on a tour of Newark, with stops at parks and businesses that hadn't existed before his mayoralty. But after much thought, King turned them down. Zuckerberg, Christie, and Booker expected to arrive at their national model within five years. King believed it could take almost that long to change the system's fundamental procedures and to raise expectations across the city for children and schools. "John's view was that no one has achieved what they're trying to achieve: build an urban school district serving high-poverty kids that gets uniformly strong outcomes," said an acquaintance who talked with King about the offer. "You'd have to invest not only a long period of time but tremendous political capital to get it done." King had questions about a five-year plan overseen by politicians who were likely to seek higher office."

Targeting Tools Help Personalize TV Advertising 60

schwit1 writes: Surgical marketing messages are taken for granted on the Internet. Yet, they are just now finding their way onto television, where the audience is big though harder to target. As brands shift more of their spending to the Web where ads are more precise, the TV industry is pushing back. Using data from cable set-top boxes that track TV viewing, credit cards and other sources, media companies including Comcast's NBCUniversal, Time Warner's Turner, and Viacom are trying to compete with Web giants like Google and Facebook and help marketers target their messages to the right audience. Where can I get adblock for my FiOS?

Meet the Michael Jordan of Sport Coding 103

pacopico writes: Gennady Korotkevich — aka Tourist — has spent a decade ruling the world of sport coding. He dominates TopCoder, Codeforces and just about every tournament sponsored by the likes of Google and Facebook. Bloomberg has profiled Korotkevich's rise through the sport coding ranks and taken a deep look at what makes this sport weirdly wonderful. The big takeaway from the piece seems to be that sport coding has emerged as a way for very young coders to make names for themselves and get top jobs — sometimes by skipping college altogether.

Australian Workplace Tribunal Rules Facebook Unfriending Constitutes "Bullying" 208

An anonymous reader writes: Unfriending employees on Facebook and not saying good morning could constitute workplace bullying, an Australian workplace tribunal has ruled. Australia's Fair Work Commission decided that administrator Lisa Bird had bullied real estate agent Rachael Roberts after unfriending her from Facebook. The commission's deputy president Nicole Wells said the act showed a "lack of emotional maturity" and was "indicative of unreasonable behavior."

Samsung, Facebook's Oculus Plan November Launch For $99 Gear VR Headset 56

An anonymous reader writes: Samsung has unveiled a new version of its virtual reality headset, the Gear VR, that it plans to sell starting in November for $99. The headset will be compatible with all of Samsung's flagship smartphones. "With mobile VR, you only need a great mobile game device and a smartphone," said Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe, speaking at the company's developer conference.

IBM's Watson Is Now Analyzing Your Vacation Photos 117

jfruh writes: IBM's Jeopardy-winning supercomputer Watson is now suite of cloud-based services that developers can use to add cognitive capabilities to applications, and one of its powers is visual analysis. Visual Insights analyzes images and videos posted to services like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, then looks for patterns and trends in what people have been posting. Watson turns what it gleans into structured data, making it easier to load into a database and act upon — which is clearly appealing to marketers and just as clearly carries disturbing privacy implications.

Facebook Finally Delivers On the VRML Dream With Immersive Star Wars Video 58

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook has launched its 360-degree video feature, with an eye to virtual reality and next year's release of the Oculus Rift. Among the showcase videos is a specially rendered 'fly-through' of a scene from new Star Wars movie 'The Force Awakens', allowing the viewer to pan laterally and horizontally as the movie progresses. This kind of immersive video was made possible with Apple's QuickTime VR in the 1990s, but was hampered by the same technological bottlenecks of the period as VRML.

Inside Amazon's Cloud Computing Infrastructure 76

1sockchuck writes: As Sunday's outage demonstrates, the Amazon Web Services cloud is critical to many of its more than 1 million customers. Data Center Frontier looks at Amazon's cloud infrastructure, and how it builds its data centers. The company's global network includes at least 30 data centers, each typically housing 50,000 to 80,000 servers. "We really like to keep the size to less than 100,000 servers per data center," said Amazon CTO Werner Vogels. Like Google and Facebook, Amazon also builds its own custom server, storage and networking hardware, working with Intel to produce processors that can run at higher clockrates than off-the-shelf gear.

Facebook Dislike Hype Exploited In Phishing Campaign 54

An anonymous reader writes: A new Facebook scam is quickly spreading across the social network which plays on the announcement of the highly-anticipated 'Dislike' button. A new scamming campaign is now exploiting impatient Facebook users anxiously awaiting the dislike button addition, by tricking them into believing that they can click on a link to gain early access to the feature. Once the unsuspecting victim selects a link, they are led to a malicious website, which enables access to their private Facebook accounts and allows the hackers to share further scam links on their behalf.

