The Pronk Pops Show 1144, September 20, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Rocks at Make America Great Again Rally in Las Vegas Nevada —  Build The Wall With $25 Billion in Funding and Balance The Budget — We Need More Republicans — Videos — Story 2: Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Hits An All Time High — Videos — Story 3: Free U.S.-Led Uncensored Internet and Authoritarian Chinese-Led Censored Internet — Breaking Up Is Hard To Do — Videos — Story 4: American People’s Right To Privacy — National Privacy Law? — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1144, September 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1143, September 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1142, September 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1141, September 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1140, September 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1139, September 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1138, September 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1137, September 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1136, September 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1135, September 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1134, September 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1133, August 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1132, August 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1131, August 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1130, August 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1129, August 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1128, August 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1127, August 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1126, August 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1125, August 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1124, August 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1123, August 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1122, August 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1121, August 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1120, August 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1119, August 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1118, August 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1117, July 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1116, July 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1115, July 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1114, July 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1113, July 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1112, July 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1111, July 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1110, July 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1109, July 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1108, July 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

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Story 1: President Trump Rocks at Make America Great Again Rally in Las Vegas Nevada —  Build The Wall With $25 Billion in Funding and Balance The Budget — We Need More Republicans — Videos —

President Trump EXPLOSIVE Speech at MASSIVE Rally in Las Vegas, Nevada – September 20, 2018

Watch Live! Trump Rally in Las Vegas, NV!

Trump pushes for border wall funding during rally in Las Vegas

Trump goes one-on-one with Hannity at Las Vegas rally

‘He’s been there’: Trump stumps for vulnerable Sen. Heller

His own political fortunes intrinsically linked to his party holding control of Congress, President Donald Trump on Thursday offered full-throated support for the most vulnerable incumbent Republican senator, while unleashing a torrent of grievances against Democrats and the news media and claiming they are sabotaging his administration.

Trump, appearing at a boisterous rally in Las Vegas, defended his embattled Supreme Court justice nominee, touted the booming stock market, cited progress in talks with North Korea and pledged to build his long-promised border wall, while also making the pitch for Nevada to re-elect Sen. Dean Heller. The president noted that he and Heller – who once said he “vehemently” opposed Trump – did not always get along.

“We started out, we weren’t friends. I didn’t like him, he didn’t like me!” said Trump to laughs. “But as we fought and fought and fought, believe it or not we started to respect each other, than we started to like each other, then we started to love each other.

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“Ever since I won the election, he’s been there for us,” said Trump, who urged Heller’s re-election because the Republican majority in the Senate is so slim, 51-49, that the GOP would lose its advantage if “someone had a cold.” The president also bestowed one of his signature nicknames on Heller’s opponent, Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen, dubbing her “Wacky Jacky.”

Heller returned the praise: “Mr. President, I think you just turned Nevada red today,” he said. Trump narrowly lost Nevada to Hillary Clinton in 2016 despite his deep ties to Las Vegas – he has a golden-hued hotel just off the famed Strip – and repeatedly campaigning in the state.

Trump in particular focused his pitch for Heller on the need to confirm more conservative judges, in particular his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, whose seat on the bench had been thrown into question by allegations that he sexually assaulted a young woman while in high school more than 30 years ago.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

While negotiations continued over whether his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, would testify next week, Trump, who has taken pains not to criticize Ford in recent days, appeared to break from that strategy in a pre-rally interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on the convention center floor.

“I think it’s a very sad situation,” said Trump, asking: “Why didn’t somebody call the FBI 36 years ago? … What’s going on?” While he said Ford should “have her say,” he made clear he was done waiting: “I don’t think you can delay it any longer. They’ve delayed it a week already.”

Trump remained on message at the rally. He did not utter a critical word about Ford, but defended Kavanaugh, saying he was “a great intellect” and “a great gentleman with an impeccable reputation.”

“We have to let it play out but I have to tell you, he is a fine, fine person,” Trump said of the Senate confirmation process. “I think everything is going to be just fine.”

There was one local topic Trump avoided. The Las Vegas rally was held three miles from the Mandalay Bay hotel where a gunman opened fire just over a year ago, killing 58 people and leaving 851 injured.

Trump made no mention of the shooting, though he assured Heller would vote in favor of the Second Amendment.

The rest of the rally was red meat for the crowd, which repeatedly roared its approval for the president but did not quite fill the room at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

As usual, Trump went after the media and many who attended the rally followed his lead. One man stood behind the president’s traveling press corps, repeatedly yelling the word “traitors” at the journalists.

At one point reading from a list of his administration’s accomplishments, Trump spent much of the rally focused on what advisers believe is his – and his party’s – best issue, the strong economy. He took credit for the stock market’s gains and the nation’s low unemployment rate and bragged about boosting the military, while accusing Democrats of doing their best to foster division and stall the growth.

“They are lousy politicians and their policies are terrible,” said Trump, in only his second rally as president in a state he lost two years ago, “but they are good at sticking together and resisting, that’s what they do. You see the signs ‘Resist, Resist.'”

With the chances of Republicans keeping control of the House of Representatives looking increasingly dismal, the White House has fixated on keeping the Senate as a bulwark against any Democratic effort to impeach and then remove Trump from office. Though the Senate midterm map favors Republicans, a few states, including Tennessee and perhaps Texas, could slip away from the GOP.

But no Republican-held seat is considered more endangered than the one in Nevada. The only Republican running for re-election in a state Hillary Clinton carried in 2016, Heller has been locked in a tight race in an increasingly blue-leaning state.

Though he fervently tried to wrap his arms around the president Thursday, Heller’s relationship with Trump has been tumultuous. Weeks before the 2016 election, Heller infamously said that he was “100 percent against Clinton, 99 percent against Trump,” a remark the president has not forgotten.

Heller drew the president’s ire a year ago when he held up Republican efforts to repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. But Trump saved Heller from a costly and damaging primary battle earlier this year by persuading a very conservative primary challenger, Danny Tarkanian, to drop out of the Senate race and instead seek a House seat.

Heller is now in a close race with Rosen, a first-term congresswoman who stands to benefit from a wave of Democratic and female activism fueled by opposition to Trump. And the senator, at times, has struggled to strike a balancing act of praising the president, who remains popular among Republicans, while distancing himself from Trump’s scandals and provocative positions.

“Eighty percent of what this president has done has been very, very good, very positive,” Heller told reporters last week. “The other 20 percent … he has a reality show. I get it. It’s a reality show.”

___

Associated Press writer Michelle Price contributed to this report. Colvin reported from Washington.

___

This story has been corrected to show the Senate is divided 51-49, not 50-49.

President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up as he arrives at McCarran International Airport for a campaign rally, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump takes the stage during a campaign rally Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

President Donald Trump meets with supporters during a campaign rally, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

President Donald Trump meets with supporters during a campaign rally, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump waves as he arrives for a campaign rally, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Story 2: Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Hits An All Time High — Videos —

See the source image

Markets soar to new records under Trump

Nightly Business Report – September 20, 2018

Dow Jones And S&P Rally For New Record Highs

What Do “Points” On The Dow And S&P 500 Actually Mean?

Dow, S&P 500 close at record highs as bull shrugs off trade worries

Story 3: Free U.S.-Led Uncensored Internet and Authoritarian Chinese-Led Censored Internet — Breaking Up Is Hard To Do — Videos

Report: Google working on a censored search engine for China

Google employees revolt against China project

Could the Internet Split in Two?

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt Predicts Internet Split: American vs. Chinese

Breakin’ Up Is Hard To Do – Neil Sedaka

 

Former Google CEO predicts the internet will split in two  — and one part will be led by China

  • Speaking at a private event hosted by Village Global VC yesterday night, tech luminary and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt predicted that the internet will bifurcate into Chinese-led and US-led versions within the next decade.
  • Under Sundar Pichai’s leadership, Google has explored the potential to launch a censored version of its search engine in China, stirring up controversy internally and outside the company.

Eric Schmidt, who has been the CEO of Google and executive chairman of its parent company, Alphabet, predicts that within the next decade there will be two distinct internets: one led by the U.S. and the other by China.

Schmidt shared his thoughts at a private event in San Francisco on Wednesday night convened by investment firm Village Global VC. The firm enlists tech luminaries — including Schmidt, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Diane Green — as limited partners, then invests their money into early-stage tech ventures.

At the event, economist Tyler Cowen asked about the possibility of the internet fragmenting into different sub-internets with different regulations and limited access between them in coming years. “What’s the chance, say, 10 to 15 years, we have just three to four separate internets?”

Schmidt said:

“I think the most likely scenario now is not a splintering, but rather a bifurcation into a Chinese-led internet and a non-Chinese internet led by America.

If you look at China, and I was just there, the scale of the companies that are being built, the services being built, the wealth that is being created is phenomenal. Chinese Internet is a greater percentage of the GDP of China, which is a big number, than the same percentage of the US, which is also a big number.

If you think of China as like ‘Oh yeah, they’re good with the Internet,’ you’re missing the point. Globalization means that they get to play too. I think you’re going to see fantastic leadership in products and services from China. There’s a real danger that along with those products and services comes a different leadership regime from government, with censorship, controls, etc.

Look at the way BRI works – their Belt and Road Initiative, which involves 60-ish countries – it’s perfectly possible those countries will begin to take on the infrastructure that China has with some loss of freedom.”

The Belt and Road is a massive initiative by Beijing to increase China’s political and economic influence by connecting and facilitating all kinds of trade, including digital trade, between China and countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Schmidt’s predictions come at a time when his successor at Google, CEO Sundar Pichai, has stirred up controversy around the company’s strategy in China.

