FILE PHOTO: The Twitter logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
April 24, 2019
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Twitter was ablaze on Wednesday with humorous commentary and speculation over why Tesla Inc’s first-quarter earnings release was so late. As of 5:05 p.m. ET (2105 GMT), one hour after the market close, the results still had not been released.
Here is a sampling of comments on Twitter:
“Tesla forgot to get Deepak’s password when he left and now they can’t release the earnings. 40 minute late and counting…” – @FredericLambert, referring to former Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja
“TSLA has sent one of the new flawless robotaxis to deliver the earnings report, apparently.” – @NickGiva
“Maybe Tesla switched to full self accounting and it works as well as their full self driving.” – @bgrahamdisciple
“TSLA forgot to pay their WebEx Conference call bill.” – @mackandcompany
“I’m imagining Elon in a huge fight with the board right now who’s trying to convince him that he has to release the #s.” – “@EternityStake
(Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of Wirecard AG, an independent provider of outsourcing and white label solutions for electronic payment transactions is seen in Aschheim near Munich, Germany September 6, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
April 24, 2019
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German digital payments company Wirecard on Wednesday said all its subsidiaries were subject to regular audits, denying a Financial Times report.
The FT cited whistleblowers as saying that the accounts of Wirecard’s largest business, Card Systems Middle East in Dubai, were not audited in 2016 and 2017.
“All subsidiaries of Wirecard, including Card Systems Middle East, are subject to regular audit procedures, including but not limited to quarterly and annual audits,” the company said.
The FT added that almost all of Wirecard’s reported profits had come from three partner companies in recent years and that much of the profits from these entities had been booked through Card Systems, citing documents it obtained.
Wirecard said that the FT story included “many false and misleading statements.” The company’s stock closed 8.5 percent higher, paring earlier gains of as much as 15.5 percent. Japan’s Softbank Group Corp earlier on Wednesday said it would invest around 900 million euros ($1 billion) in Wirecard, giving it the option to acquire a 5.6 percent stake.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by David Goodman and Jane Merriman)
FILE PHOTO: Uber’s logo is displayed on a mobile phone in London, Britain, September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
April 24, 2019
BENGALURU (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc said on Wednesday the head of its Asia-Pacific operations will leave the company at the end of next month, and will be replaced by Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty.
Amit Jain had joined the app-based ride-hailing company as its India operations chief in 2015 and had taken over as head of Uber’s Asia-Pacific business last year.
The company, which recently unveiled its IPO plans, said https://ubr.to/2vjtq22 Gore-Coty, who heads its EMEA rides business, will also take charge of the Asia-Pacific business.
He will work to “unlock opportunity markets such as Japan and South Korea, and continue our strong momentum in markets such as India and Australia,” Chief Operating Officer Barney Harford said in a statement.
San Francisco-based Uber counts India as one of its major growth markets and has been locked in a fierce battle with homegrown rival Ola for years.
(Reporting by Derek Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Huawei Technologies is pictured in front of the German headquarters of the Chinese telecommunications giant in Duesseldorf, Germany, February 18, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo
April 24, 2019
FILE PHOTO: Small toy figures are seen in front of a binary code in this illustration picture, April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic//File Photo
April 24, 2019
By Joseph Menn
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Technology firms should do more to connect people in positive ways and steer away from trends that have tended to exploit human weaknesses, ethicists told a meeting of Silicon Valley leaders on Tuesday.
Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin are the co-founders of the nonprofit Center for Humane Technology and the ones who prompted Apple and Google to nudge phone users toward reducing their screen time.
Now they want companies and regulators to focus on reversing what they called “human downgrading,” which they see as at the root of a dozen worsening problems, by reconsidering the design and financial incentives of their systems.
Before a hand-picked crowd of about 300 technologists, philanthropists and others concerned with issues such as internet addiction, political polarization, and the spread of misinformation on the web, Harris said Silicon Valley was too focused on making computers surpass human strengths, rather than worrying about how they already exploit human weaknesses.