Girls-Only Computer Camps Formed At Behest of Top Google, Facebook Execs 449

theodp writes: Reporting on Google exec Susan Wojcicki's appearance at DreamForce, Inc.'s Tess Townsend writes: "The YouTube CEO said her daughter had stated point-blank that she did not like computers, so Wojcicki enrolled her in a computer camp. The camp made her daughter dislike tech even more. Wojcicki reported her daughter came back saying, 'Everyone in the class was a boy and nobody was like me and now I hate computers even more.' So, mom called the camp and spoke to the CEO, asking that the camp be made more welcoming to girls" (video). Fortune reported last July that it was the urging of Wojcicki and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg that prompted iD Tech Camps — which Wojcicki's and Sandberg's kids had attended — to spin off a girls-only chain of tech camps called Alexa Cafe, which was trialed in the Bay Area in 2014 and expanded to nine locations in 2015. Earlier this month, Fortune noted that Wojcicki's daughter attended the $949-a-week Alexa Cafe summer camp at Palo Alto High, which was coincidentally hosted in the multi-million dollar Media Center (video) that was built thanks to the efforts of Wojcicki's mother Esther (a long-time Paly journalism teacher) and partially furnished and equipped by sister Anne (23andMe CEO) and ex-brother-in-law Sergey Brin's charitable foundation.

Twitter's Tech Lead On Making Software Engineers More Efficient 146

Tekla Perry writes: "Engineering productivity is hard to measure," said Peter Seibel, the tech lead of Twitter's engineering effectiveness group. "But we certainly can harm it." Seibel spoke this week at the @Scale conference in San Jose, hosted by Facebook. He says in large companies one third of software engineers shouldn't be working on the company's products, but should be dedicated to making other engineers more effective. "As an industry we know how to scale up software," he said. "We also know how to scale up organizations, to put in management that lets thousands of people work together. But we don't have a handle on how to scale up that intersection between engineering and human organization. And maybe we don't understand the importance of that. We massively underinvest in this kind of work."

Chinese Compiling "Facebook" of US Government Employees 113

schwit1 writes: According to private security firm CrowdStrike's founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, the Chinese are compiling a massive 'Facebook' like database on American federal government employees for use in espionage and blackmail. The data was stolen from high profile attacks against the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as well as intrusions into the Anthem and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield health insurance networks. "That can now be used to embarrass you publicly and force you to work for the Chinese government," Alperovitch says. "It's, in effect, a private version of Facebook with much more detail about your life than even Facebook has that the Chinese now have access to."
The Internet

A More Down-To-Earth Way To Bring the Internet To the Rest of the World 60

An anonymous reader writes: Elon Musk wants to bring the internet to less-developed countries using satellites. Facebook wants to use drones. Google's betting on balloons. These crazy high-tech solutions are interesting, but are they really needed? Mark Summer doesn't think so. His company focuses on building out internet infrastructure the old fashioned way: trenching pipes, raising cell towers, and getting local governments to lease what they've already installed. "A major problem in emerging countries is that when Internet access is available, it's often expensive. That's due in part to a lack of competition among providers ... While the costs of terrestrial Internet connections are high, they're relatively predictable. And the business model is proven around the world."

Facebook Is Building an 'Empathy Button' 127

jones_supa writes: The Dislike button has long been the most requested feature from Facebook users. So when Mark Zuckerberg said in a public Q&A session that the company was working on an alternative to things that are inappropriate to "Like," news outlets around the world sprung into action saying that the masses would soon get their wish. Don't hold your breath for a button called "Dislike." On the video, Zuck explicitly says that that's not what Facebook is building, but a way to express empathy towards sad occurrences.

What Congress' New Email-privacy Bill Means For Your Inbox 90

erier2003 writes: The Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act has a simple and vital purpose: making it harder for the government to get your email, instant messages, and Facebook chats. It amends a decades-old law to require government agencies to get a warrant to access the contents of any email or other electronic record—no matter how old those communications are. Sen. Mike Lee, one of the bill's cosponsors, told the Daily Dot why it matters. "The bill adds a warrant requirement for communications that were previously considered so old as to be irrelevant to their participants and unworthy of privacy protections. Right now, emails and other electronic messages older than 180 days are considered to have been “abandoned” by the people who sent and received them. Law-enforcement agencies don't need to get a warrant to force a company like Google or Facebook to turn over those communications." The act also requires the government to notify people whose records it has acquired, though they can delay that notice for 90 or 180 days if they feel sending it will put somebody at risk.