Reportedly, Google has been developing “Project Dragonfly,” a censored version of its search engine that could appease authorities in China. The project allegedly included a means to suppress some search results, booting them off the first page, and a means to fully block results for sensitive queries, for example, around “peaceful protests.”

n recent weeks, hundreds of Google employees lobbied Pichai for more transparency and signed a letter saying that the reported plans raised “urgent moral and ethical issues.”

Pichai has said that Google has been “very open about our desire to do more in China,” and that the team “has been in an exploration stage for quite a while now,” and considering “many options,” but is nowhere near launching in China.

In a separate discussion last night between Schmidt and several start-up founders, he lauded Chinese tech products, services and adoption, especially in mobile payments. He noted that Starbucks in China don’t feature a register. Customers order ahead online and pay with their phones before picking up their lattes.

Former Google CEO claims internet will split between U.S. & China  

Eric Schmidt, who has been the CEO of Google and executive chairman of its parent company, Alphabet, predicts that within the next decade there will be two distinct internets: one led by the U.S. and the other by China.

Schmidt shared his thoughts at a private event in San Francisco on Wednesday night convened by investment firm Village Global VC. The firm enlists tech luminaries — including Schmidt, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Diane Green — as limited partners, then invests their money into early-stage tech ventures.

At the event, economist Tyler Cowen asked about the possibility of the internet fragmenting into different sub-internets with different regulations and limited access between them in coming years. “What’s the chance, say, 10 to 15 years, we have just three to four separate internets?”

Schmidt said:

“I think the most likely scenario now is not a splintering, but rather a bifurcation into a Chinese-led internet and a non-Chinese internet led by America.

If you look at China, and I was just there, the scale of the companies that are being built, the services being built, the wealth that is being created is phenomenal. Chinese Internet is a greater percentage of the GDP of China, which is a big number, than the same percentage of the US, which is also a big number.

If you think of China as like ‘Oh yeah, they’re good with the Internet,’ you’re missing the point. Globalization means that they get to play too. I think you’re going to see fantastic leadership in products and services from China. There’s a real danger that along with those products and services comes a different leadership regime from government, with censorship, controls, etc.

Look at the way BRI works – their Belt and Road Initiative, which involves 60-ish countries – it’s perfectly possible those countries will begin to take on the infrastructure that China has with some loss of freedom.”

The Belt and Road is a massive initiative by Beijing to increase China’s political and economic influence by connecting and facilitating all kinds of trade, including digital trade, between China and countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Schmidt’s predictions come at a time when his successor at Google, CEO Sundar Pichai, has stirred up controversy around the company’s strategy in China.

Reportedly, Google has been developing “Project Dragonfly,” a censored version of its search engine that could appease authorities in China. The project allegedly included a means to suppress some search results, booting them off the first page, and a means to fully block results for sensitive queries, for example, around “peaceful protests.”

What's next for Schmidt?

What’s next for Google’s Eric Schmidt? Sree Sreenivasan weighs in  

In recent weeks, hundreds of Google employees lobbied Pichai for more transparency and signed a letter saying that the reported plans raised “urgent moral and ethical issues.”

Pichai has said that Google has been “very open about our desire to do more in China,” and that the team “has been in an exploration stage for quite a while now,” and considering “many options,” but is nowhere near launching in China.

In a separate discussion last night between Schmidt and several start-up founders, he lauded Chinese tech products, services and adoption, especially in mobile payments. He noted that Starbucks in China don’t feature a register. Customers order ahead online and pay with their phones before picking up their lattes.

A business development leader with Facebook, Ime Archebong, asked Schmidt if large tech companies are doing enough good in the world.

Schmidt replied: “The judge of this is others, not us. Self-referential conversations about ‘Do I feel good about what I’m doing?’ are not very helpful. The judge is outside.”

At several points in the private discussion, Schmidt urged entrepreneurs to build products and services that are not merely addictive, but valuable. He also said not enough companies “measure the right things.” Too many focus on short-term revenue growth and satisfying shareholders, rather than what’s best for their users, society and the long-term health of their companies.

Schmidt was the CEO of Google from 2001, when he took over from co-founder Larry Page, through 2011, when Page reclaimed the reins. He remained as executive chairman of Google and then Alphabet until earlier this year.

Correction: Eric Schmidt did not specify a date by which he believed the internet would bifurcate. He was responding to a question from Tyler Cowen which specified “in the next 10 to 15 years.”

GOOGLE BOSSES HAVE forced employees to delete a confidential memo circulating inside the company that revealed explosive details about a plan to launch a censored search engine in China, The Intercept has learned.

The memo, authored by a Google engineer who was asked to work on the project, disclosed that the search system, codenamed Dragonfly, would require users to log in to perform searches, track their location — and share the resulting history with a Chinese partner who would have “unilateral access” to the data.

The memo was shared earlier this month among a group of Google employees who have been organizing internal protests over the censored search system, which has been designed to remove content that China’s authoritarian Communist Party regime views as sensitive, such as information about democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.

According to three sources familiar with the incident, Google leadership discovered the memo and were furious that secret details about the China censorship were being passed between employees who were not supposed to have any knowledge about it. Subsequently, Google human resources personnel emailed employees who were believed to have accessed or saved copies of the memo and ordered them to immediately delete it from their computers. Emails demanding deletion of the memo contained “pixel trackers” that notified human resource managers when their messages had been read, recipients determined.

The Dragonfly memo reveals that a prototype of the censored search engine was being developed as an app for both Android and iOS devices, and would force users to sign in so they could use the service. The memo confirms, as The Intercept first reported last week, that users’ searches would be associated with their personal phone number. The memo adds that Chinese users’ movements would also be stored, along with the IP address of their device and links they clicked on. It accuses developers working on the project of creating “spying tools” for the Chinese government to monitor its citizens.

People’s search histories, location information, and other private data would be sent out of China to a database in Taiwan, the memo states. But the data would also be provided to employees of a Chinese company who would be granted “unilateral access” to the system.

To launch the censored search engine, Google set up a “joint venture” partnership with an unnamed Chinese company. The search engine will “blacklist sensitive queries” so that “no results will be shown” at all when people enter certain words or phrases, according to documents seen by The Intercept. Blacklisted search terms on a prototype of the search engine include “human rights,” “student protest,” and “Nobel Prize” in Mandarin, said sources familiar with the project.

According to the memo, aside from being able to access users’ search data, the Chinese partner company could add to the censorship blacklists: It would be able to “selectively edit search result pages … unilaterally, and with few controls seemingly in place.”

That a Chinese company would maintain a copy of users’ search data means that, by extension, the data would be accessible to Chinese authorities, who have broad powers to obtain information that is held or processed on the country’s mainland. A central concern human rights groups have expressed about Dragonfly is that it could place users at risk of Chinese government surveillance — and any person in China searching for blacklisted words or phrases could find themselves interrogated or detained. Chinese authorities are well-known for routinely targeting critics, activists, and journalists.

“It’s alarming to hear that such information will be stored and, potentially, easily shared with the Chinese authorities,” said Patrick Poon, a Hong Kong-based researcher with the human rights group Amnesty International. “It will completely put users’ privacy and safety at risk. Google needs to immediately explain if the app will involve such arrangements. It’s time to give the public full transparency of the project.”

ON AUGUST 16, two weeks after The Intercept revealed the Dragonfly plan, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the company’s employees that the China plan was in its “early stages” and “exploratory.” However, employees working on the censored search engine were instructed in late July, days before the project was publicly exposed, that they should prepare to get it into a “launch-ready state” to roll out within weeks, pending approval from officials in Beijing.

“It will completely put users’ privacy and safety at risk.”

The memo raises new questions about Pichai’s claim that the project was not well-developed. Information stored on the company’s internal networks about Dragonfly “paints a very different picture,” it says. “The statement from our high-level leadership that Dragonfly is just an experiment seems wrong.”

The memo identifies at least 215 employees who appear to have been tasked with working full-time on Dragonfly, a number it says is “larger than many Google projects.” It says that source code associated with the project dates back to May 2017, and “many infrastructure parts predate” that. Moreover, screenshots of the app “show a project in a pretty advanced state,” the memo declares.

Most of the details about the project “have been secret from the start,” the memo says, adding that “after the existence of Dragonfly leaked, engineers working on the project were also quick to hide all of their code.”

The author of the memo said in the document that they were opposed to the China censorship. However, they added, “more than the project itself, I hate the culture of secrecy that has been built around it.”

The memo was first posted September 5 on an internal messaging list set up for Google employees to raise ethical concerns. But the memo was soon scrubbed from the list and individuals who had opened or saved the document were contacted by Google’s human resources department to discuss the matter. The employees were instructed not to share the memo.

Google reportedly maintains an aggressive security and investigation team known as “stopleaks,” which is dedicated to preventing unauthorized disclosures. The team is also said to monitor internal discussions.

“More than the project itself, I hate the culture of secrecy that has been built around it.”

Internal security efforts at Google have ramped up this year as employees have raised ethical concerns around a range of new company projects. Following the revelation by Gizmodoand The Intercept that Google had quietly begun work on a contract with the military last year, known as Project Maven, to develop automated image recognition systems for drone warfare, the communications team moved swiftly to monitor employee activity.

The “stopleaks” team, which coordinates with the internal Google communications department, even began monitoring an internal image board used to post messages based on internet memes, according to one former Google employee, for signs of employee sentiment around the Project Maven contract.

Google’s internal security team consists of a number of former military and law enforcement officials. For example, LinkedIn lists as Google’s head of global investigations Joseph Vincent, whose resume includes work as a high-ranking agent at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s Homeland Security Investigations unit. The head of security at Google is Chris Rackow, who has described himself as a former member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s hostage rescue team and as a former U.S. Navy SEAL.

For some Google employees, the culture of secrecy at the company clashes directly with the its public image around fostering transparency, creating an intolerable work environment.

“Leadership misled engineers working on [Dragonfly] about the nature of their work, depriving them of moral agency,” said a Google employee who read the memo.