If that is not reversed, he said, “that could be the end of human agency,” or free will.
Problems include the spread of hate speech and conspiracy theories, propelled by financial incentives to keep users engaged alongside the use of powerful artificial intelligence on platforms like Alphabet Inc’s YouTube, Harris said.
YouTube and other companies have said they are cracking down on extremist speech and have removed advertising revenue-sharing from some categories of content.
Active Facebook communities can be a force for good but they also aid the dissemination of false information, the campaigners said. For example, a vocal fringe that oppose vaccines, believing contrary to scientific evidence that they cause autism, has led to an uptick in diseases that were nearly eradicated.
Facebook said in March it would reduce the distribution of content from groups promoting vaccine hoaxes.
In an interview after his speech, Harris said that what he has called a race to the bottom of the brainstem – manipulation of human instincts and emotions – could be reversed.
For example, he said that Apple and Google could reward app developers who help users, or Facebook could suggest that someone showing signs of depression call a friend who had previously been supportive.
Tech personalities attending included Apple Inc co-founder Steve Wozniak, early Facebook funder turned critic Roger McNamee and MoveOn founders Joan Blades and Wes Boyd. Tech money is also backing the Center, including charitable funds started by founders of Hewlett Packard, EBay, and Craigslist.
The big companies, Harris said, “can change the incentives.”
(Reporting by Joseph Menn; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Rosalba O’Brien)
FILE PHOTO: Logo of Tencent is displayed at a news conference in Hong Kong, China March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
April 23, 2019
By Cassandra Garrison
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd has invested in Argentine mobile banking service Uala, which also counts George Soros and Point72 Ventures LLC among its investors, the start-up’s founder said.
Uala founder Pierpaolo Barbieri said the company planned to collaborate with the Chinese social media-to-gaming giant to further develop its app. He declined to disclose the amount of Tencent’s investment.
Tencent, one of Asia’s most valuable listed companies, announced last year it would boost investments in a number of “key areas” including digital payment, where its service jostles with rival Alipay, backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
Tencent’s own messenger-to-payment app WeChat now has more than 1 billion users in China and has launched in-app services that compete with Apple and Google apps.
“We are proud of their interest in Uala and look forward to collaborating on new products and services. This investment will allow us to grow even faster with our product roadmap,” Barbieri said in an email to Reuters.
Argentine startups face regulatory hurdles in South America’s second largest economy, but the country has spawned some of the region’s most successful tech startups, including U.S.-listed online marketplace MercadoLibre Inc and Internet travel agent Despegar.com Corp.
The country, which has a large unbanked population, is also seeing a boom in digital finance from start-ups like Uala to a new wave of online banks competing with more traditional lenders.
(Reporting by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
FILE PHOTO: Facebook, Google and Twitter logos are seen in this combination photo from Reuters files. REUTERS//File Photo
April 23, 2019
By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Google, Facebook and Twitter have to do more to tackle fake news ahead of key European Parliament elections next month, the European Commission said on Tuesday, as its latest report showed a lack of progress in some areas.
The monthly reports follow a pledge made by the tech giants and advertising trade bodies in October last year to combat the spread of fake news and avoid more heavy-handed regulations.
The EU has warned of foreign interference during campaigning for the European Parliament elections and national elections in Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Poland, Portugal and Ukraine in recent and coming months.
“Further technical improvements as well as sharing of methodology and data sets for fake accounts are necessary to allow third-party experts, fact-checkers and researchers to carry out independent evaluation,” the EU executive said.
The Commission said Google had made insufficient progress in defining issue-based advertising. The report covered actions taken by the companies in March.
It said Facebook, which took down eight coordinated inauthentic behavior networks originating in North Macedonia, Kosovo and Russia, failed to disclose whether these affected EU users.
Twitter also fell short because it did not provide details on its measures against spam and fake accounts and also did not report on any action to improve the scrutiny of ad placements.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)