Google did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

https://theintercept.com/2018/09/21/google-suppresses-memo-revealing-plans-to-closely-track-search-users-in-china/

Story 4: American People’s Right To Privacy — National Privacy Law? — Videos

Facebook and Google Attempting to End California Privacy Laws

California lawmakers pass data privacy bill

California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff calls for national privacy law

Fight looms over national privacy law

Fight looms over national privacy law

The tech industry and consumer groups are gearing up for a fight as lawmakers begin considering whether to draft a national privacy law.

The push to get Congress to enact federal privacy standards is gaining new urgency after California passed what is seen as the nation’s toughest privacy law this June. The measure forces businesses to be more transparent about what they do with consumer data and gives users unprecedented control over their personal information.

But the California law has sparked worries within the tech industry, which fears having to comply with a patchwork of varying state regulations.

Now industry groups are pushing Congress to pass a national privacy bill that would block states from implementing their own standards.

Privacy advocates are skeptical of the industry proposals and concerned that internet giants will co-opt the process in order to get protections that are weaker than the California standard implemented across the country.

“They do not want effective oversight. They do not want regulation of their business practices, which is really urgently needed,” Jeff Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), told The Hill. “They’re going to work behind the scenes to shape legislation that will not protect Americans from having all of their information regularly gathered and used by these digital giants.”

“They see federal law as an opportunity to preempt stronger rules,” he added.

Next week, executives from Google, Apple, AT&T and other major technology and telecommunications companies will testify before the Senate Commerce Committee as the panel’s Republican chairman, Sen. John Thune (S.D.), prepares to introduce a new privacy law.

Consumer groups are concerned that only industry voices will be heard at the hearing and that internet companies will have an outsized role in shaping the legislation. They are now demanding a seat at the table.

On Wednesday, a coalition of public interest groups including the CDD, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Privacy Information Center sent a letter to Thune asking him to ensure that consumers have a voice in the process.

“While we have no objection to the participation of business groups in Senate hearings on consumer privacy, the Senate’s first instinct should be to hear from the American public on these important issues,” the letter reads.

Frederick Hill, a spokesman for the committee, told The Hill in an email that the panel will hold more hearings on the issue.

“For the first hearing, the committee is bringing in companies most consumers recognize to make the discussion about privacy more relatable,” Hill said. “We expect there will be opportunities for other voices at future hearings on the subject.”

A source familiar with the committee’s plans told The Hill that it could hold a hearing for privacy advocates to testify in the coming weeks.

The stakes are high for all sides in the privacy debate after a year which saw Facebook rocked by a massive data scandal.

The company disclosed earlier this year that a data firm had accessed the personal data of over 80 million Facebook users. The revelation sparked a firestorm that saw CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress in a pair of marathon hearings to address lawmakers’ concerns.

Overseas, Europe has already passed its own tough privacy law, which took effect this year.

Whether Congress can actually get behind a national privacy framework, though, is an open question. Lawmakers have tried before, unsuccessfully.

In 2012, the Obama White House unveiled a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” that it hoped to enact into law. The debate dragged on for several years and the process was eventually derailed by contentious disagreements between business and consumer groups.

As Congress gears up to try again, industry groups in recent weeks have been pushing wish lists for what they hope to see in a federal privacy framework. Lobbying groups including the Chamber of Commerce, the Internet Association and BSA | The Software Alliance have all released their own sets of privacy principles.

The industry proposals include calls for codifying transparency rules that require businesses to disclose their collection practices and giving consumers the right to request copies of their data and request that some data be deleted.

Shaundra Watson, BSA’s policy director, said the group’s privacy principles were not a response to the new California law but the result of a discussion among their members, including companies like Apple and Microsoft, of how to codify the consumer protections they already offer.

“Our companies really are responsible for personal data, and so they not only want to continue to embrace those practices but look more broadly to see what protections should be in place across the board and concluded the best way to do that is a [federal] law,” Watson told The Hill.

But privacy advocates remain skeptical. After a series of data scandals, many tech critics believe that any effective privacy framework needs to restrict the data collection practices that companies like Facebook and Google rely on as a business model.

Chester, who says public interest groups are banding together to come up with their own legislative principles, believes the frameworks being pushed by industry lobbyists don’t go far enough.

“What has to happen is the basic business practices have to change,” he said. “We believe there need to be restrictions on how these companies engage in data collection.

“These so-called principles are really principles to undermine privacy, not to protect it,” he said.

https://thehill.com/policy/technology/407528-fight-looms-over-national-privacy-law

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The Pronk Pops Show 1060,April 12, 2018, Story 1: Clueless Congress Questions Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg Who Does An Imitation of Brenda Lee I’m Sorry and The End of The World — Privacy Is Dead — Stop Your Addiction — Quit Social Media and Big Lie Media and Select Better Sources of Entertainment — Be Addiction Free and Happy — Congress Sings Special Angel and Be My Baby To Zuckerberg — NSA: Secret Surveillance State — Every Step You Make –Videos

Posted on April 15, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Business, Cartoons, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Deep State, Drugs, Education, Elections, Empires, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, Health, History, House of Representatives, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Independence, Investments, Language, Legal Drugs, Movies, Music, National Security Agency, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Second Amendment, Senate, Social Networking, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance/Spying, Taxation, Taxes, Ted Cruz, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Image result for cartoons on nsa and facebook spying on american people

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The Police – Every Breath You Take

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Story 1: Clueless Congress Questions Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg Who Does An Imitation of Brenda Lee I’m Sorry and The End of The World — Privacy Is Dead — Stop Your Addiction — Quit Social Media and Big Lie Media and Select Better Sources of Entertainment — Be Addiction Free and Happy — Congress Sings Special Angel To Zuckerberg — Videos

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Brenda Lee – I’m Sorry

I’m sorry, so sorry
That I was such a fool
I didn’t know
Love could be so cruel
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-yesYou tell me mistakes
Are part of being young
But that don’t right
The wrong that’s been done(I’m sorry) I’m sorry
(So sorry) So sorry
Please accept my apology
But love is blind
And I was too blind to see

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-yes

You tell me mistakes
Are part of being young
But that don’t right
The wrong that’s been done
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-yes

I’m sorry, so sorry
Please accept my apology
But love was blind
And I was too blind to see

(Sorry)

Music by:

Ronnie Self
Lyrics by:

Dub Allbritten

Brenda Lee – The end of the world(1963)

Brenda Lee – End Of The World Lyrics

Why does the sun go on shining
Why does the sea rush to shore
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world
’cause You don’t love me anymore, YesWhy do the birds go on singing
Why do the stars glow above
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world
It ended when I lost your loveI wake up in the mornin’ and I wonder
Why everythings the same as it was
I can’t understand, No
I can’t understand
How life goes on the way it doesWhy does my heart go on beating
Why do these eyes of mine cry
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world
It ended when you said goodbye(spoken)
Why does my heart go on beating
Why do these eyes of mine cry
(sung)
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world
It ended when you said goodbye
Goodbye
Songwriters: PETER MCNULTY-CONNOLLY, MARCUS MYBE, LOUIE ST. LOUIS, KURTIS DESHAUN WILLIAMS, MICHAEL ANGELO
End Of The World lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Bobby Helms – You Are My Special Angel – ( Alta Calidad ) HD

My Special Angel
You are my special angel
Sent from up above
The Lord smiled down on me
And sent an angel to love (to love)
You are my special angel
Right from paradise
I know you’re an angel
Heaven is in your eyes
The smile from your lips brings the summer sunshine
Tears from your eyes bring the rain
I feel your touch, your warm embrace
And I’m in heaven again
You are my special angel
Through eternity
I’ll have my special angel
Here to watch over me
I feel your touch, your warm embrace
And I’m in heaven again
You are my special angel
Through eternity
I’ll have my special angel
Here to watch over me (watch over me)
Here to watch over me
(Angel, angel, whoa-oh-oh-oh, oh, oh oh, oh)
Songwriters: Jimmy (usa Duncan / Jimmy (usa 2 Duncan
My Special Angel lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

The Ronettes – Be My Baby – 16:9 – ( Alta Calidad ) HD

Be My Baby
The night we met I knew I needed you so
And if I had the chance I’d never let you go
So won’t you say you love me
I’ll make you so proud of me
We’ll make ’em turn their heads every place we go
So won’t you, please, be my, be my baby
Be my little baby, my one and only baby
Say you’ll be my darlin’, be my, be my baby
Be my baby now, my one and only baby
Wha oh oh oh
I’ll make you happy, baby, just wait and see
For every kiss you give me I’ll give you three
Oh, since the day I saw you
I have been waiting for you
You know I will adore you ’til eternity
So won’t you, please, be my, be my baby
Be my little baby, my one and only baby
Say you’ll be my darlin’, be my, be my baby
Be my baby now, my one and only baby
Wha oh oh oh oh
So come on and, please, be my, be my baby
Be my little baby, my one and only baby
Say you’ll be my darlin’, be my, be my baby
Be my baby now, my one and only baby
Wha oh oh oh
Be my, be my baby, be my little baby
My one and only baby, oh oh
Be my, be my baby, oh
My one and only baby, wha oh oh oh oh
Be my, be my baby, oh
My one and only baby, oh
Be my, be my baby, oh
Be my baby now
Songwriters: Ellie Greenwich / Jeff Barry / Philip Spector
Be My Baby lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management US, LLC

Zuckerberg Faces Tough Questions From the House

Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee pressed Facebook’s chief executive on data privacy, security and political bias on the social media platform.

t

Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire founder and chief executive of Facebook, faced a much tougher crowd on the House side of Capitol Hill in his second day of congressional testimony.

Over the two days, there were nearly 10 hours of hearings, during which almost 100 lawmakers grilled Mr. Zuckerberg.

While Tuesday’s Senate hearing contained tough questions, the lawmakers were generally deferential to the executive. That was less the case in the House, where lawmakers repeatedly interrupted Mr. Zuckerberg and chided him for not answering questions to their satisfaction.

Lawmakers on both side of the aisle on Wednesday pushed Mr. Zuckerberg on his company’s handling of user data. They were particularly focused on the platform’s privacy settings, which put the onus on users to protect their privacy. He was also asked about:

• Whether the social network should be regulated.

• What Russians did on Facebook during the 2016 election.

• Whether the social network had a liberal bias.

• What Facebook ultimately is as it has grown into a global behemoth.

READ MORE:

• Mr. Zuckerberg was the only technology chief in the room on Tuesday, but he was often treated as a stand-in for the whole industry.

• The public scolding on Capitol Hill may do little to change how Facebook powers its $40.6 billion business: meticulously monitoring what you do online. Here’s how they do it.

• Mr. Zuckerberg wore a suit and tie to testify before Congress instead of his usual gray T-shirt. One might say it was his “I’m Sorry” suit.

• The hearings were prompted by a scandal over data harvesting by a third-party organization. Fallout from the scandal has dealt a blow to the political clout of the Mercers, the conservative donors behind organization.

Regulating the use of private data

Representative Greg Walden, Republican of Oregon and chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, kicked off the hearing by declaring that “while Facebook has certainly grown, I worry it has not matured.”

Mr. Walden floated the prospect of regulation, saying that “I think it is time to ask whether Facebook may have moved too fast and broken too many things.”

Later in the hearing, Mr. Zuckerberg said regulation was “inevitable.” But he repeated that the right kind of regulation mattered and he pointed out that some regulation could only solidify the power of a large company like Facebook, which could hurt start-ups.

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How Facebook Lets Brands and Politicians Target You

A history of the steps the company took to become an advertising giant.

 OPEN GRAPHIC

On Tuesday, several senators sounded a similar tune, saying Facebook couldn’t be trusted with the vast amounts of data being collected, much of which was being done without users’ full understanding. Three senators introduced privacy legislation that would require users’ permission to collect and share their data.

On Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg was asked to agree to privacy legislation that requires permission for data collection. Mr. Zuckerberg demurred and did not express support for any specific legislative proposal.

Representative Frank Pallone Jr., a New Jersey Democrat, pressed Mr. Zuckerberg on whether Facebook would agree or refuse to change Facebook’s default settings to minimize collection and use of users’ data.

“This is a complex issue that deserves more than a one word answer,” Mr. Zuckerberg answered.

“That’s disappointing to me,” Mr. Pallone responded.

The concern was echoed by Representative Bobby L. Rush, a Democrat of Illinois, who pointed a finger at Mr. Zuckerberg and asked: “Why is the onus on the user to opt in to privacy and security settings?”

But Mr. Zuckerberg also did not dismiss a proposal from Representative Raul Ruiz, a Democrat from California, to create a digital consumer protection agency that would subject Facebook and its peers to some degree of government involvement.

Mr. Zuckerberg called the idea one “that deserves a lot of consideration” but said that the “details on this really matter.”

 

Video

Zuckerberg’s Testimony, Explained

Senator John Kennedy told Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, that his company’s user agreement “sucks.” Our reporter Sheera Frenkel explains the senator’s questions, Mr. Zuckerberg’s answers and what they really mean.

By SHEERA FRENKEL and GRANT GOLD on Publish DateApril 11, 2018. Photo by Tom Brenner/The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »

Could Europe’s privacy laws serve as a model?

Last week, Mr. Zuckerberg made a promise. He said that Facebook planned to give users worldwide the same privacy controls required by a tough new data protection law which will go into effect in the European Union next month.

This morning, Representatives Gene Green, a Texas Democrat, and Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, pressed him repeatedly on the issue. And Mr. Zuckerberg repeated his commitment to give all users those controls.

But European regulators and privacy advocates said over the last week that a number of Facebook’s current practices seemed violate the new law, called the General Data Protection Regulation.

For one thing, the European law requires privacy by design and default. European experts said that, in their view, that would require Facebook turn off a number of advertising and privacy settings which are currently set to sharing and instead ask user permission to turn them on.

Mr. Zuckerberg answered the legislators’ questions by saying that the company plans to put a tool “at the top of everyone’s app” where users will be able to make privacy and sharing choices. But the company may not offer affirmative consent — asking users to explicitly opt-in — in every country, depending on legal issues, he said.

Facebook currently allows users to download a copy of their personal data like their messages, likes and posts.

But Mr. Green wanted to know if Facebook would comply with the European law — and extend those protections to users worldwide — by providing individuals with the complete records and profiles the Facebook has compiled on them. That would include any data the company collected about its users by tracking them on other websites, and any data the company bought or acquired from third parties about users, and any categorizations or algorithmic scores Facebook created about users, regulators said.

Mr. Zuckerberg said he believed all of the data is available.

That isn’t true for the moment — at least for a couple of reporters who recently downloaded their Facebook data. But Facebook has about six weeks to figure out how to give users a copy of their algorithmic scores, web tracking data and other records the social network has compiled before the law goes into effect in Europe.

The uses of facial recognition technology

Facial recognition — a technology that scans your face and converts into a mathematical code that can be used to identify you in any other facial photo or video still — is a hot-button topic on both sides of the Atlantic. That is because it involves measuring and collecting data about people’s unique physical attributes.

Facebook uses the technology in a name-tagging feature that can automatically suggest the names of people in users’ photographs. But regulators in Europe have cracked down on Facebook for rolling it out without users’ explicit opt-in consent. And privacy groups in the United States filed a complaint last week to the Federal Trade Commission saying Facebook’s recent expanded use of the technology violated a settlement the company made with the agency in 2011.

When legislators asked him about the tough new European privacy rules today, Mr. Zuckerberg said he was generally concerned that some constraints could restrict companies based in the United States from innovating with technologies like facial recognition — allowing China to take the lead in developing the technology.

Even so, Mr. Zuckerberg said, technologies like face recognition should require permission from users.

For sensitive technologies, he said, “I do think you want a special consent.”

Is Facebook a monopoly?

Mr. Zuckerberg pushed back against suggestions that Facebook is essentially a monopoly, “without any true competitor,” as put by Representative Fred Upton, Republican of Michigan.

Reiterating a point made Tuesday before the Senate, Mr. Zuckerberg said that there is a “lot of competition” that Facebook managers “definitely feel in running the company.” He mentioned, but did not name, eight apps that users rely on to communicate.

He left out that, according to comScore, Facebook owns three of the top ten mobile apps used in the United States: Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Instagram.

Of the remaining seven, Google owns five (YouTube, Google Search, Google Maps, Google Play and Gmail). Only Snapchat and Pandora are independent.

Cambridge Analytica and Russia’s election interference

Lawmakers pressed Mr. Zuckerberg on why Facebook didn’t inform users about the harvesting of user data by Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm with ties to the Trump campaign, in 2015, when it was informed of the data abuse.

Mr. Pallone, the New Jersey Democrat, chided Mr. Zuckerberg for his company’s naïveté in not realizing how Facebook data could be utilized.

“For all the good it brings, Facebook can be a weapon for those, like Russia and Cambridge Analytica, that seek to harm us and hack our democracy,” he said.

Several lawmakers have pointed out to Mr. Zuckerberg, repeatedly, that the Obama campaign used a Facebook app to also scrape data from users and their friends in 2012.

But those lawmakers have failed to mention one very important distinction between the Obama campaign’s app and Cambridge Analytica’s app: The Obama app was actually on Facebook itself, and it was very clear about who and what the data would be used for.

The app used to scrape data for Cambridge Analytica was accessed through a personality questionnaire hosted on a site outside of Facebook, and it appeared to users to be for academic research, not for a political data company owned by a wealthy Republican donor and dedicated to reshaping the American electorate.

Asked whether Facebook will sue the researcher who created the app, Aleksandr Kogan, or Cambridge Analytica, Mr. Zuckerberg said “it’s something we’re looking into.”

Partisan bias and Facebook’s responsibility as a publisher

Representative Joe Barton, Republican of Texas, zeroed in on a line of questioning that his Texas counterpart in the Senate, Ted Cruz, also asked, pressing Mr. Zuckerberg on why Facebook has been allegedly censoring content from conservative organizations and Trump supporters such as Diamond and Silk.

Mr. Barton also asked Mr. Zuckerberg if he would agree that Facebook would work to ensure it is “a neutral public platform,” a question also asked by Mr. Cruz.

“I do agree that we should give people a voice,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.

Republican lawmakers returned several times to the issue of bias on Facebook.

Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana questioned whether Facebook’s newsfeed algorithms tamp down conservative news in favor of more left-leaning outlets, to which Mr. Zuckerberg responded that “there is absolutely no directive” to have “any kind of bias in anything we do.”

The proliferation of so-called fake news has put Mr. Zuckerberg in an awkward spot, as the company promises to do a better job of weeding out propaganda and falsehoods but insists it cannot police free speech.

Out in the hall during a break in the hearing, Representative Billy Long, a Republican from Missouri, also expressed frustration about Facebook’s treatment of Diamond and Silk, two pro-Trump video personalities who have complained about being censored by the platform.

“It seems like they take down a lot more conservative content than they do liberal,” he said.

Mr. Long said that he needed more answers about the Diamond and Silk situation, and that he hoped Mr. Zuckerberg could ensure that the company’s thousands of moderators weren’t biased against conservatives.

“He better hope he does it, not us,” Mr. Long added. “Or Congress is going to get involved, and regulate a private industry.”

What kind of company is Facebook?

Mr. Walden of Oregon foreshadowed a line of questioning for Mr. Zuckerberg on how Facebook works and if the social media site has become a publisher or utility service that deserves regulation.

“What exactly is Facebook?” Mr. Walden asked, listing industries like advertising, publishing and even telecom, or “common carrier in the information age.”

The definitions matter. If Facebook is viewed as a telecommunications service that is more like a utility, it may be regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. If lawmakers define Facebook as a publisher, it could also fall under regulations at that agency.

“I consider us to be a technology company,” Mr. Zuckerberg answered. “The primary thing we do is have engineers that write code and build services for other people.”

Facebook, he said, is not a software company, despite creating software. It is not an aerospace company, even though it builds planes. It is not a financial institution, although it offers payment tools for users.

“Do we have a responsibility for the content people share on Facebook? I think the answer to that question is yes,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/11/us/politics/zuckerberg-facebook-cambridge-analytica.html

What You Don’t Know About How Facebook Uses Your Data

Facebook’s ads manager console allows marketers to target ads to specific audiences — such as the nearly 22 million Facebook users “who prefer mid and high-value goods in Mexico.”

While a series of actions by European judges and regulators are trying to curb some of the powerful targeting mechanisms that Facebook employs, federal officials in the United States have done little to constrain them — to the consternation of American privacy advocates who say Facebook continues to test the boundaries of what is permissible.

Facebook requires outside sites that use its tracking technologies to clearly notify users, and it allows Facebook users to opt out of seeing ads based on their use of those apps and websites.

That has not stopped angry users from airing their grievances over Facebook’s practices.

In 2016, for example, a Missouri man with metastatic cancer sued Facebook. The suit, which sought class-action status, accused the tech giant of violating the man’s privacy by tracking his activities on cancer center websites outside the social network — and collecting details about his possible treatment options — without his permission.

Facebook persuaded a federal judge to dismiss the case. The company argued that tracking users for ad-targeting purposes was a standard business practice, and one that its users agreed to when signing up for the service. The Missouri man and two other plaintiffs have appealed the judge’s decision.

Facebook is quick to note that when users sign up for an account, they must agree to the company’s data policy. It plainly states that its data collection “includes information about the websites and apps you visit, your use of our services on those websites and apps, as well as information the developer or publisher of the app or website provides to you or us.”

But in Europe, some regulators contend that Facebook has not obtained users’ explicit and informed consent to track them on other sites and apps. Their general concern, they said, is that many of Facebook’s 2.1 billion users have no idea how much data Facebook could collect about them and how the company could use it. And there is a growing unease that tech giants are unfairly manipulating users.

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The console also allows marketers to target ads to an audience with a specific financial status, such as the 4.7 million Facebook users in households “likely to have a net worth” of $750,000 to $1 million.

“Facebook provides a network where the users, while getting free services most of them consider useful, are subject to a multitude of nontransparent analyses, profiling, and other mostly obscure algorithmical processing,” said Johannes Caspar, the data protection commissioner for Hamburg, Germany.

In 2015, for instance, the Belgian Privacy Commission ordered Facebook to stop systematically using “long-term and uniquely identifying” codes to track nonusers without their “unequivocal and specific consent.” The agency subsequently sued Facebook. In February, a judge in Brussels ordered Facebook to stop tracking “each internet user on Belgian soil” on other websites.

Facebook has appealed the decision. In his comments in the House hearing on Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook tracked nonusers for security purposes — to ensure they could not scrape public data about Facebook users.

But, in one presentation on the case, Belgian regulators wrote: “Tracking nonusers for security purposes is excessive.”

And on Friday, the Italian Competition Authority said it was investigating Facebook for exercising “undue influence” by requiring users to let the company automatically collect all kinds of data about them both on its platform and off.

“Every single action, every single relationship is carefully monitored,” said Giovanni Buttarelli, the European data protection supervisor, who oversees an independent European Union authority that advises on privacy-related laws and policies. “People are being treated like laboratory animals.”

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Employees work in Facebook’s European headquarters in Dublin. Privacy advocates are calling on lawmakers and regulators to ask tougher questions about what the company does with information about its users.CreditAidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Regulators have won some victories. In 2012, Facebook agreed to stop using face recognition technology in the European Union after Mr. Caspar, the Hamburg data protection commissioner, accused it of violating German and European privacy regulations by collecting users’ biometric facial data without their explicit consent.

Outside the European Union, Facebook employs face recognition technology for a name-tagging feature that can automatically suggest names for the people in users’ photos. But civil liberties experts warn that face recognition technology could threaten the ability of Americans to remain anonymous online, on the street and at political protests.

Now a dozen consumer and privacy groups in the United States have accused Facebook of deceptively rolling out expanded uses of the technology without clearly explaining it to users or obtaining their explicit “opt-in” consent. On Friday, the groups filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission saying that the expansion violated a 2011 agreement prohibiting Facebook from deceptive privacy practices.

Facebook sent notices alerting users of its new face recognition uses and said it provides a page where they can turn the feature off.

Facebook has other powerful techniques with implications users may not fully understand.

One is a marketing service called “Lookalike Audiences,” which goes beyond the familiar Facebook programs allowing advertisers to target people by their ages or likes. The look-alike audience feature allows marketers to examine their existing customers or voters for certain propensities — like big spending — and have Facebook find other users with similar tendencies.

Murka, a social casino game developer, used the feature to target “high-value players” who were “most likely to make in-app purchases,” according to Facebook marketing material.

Some marketers worry that political campaigns or unscrupulous companies could potentially use the same technique to identify the characteristics of, for instance, people who make rash decisions and find a bigger pool of the same sort of Facebook users.

Facebook’s policies prohibit potentially predatory ad-targeting practices. Advertisers are able to target users using the look-alike service, but they do not receive personal data about those Facebook users.

Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a nonprofit group in Washington, however, warned that this look-alike marketing was a hidden, manipulative practice — on a par with subliminal advertising — and said it should be prohibited.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/11/technology/facebook-privacy-hearings.html

 

Facebook’s Deception of Deactivated Accounts

Updated on March 26, 2017
Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 

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With more people wanting to leave Facebook now in 2018, Glenn’s timely article offers a complete explanation about deleting your account.

When Facebook went public in 2012, they didn’t have as many active users as they claimed prior to the IPO.

Almost half the accounts were duplicates or fake, as well as abandoned because users couldn’t delete them. I’ll show you how to successfully remove your Facebook account.

The numerous abandoned accounts on Facebook, as well as the multiple accounts many people have, incorrectly inflated the figures that Facebook claimed to have as active users.

When Facebook filed its initial public offering on Feb 1st, 2012 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, they had to admit in the S-1 IPO filing papers that only about half of the 800 million subscribers they were claiming to have at the time were actually active daily users.

A CNBC article by Reuters references the IPO filing, where it states that Facebook only had 483 million daily active users as of December 31st, 2011.

I was counted as one of the users. But I wasn’t using it! Here’s my story. You may relate to it with your own experience. And I’ll tell you what to do about it.

When I signed up for a Facebook account and created a profile, in a very short time I started getting friend requests from people I didn’t know. This became so annoying I decided to cancel my account and delete my Facebook profile.

I have been struggling with that ever since and it became obvious to me that Facebook does not allow anyone to cancel their account and remove their data. Facebook continues to show user accounts as active members even though they are long gone and even though they have tried to cancel their accounts.

Many Facebook users have multiple accounts. Many accounts are abandoned. This changes the figures that are claimed as active users.
Many Facebook users have multiple accounts. Many accounts are abandoned. This changes the figures that are claimed as active users. Source

My Experience Trying to Delete My Facebook Account

There are two things one can do, neither of which helps.

  1. You can deactivate your account. Which still allows people to find your profile and people can still send requests to be friends. Deactivated Facebook accounts don’t really mean anything.
  2. You can request to cancel and completely remove your account data. But this is very tricky and difficult to achieve.

Here is what my experience has been with both of these cases…

At first I could not find any option to delete my profile. All I found was a way to deactivate the account. So I did that. I use Google alerts to monitor my name on the Internet and months later Google sent me an alert indicating that I was still being listed on Facebook. So I tried logging back in, only to discover a bunch of friend requests that were accumulating. That proved that people were still seeing my profile.

Logging back in had reactivated my account, so I deactivated it again. But that only put me back in the useless stage I was in before, with Facebook including me with their “active” accounts.

I wonder if they are doing this just to make themselves look bigger than they are in order to get a bigger sales price should they ever go public. Google and Yahoo both tried to buy Facebook. But Facebook didn’t sell. Are they holding out for more? Are they buying time to build an even bigger false image, fooling anyone who may still want to buy them out?

I had posted notices to Facebook requested to remove all my profile data and waited and waited. I even tried logging back in to search for a link that might allow complete removal. But every time I logged in, I found more friend requests. I even found some requests from people I knew. That bothered me because these people should be emailing me direct if they want to be in touch. After all, they knew me. How silly!

I tried changing all my profile info so that it would not match up if anyone tried to find me on Facebook. I didn’t think it was fair to let people request to be my friend if I wasn’t looking at it and responding anyway. Those who really know me can just email me. They have my email address.

When I tried to change the data, a notice indicated that the changes would take effect after a few days. But after many months, the changes I made to my city, state and other info all remained the same as I first entered it.

Okay, I realize that the Facebook privacy policy does say that any information you enter remains. But this is stupid. What if someone moves? Or did they refuse to allow my changes because they knew I was doing it to try to negate my profile? I wonder.

After many more months, I spent hours on Internet searches for help from other people in blogs and news columns. I discovered that this is a widespread problem. I tried going into the Facebook help section and entered the query “I want to permanently delete my account”. Aha! I found the following in the Help Center on Facebook’s website.…

Detailed Instructions To Delete Facebook Account
Detailed Instructions To Delete Facebook Account | Source

Note that they admit, “we do save your profile information (friends, photos, interests, etc.), and your account will look just the way it did when you deactivated if you decide to reactivate it.”

And their privacy policy, the way I interpret it, clearly indicates that you have no privacy. So I call it a non-privacy policy.

Anyway, I followed through with the request and waited another couple of months. My profile never disappeared. After several months I decided to try deleting my profile again. I tried to log in and my passcode was no good. I clicked on the “forgot passcode” option to reset my passcode, and got back an indication that my email address was not associated with any account. Of course not, they deleted my account! BUT THEY LEFT THE DATA THERE!

Facebook’s Privacy Policy

This behavior of keeping user data happens to be clearly explained in their privacy policy. All I can say is “Buyer Beware!” Or in this case, “Facebook Member Beware!”

In my Internet searches, I have found blogs where people’s lives were destroyed because of comments or other information they themselves posted, or that others have posted about them, true or not, that may jeopardize their future and that Facebook will never ever remove.

Once these people grow up and try to get their first job employment, it all comes back to haunt them.

Facebook’s Privacy Settings

In June 2009 Facebook added a feature to allow blocking various data by specifying what you want to make available and to whom. You can specify to just let friends see your data, or friends of friends, or everyone. Problem is, that when they implemented this, the default is “everyone” and most users don’t even know the feature is available to be changed.

Mark Zuckerberg, himself, had his profile publicly visible since October 2009. You could not request to be a friend. That was blocked. But you could still see his friends list and make requests to each of them to be your friend. Major privacy issue if you ask me!

On December 9th, 2009 Facebook introduced some new privacy settings. Their non-privacy policy still remains as I still see my “deleted” profile is still online and can be found with a Google search.

The new settings allow one to specify what parts of your profile are visible and to whom. You can now hide your friend list. But third party apps exist that can circumvent that and trace your friends. Facebook’s privacy policy still says “We are not responsible for third party circumvention of any privacy settings or security measures on Facebook.”

Facebook continues to introduce changes from time to time. In July 2010 Facebook redesigned their event pages to look more like the profile pages in an effort to make all of the site have a common look and feel. But one thing that never changes is that they continue to have the desire to hold on to old accounts that are long gone.

Later in 2010 they simplified the privacy page by including the ability to set privacy on everything you share. Okay, that may help. But deleting everything has always remained a mystery.

Facebook’s Privacy Violations

Facebook settled eight counts of privacy violations with the Federal Trade Commission according to a story in the Washington Post on Nov 29th 2011. Facebook has avoided monetary fines by agreeing to change certain aspects of its privacy policy.

I don’t see much improvement with this since they are still taking advantage of people who don’t read their privacy policy page before signing up.

The changes they made to settle with the FTC simply specify that they will ask users for permission before changing the way they share user data. This doesn’t help those who have lost their privacy rights because they signed up prior to this settlement. It will only require notification of changes to the present policy. How silly is that?

Why It’s So Difficult to Delete Your Facebook Account

Previously they just had a link that deactivates your account as I spoke about above. They never gave any way to delete anything since their privacy policy says they own anything you upload and all data you enter.

Facebook finally created a way to delete accounts. But they made it extremely complicated so the request tends to fail. But found out how to succeeded at it.

I found a link hidden away deep in the pages of Facebook that lets one permanently delete an account. But it involves all sorts of rules to follow after you submit your request. If you mess up, your request is canceled.

You also have to follow strict rules throughout a 14 day period. This I am sure was done to increase your chances of messing up during that time.

Okay, I know you are wondering what I am talking about. So let me tell you the details of what I went through. I followed the steps…and it said, “Your account will be removed in 14 days.” This is tricky. They obviously don’t want to make it easy.

If they truly wanted to allow people to delete their accounts, they would have simply let the request be performed immediately and be done with it. But by requiring a 14-day waiting period it gives you the opportunity to undo your request, which keeps your account intact and active. There are several ways you can easily mess up in those 14 days…

  • If you leave your Facebook app on your iPhone and your phone is turned on during that 14-day period, your request to delete your account will be canceled.
  • If you accidentally click a “like” button on any website that uses Facebook to register the “like” then your request to delete your account will be canceled.
  • If you log into any other social networking site that uses Facebook Connect, your request to delete your account will be canceled.

How to Really Delete Your FaceBook Profile

Okay. So here is the way to finally get yourself out of Facebook. Have fun finding this info on their site. It’s not prominently displayed. But you don’t need to look. I explain it all here.

I was actually able to get a new password to log on to my deactivated account. That was mandatory in order to get back in to delete it with their new method. I tried it in March 2011 and now I can’t find my profile. Finally really gone!

So if you can still log in, go to the following URL and carefully follow the instructions on that page.

https://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account

If you did it all as they request, your account will be in a deactivated state for 14 days and will be permanently deleted after that 14 day period. But ONLY if you abide by all the following…

  • Remove any reference to your Facebook account from any other website that uses Facebook Connect logins.
  • Remove any Facebook apps from your iPhone.
  • Refrain from clicking any “Like” buttons on any sites if they use Facebook.

Now wait 14 days. Three weeks just to be sure because if you check on it before its done, you will have canceled your delete request. The same is true if any other service you use attempts to access your Facebook account within that 14 day period. The deletion process will be canceled and your account will remain activate.

You see? It’s still not easy. So what do you think? Is it a deception that Facebook is creating?

Facebook Trends from 2011 thru 2014

In the three years from 2011 through 2014, Facebook lost 3 million teens, but gained over 12 million adults over the age of 55.

There may be many reasons why teens are leaving Facebook, such as the frustrations listed in the next section below this chart. But it’s also possible that they don’t want to be on the same social network where their parents are on.

2011
2014
2017
Teens (13-17)
13 million
9.8 million
Adults 55+
15.5 million
28 million
Total
28.5 million
37.8 million
1.86 billion
Source: 2011 and 2014 Data from iStrategyLabs | 2017 Data From Zephoria.com

Frustrations with Facebook

I thought it would be helpful to include some questions people are asking. It’s a clear representation of the anguish people are feeling. I also include my answers to these questions.

  • Why am I still getting friend requests even though I deactivated my Facebook account?
    • ANSWER: Deactivating your account does not remove your profile, which is now owned by Facebook according to their privacy policy which most people don’t read when they sign up..
  • What info remains for friends to see when facebook account is deactivated?
    • ANSWER: Your deactivated profile remains available for search. I myself still got friend requests even though I deactivated my account. So that means they are finding me when they search.
  • Once I have deactivated my account why is it still showing in Google search?
    • ANSWER: Facebook leaves your profile online. Deactivated Facebook accounts still show up in searches because Google bots still find your Facebook profile.
  • Why do I still get friend requests after deactivating my Facebook profile?
    • ANSWER: As long as your profile remains and search engines find it, then other people can find you and send a friend request.

https://turbofuture.com/internet/Obsolete-Facebook-Profile-Charade

Read Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s planned testimony before Congress

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce released Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s remarksthat he plans to make Wednesday. They follow below in entirety. 

HEARING BEFORE THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE

April 11, 2018

Testimony of Mark Zuckerberg Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Facebook

I. INTRODUCTION

Chairman Walden, Ranking Member Pallone, and Members of the Committee,

We face a number of important issues around privacy, safety, and democracy, and you will rightfully have some hard questions for me to answer. Before I talk about the steps we’re taking to address them, I want to talk about how we got here.

Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company. For most of our existence, we focused on all the good that connecting people can bring. As Facebook has grown, people everywhere have gotten a powerful new tool to stay connected to the people they love, make their voices heard, and build communities and businesses. Just recently, we’ve seen the #metoo movement and the March for Our Lives, organized, at least in part, on Facebook. After Hurricane Harvey, people raised more than $20 million for relief. And more than 70 million small businesses now use Facebook to grow and create jobs.

But it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.

So now we have to go through every part of our relationship with people and make sure we’re taking a broad enough view of our responsibility. It’s not enough to just connect people, we have to make sure those connections are positive. It’s not enough to just give people a voice, we have to make sure people aren’t using it to hurt people or spread misinformation.

It’s not enough to give people control of their information, we have to make sure developers they’ve given it to are protecting it too. Across the board, we have a responsibility to not just build tools, but to make sure those tools are used for good.

It will take some time to work through all of the changes we need to make, but I’m committed to getting it right. That includes improving the way we protect people’s information and safeguard elections around the world. Here are a few key things we’re doing:

II. CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working to understand exactly what happened with Cambridge Analytica and taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again. We took important actions to prevent this from happening again today four years ago, but we also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.

    A. What Happened

In 2007, we launched the Facebook Platform with the vision that more apps should be social. Your calendar should be able to show your friends’ birthdays, your maps should show where your friends live, and your address book should show their pictures. To do this, we enabled people to log into apps and share who their friends were and some information about them.

In 2013, a Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz app. It was installed by around 300,000 people who agreed to share some of their Facebook information as well as some information from their friends whose privacy settings allowed it. Given the way our platform worked at the time this meant Kogan was able to access some information about tens of millions of their friends.

In 2014, to prevent abusive apps, we announced that we were changing the entire platform to dramatically limit the Facebook information apps could access. Most importantly, apps like Kogan’s could no longer ask for information about a person’s friends unless their friends had also authorized the app. We also required developers to get approval from Facebook before they could request any data beyond a user’s public profile, friend list, and email address. These actions would prevent any app like Kogan’s from being able to access as much Facebook data today.

In 2015, we learned from journalists at The Guardian that Kogan had shared data from his app with Cambridge Analytica. It is against our policies for developers to share data without people’s consent, so we immediately banned Kogan’s app from our platform, and demanded that Kogan and other entities he gave the data to, including Cambridge Analytica, formally certify that they had deleted all improperly acquired data — which they ultimately did.

Last month, we learned from The GuardianThe New York Times and Channel 4 that Cambridge Analytica may not have deleted the data as they had certified. We immediately banned them from using any of our services. Cambridge Analytica claims they have already deleted the data and has agreed to a forensic audit by a firm we hired to investigate this. We’re also working with the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office, which has jurisdiction over Cambridge Analytica, as it completes its investigation into what happened.

    B. What We Are Doing

We have a responsibility to make sure what happened with Kogan and Cambridge Analytica doesn’t happen again. Here are some of the steps we’re taking:

Safeguarding our platform. We need to make sure that developers like Kogan who got access to a lot of information in the past can’t get access to as much information going forward.

    •  We made some big changes to the Facebook platform in 2014 to dramatically restrict the amount of data that developers can access and to proactively review the apps on our platform. This makes it so a developer today can’t do what Kogan did years ago.

    • But there’s more we can do here to limit the information developers can access and put more safeguards in place to prevent abuse.

        • We’re removing developers’ access to your data if you haven’t used their app in three months.

        • We’re reducing the data you give an app when you approve it to only your name, profile photo, and email address. That’s a lot less than apps can get on any other major app platform.

        • We’re requiring developers to not only get approval but also to sign a contract that imposes strict requirements in order to ask anyone for access to their posts or other private data.

        •  We’re restricting more APIs like groups and events. You should be able to sign into apps and share your public information easily, but anything that might also share other people’s information — like other posts in groups you’re in or other people going to events you’re going to — will be much more restricted.

       • Two weeks ago, we found out that a feature that lets you look someone up by their phone number and email was abused. This feature is useful in cases where people have the same name, but it was abused to link people’s public Facebook information to a phone number they already had. When we found out about the abuse, we shut this feature down.

Investigating other apps We’re in the process of investigating every app that had access to a large amount of information before we locked down our platform in 2014. If we detect suspicious activity, we’ll do a full forensic audit. And if we find that someone is improperly using data, we’ll ban them and tell everyone affected.

Building better controls Finally, we’re making it easier to understand which apps you’ve allowed to access your data. This week we started showing everyone a list of the apps you’ve used and an easy way to revoke their permissions to your data. You can already do this in your privacy settings, but we’re going to put it at the top of News Feed to make sure everyone sees it. And we also told everyone whose Facebook information may have been shared with Cambridge Analytica.

Beyond the steps we had already taken in 2014, I believe these are the next steps we must take to continue to secure our platform.

III. RUSSIAN ELECTION INTERFERENCE

Facebook’s mission is about giving people a voice and bringing people closer together. Those are deeply democratic values and we’re proud of them. I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy. That’s not what we stand for. We were too slow to spot and respond to Russian interference, and we’re working hard to get better. Our sophistication in handling these threats is growing and improving quickly. We will continue working with the government to understand the full extent of Russian interference, and we will do our part not only to ensure the integrity of free and fair elections around the world, but also to give everyone a voice and to be a force for good in democracy everywhere.

    A. What Happened

Elections have always been especially sensitive times for our security team, and the 2016 U.S. presidential election was no exception.

Our security team has been aware of traditional Russian cyber threats — like hacking and malware — for years. Leading up to Election Day in November 2016, we detected and dealt with several threats with ties to Russia. This included activity by a group called APT28, that the U.S. government has publicly linked to Russian military intelligence services.

But while our primary focus was on traditional threats, we also saw some new behavior in the summer of 2016 when APT28-related accounts, under the banner of DC Leaks, created fake personas that were used to seed stolen information to journalists. We shut these accounts down for violating our policies.

After the election, we continued to investigate and learn more about these new threats. What we found was that bad actors had used coordinated networks of fake accounts to interfere in the election: promoting or attacking specific candidates and causes, creating distrust in political institutions, or simply spreading confusion. Some of these bad actors also used our ads tools.

We also learned about a disinformation campaign run by the Internet Research Agency (IRA) — a Russian agency that has repeatedly acted deceptively and tried to manipulate people in the US, Europe, and Russia. We found about 470 accounts and pages linked to the IRA, which generated around 80,000 Facebook posts over about a two-year period.

Our best estimate is that approximately 126 million people may have been served content from a Facebook Page associated with the IRA at some point during that period. On Instagram, where our data on reach is not as complete, we found about 120,000 pieces of content, and estimate that an additional 20 million people were likely served it.

Over the same period, the IRA also spent approximately $100,000 on more than 3,000 ads on 5 Facebook and Instagram, which were seen by an estimated 11 million people in the United States. We shut down these IRA accounts in August 2017.

    B. What We Are Doing

There’s no question that we should have spotted Russian interference earlier, and we’re working hard to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Our actions include:

    • Building new technology to prevent abuse. Since 2016, we have improved our techniques to prevent nation states from interfering in foreign elections, and we’ve built more advanced AI tools to remove fake accounts more generally. There have been a number of important elections since then where these new tools have been successfully deployed. For example:

        • In France, leading up to the presidential election in 2017, we found and took down 30,000 fake accounts.

        • In Germany, before the 2017 elections, we worked directly with the election commission to learn from them about the threats they saw and to share information.

        • In the U.S. Senate Alabama special election last year, we deployed new AI tools that proactively detected and removed fake accounts from Macedonia trying to spread misinformation.

        •  We have disabled thousands of accounts tied to organized, financially motivated fake news spammers. These investigations have been used to improve our automated systems that find fake accounts.

       • Last week, we took down more than 270 additional pages and accounts operated by the IRA and used to target people in Russia and Russian speakers in countries like Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. Some of the pages we removed belong to Russian news organizations that we determined were controlled by the IRA.

    • Significantly increasing our investment in security. We now have about 15,000 people working on security and content review. We’ll have more than 20,000 by the end of this year.

        •  I’ve directed our teams to invest so much in security — on top of the other investments we’re making — that it will significantly impact our profitability going forward. But I want to be clear about what our priority is: protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits.

    • Strengthening our advertising policies. We know some Members of Congress are exploring ways to increase transparency around political or issue advertising, and we’re happy to keep working with Congress on that. But we aren’t waiting for legislation to act.

        • From now on, every advertiser who wants to run political or issue ads will need to be authorized. To get authorized, advertisers will need to confirm their identity and location. Any advertiser who doesn’t pass will be prohibited from running political or issue ads. We will also label them and advertisers will have to show you who paid for them. We’re starting this in the U.S. and expanding to the rest of the world in the coming months.

        • For even greater political ads transparency, we have also built a tool that lets anyone see all of the ads a page is running. We’re testing this in Canada now and we’ll launch it globally this summer. We’re also creating a searchable archive of past political ads.

        • We will also require people who manage large pages to be verified as well. This will make it much harder for people to run pages using fake accounts, or to grow virally and spread misinformation or divisive content that way. o In order to require verification for all of these pages and advertisers, we will hire thousands of more people. We’re committed to getting this done in time for the critical months before the 2018 elections in the U.S. as well as elections in Mexico, Brazil, India, Pakistan and elsewhere in the next year.

        • These steps by themselves won’t stop all people trying to game the system. But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did during the 2016 election and use fake accounts and pages to run ads. Election interference is a problem that’s bigger than any one platform, and that’s why we support the Honest Ads Act. This will help raise the bar for all political advertising online.

    • Sharing information. We’ve been working with other technology companies to share information about threats, and we’re also cooperating with the U.S. and foreign governments on election integrity.

At the same time, it’s also important not to lose sight of the more straightforward and larger ways Facebook plays a role in elections.

In 2016, people had billions of interactions and open discussions on Facebook that may never have happened offline. Candidates had direct channels to communicate with tens of millions of citizens. Campaigns spent tens of millions of dollars organizing and advertising online to get their messages out further. And we organized “get out the vote” efforts that helped more than 2 million people register to vote who might not have voted otherwise.

Security — including around elections — isn’t a problem you ever fully solve. Organizations like the IRA are sophisticated adversaries who are constantly evolving, but we’ll keep improving our techniques to stay ahead. And we’ll also keep building tools to help more people make their voices heard in the democratic process.

IV. CONCLUSION

My top priority has always been our social mission of connecting people, building community and bringing the world closer together. Advertisers and developers will never take priority over that as long as I’m running Facebook.

I started Facebook when I was in college. We’ve come a long way since then. We now serve more than 2 billion people around the world, and every day, people use our services to stay connected with the people that matter to them most. I believe deeply in what we’re doing. And when we address these challenges, I know we’ll look back and view helping people connect and giving more people a voice as a positive force in the world.

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The Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018, Story 1: Facebook’s Founder Mark Zuckerberg Testifies Before Congress — Breach of Trust — Cruz Nails Facebook’s Pervasive Pattern of Political Bias — Is Self-Regulation Really The Answer — Did Facebook Make An Illegal Corporate Inkind Contribution to Assist Obama Campaign in 2012? — Videos — Story 2: Worried About Your Privacy Forget Facebook Worry About National Security Agency Having Most of Your Data And Spying on You? — Videos

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Story 1: Facebook’s Founder Mark Zuckerberg Testifies Before Congress — Breach of Trust — Cruz Nails Facebook’s Pervasive Pattern of Political Bias — Is Self-Regulation Really The Answer — Did Facebook Make An Illegal Corporate Inkind Contribution to Assist Obama Campaign in 2012? — Videos —

Tucker REACTS to Mark Zuckerberg’s Testimony (Day 1)

Ted Cruz Grills Mark Zuckerberg

Senator Lee Questions Facebook’s Zuckerberg at Hearing April 10, 2018

Lindsey Graham Grills Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg on what Facebook is doing to prevent foreign actors from interfering in future elections

Senator Sasse Questions Facebook’s Zuckerberg at Hearing April 10, 2018

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg: We Should Have Checked Cambridge Analytica Data | CNBC

Mark Zuckerberg says data firm accessed 87 million Facebook users’ data

Did Facebook illegally assist the Obama campaign?

There Is No Way To Fix Facebook. So How Do We Protect Ourselves From It? | Think | NBC News

Data scandal the beginning of Facebook’s downfall?

Obama manipulated Facebook users to win elections | Trump Campaign Cambridge Analytica Fallout

The psychology behind Facebook data breach – BBC News

The Key to Understanding Facebook’s Current Crisis

Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal, explained

How Cambridge Analytica Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions | NYT

Former Facebook employee says “no one can fire” Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg: “I started Facebook. I run it. And I’m responsible for what happens here.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Senate Testimony On Company’s Data-Privacy Policies | LIVE | TIME

Will more Facebook users flee after Zuckerberg testimony?

Live Stream: #Qanon on Facebook, Class Actions and Justice

Mark Zuckerberg Responds To Apple’s Facebook Critique | CNBC

Apple CEO Tim Cook Slams Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: I Wouldn’t Be In This Situation | MSNBC

Weekend Update: Mark Zuckerberg on Cambridge Analytica – SNL

Zuckerberg apologizes to Congress over massive Facebook breach

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg apologized to US lawmakers Tuesday for the leak of personal data on tens of millions of users as he faced a day of reckoning before a Congress mulling regulation of the global social media giant.

In his first-ever US congressional appearance, the Facebook founder and chief executive sought to quell the storm over privacy and security lapses at the social network that have angered lawmakers and Facebook’s two billion users.

Swappping his customary tee-shirt for a business suit and tie, Zuckerberg faced tough questions over how a US-British political research firm, Cambridge Analytica, plundered detailed personal data on 87 million users to be used in the 2016 US presidential election.

Facebook also became the platform of choice for a stunning Russian campaign of online misinformation that US intelligence says was designed to tilt the 2016 vote toward Donald Trump.

“It was my mistake, and I’m sorry,” Zuckerberg said in prepared testimony. “I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”

“It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm,” he said. “That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.”

Lawmakers questioned whether the election meddling and poor controls on personal data requires the government to step in to regulate Facebook and other social media companies which generate revenue from user data.

“The tech industry has an obligation to respond to widespread and growing concerns over data privacy and security and to restore the public trust. The status quo no longer works,” said Senator Chuck Grassley, chair of one of the committees holding the hearing.

“Congress must determine if and how we need to strengthen privacy standards to ensure transparency and understanding for the billions of consumers who utilize these products.”

“You have a real opportunity this afternoon to lead the industry and demonstrate a meaningful commitment to protecting individual privacy,” Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein told Zuckerberg at the rare joint committee hearing, to be followed by a similar hearing in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

– ‘#DeleteFacebook’ protests –

Cardboard cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stand outside the US Capitol, placed by advocacy group Avaaz to call attention to what the group says are fake accounts still spreading disinformation on Facebook

Cardboard cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stand outside the US Capitol, placed by advocacy group Avaaz to call attention to what the group says are fake accounts still spreading disinformation on Facebook

Dozens of protestors gathered outside Congress before the hearing wearing Zuckerberg masks and #DeleteFacebook T-shirts.

Inside the jammed hearing room, activists from the Code Pink group wore oversized glasses with the words “STOP SPYING” written on the lenses, and waved signs that read “Stop corporate lying.”

Testifying was a new step forward for the 33-year-old Zuckerberg, who started Facebook as a Harvard dropout in 2004, and built it into the world’s largest social media company worth $470 billion.

In the past he has left it to top lieutenants to answer questions from legislators.

But after the largest scandal yet for Facebook, Zuckerberg has seen it as imperative to speak out himself and try to prevent the company from bogging down in questions about its core business model, which is to share user data with advertisers.

The lawmakers delivered plenty of warnings that Zuckerberg needs to take action — though they were thin on concrete proposals.

Exposed to Facebook

Exposed to Facebook

“If you and other social media companies do not get your act in order, none of us are going to have any privacy anymore,” said Senator Bill Nelson.

Zuckerberg called Facebook “an idealistic and optimistic company” and said: “We focused on all the good that connecting people can bring.”

But he acknowledged that “it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.”

Zuckerberg added: “I want to be clear about what our priority is: protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profit.”

– ‘Investigating every app’ –

The Facebook CEO recounted a list of steps aimed at averting improper use of data by third parties like Cambridge Analytica, and noted that other applications were being investigated to determine if they did anything wrong.

On Friday, Facebook sought to allay concerns over political manipulation of its platform by announcing support for the “Honest Ads Act” that requires election ad buyers to be identified, and to go further by verifying who sponsors ads on key public policy issues.

Zuckerberg vowed to “hire thousands of more people” to get the new system in place ahead of US midterm elections in November, starting the process in the United States and taking it global in the coming months.

My Facebook Was Breached by Cambridge Analytica. Was Yours?

How to find out if you are one of the 87 million victims

Cardboard cutouts of Mark Zuckerberg's face dominate the foreground, while the dome of the U.S. Capitol looms in the background.
Life-size cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are displayed by a progressive advocacy group on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday.Carolyn Kaster / Reuters
Facebook has begun to notify users who were affected by the Cambridge Analytica data breach. If you or one of your friends installed the personality-quiz app “This Is Your Digital Life” prior to 2015, then some of your data illicitly made it to the servers of the voter-profiling company.If your data was ensnared in the breach, you’re not alone. I’m also one of Cambridge Analytica’s victims. (If you’re not sure whether you were affected, you can go to this Facebook page, which will tell you if your information was shared.)I know I was affected by the breach because I saw a big text box when I opened the Facebook app on my phone this morning. Under a bolded headline reading “Protecting Your Information,” the notice read:

We understand the importance of keeping your data safe.

We have banned the app “This Is Your Digital Life,” which one of your friends used Facebook to log into. We did this because the app may have misused some of your Facebook information by sharing it with a company called Cambridge Analytica. In most cases, the information was limited to public profile, Page likes, birthday, and current city.

You can learn more about what happened and how you can remove apps and websites anytime if you no longer want them to have access to your Facebook information.

There is more work to do, but we are committed to confronting abuse and to putting you in control of your privacy.

Contrary to some media reports, the message did not appear in the app’s “Notification” pane. The notice appeared only once: When I closed the app and reopened it, it disappeared.

Last week, Facebook revised its estimate of the size of the breach, saying that it affected about 87 million people. The company had originally estimated that only about 50 million people were affected. According to The InterceptCambridge Analytica used that harvested data to make about 30 million “psychographic” profiles of voters in total.While Facebook says that most users only had their public profile and a few other pieces of data disclosed to Cambridge Analytica, its notice suggests that the company does not know which users had more significant information, such as private status messages or wall posts, sucked up during the lapse.“A small number of people who logged into ‘This Is Your Digital Life’ also shared their own News Feed, timeline, posts, and messages, which may have included posts and messages from you. They may also have shared your hometown,” says Facebook’s help page for victims of the breach.There is not much you can do if you were affected by the breach—your data, after all, has already left Facebook’s control. Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive, is testifying to the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday in response to questions about this leak, larger privacy issues, and the platform’s role in the 2016 election.Lawyers in the United States and the United Kingdom have also launched a pair of class-action lawsuits against Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and two other companies involved in the breach.
“Overall, this is a big breach of trust, and I’m sorry that it happened,” he told me.“The most important thing is to make sure that this doesn’t happen again going forward. So we’re taking a number of steps. We’re investigating every single app that had access to this data. We’re going to do audits on anyone who we find is doing something suspicious, and we’re going to tell people about that. We’ve taken steps to lock down the platform in the past, and we’re continuing to do that to just make sure it can’t happen again,” he said.If you’re having trouble understanding the Cambridge Analytica debacle, I wrote a brief summary of the story last month. In short, the voter-profiling firm harvested Facebook user data through “This Is Your Digital Life,” a third-party app that appeared to be a personality quiz. Cambridge Analytica later used this data to inform purchases made during the Brexit “Leave” campaign, Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign in the 2016 presidential primary, and President Trump’s campaign during the 2016 general election.

Cambridge Analytica’s chief executive, Alexander Nix, was later captured on a hidden camera offering to use Ukrainian sex workers to bribe and blackmail politicians in Sri Lanka. He has since been suspended. Cambridge Analytica also has close ties to key figures in Republican politics: Rebekah Mercer, a major GOP donor and a co-owner of Breitbart news, sits on its board. Her father, Robert Mercer, also invested $15 million in Cambridge Analytica.

Some conservatives have alleged that the official app of the 2012 Obama campaign scanned data from people’s friends in a manner similar to the app used by Cambridge Analytica. But people who installed the Obama app knew they were surrendering information to a political campaign, though their friends did not. Meanwhile, users who installed “This Is Your Digital Life,” the app used by Cambridge Analytica, had no idea that its aims were political.

Still, the ease with which the Obama app scanned users’ friend lists without their consent raises an important point. While the Cambridge Analytica scandal leads the news, experts do not believe it was alone in harvesting large amounts of Facebook data between 2008 and 2014.

Even the developers of rudimentary Facebook apps—like my colleague Ian Bogost, who built a satirical video game on the platform called Cow Clicker—accumulated a massive amount of information about their users, whether or not they intended to. “If you played Cow Clicker, even just once, I got enough of your personal data that, for years, I could have assembled a reasonably sophisticated profile of your interests and behavior,”

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/04/facebook-cambridge-analytica-victims/557648/

 

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Will Not Be Under Oath Before Senate Committee, But Compelled by Statute to Tell The Truth

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg takes the stand before a joint congressional panel on Tuesday, he will not be under oath, Breitbart News has learned. But he will be required by federal statute to tell the truth, and if he lies he could face serious legal consequences.

A senior Senate GOP aide helping organize the joint Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Commerce Committee hearing told Breitbart News that it is standard practice not to swear witnesses like this in under oath. But they are required by law to tell the truth, the aide says.

“He won’t be under oath, but he is under legal obligation to tell the truth,” the Senate aide told Breitbart News of Zuckerberg.

The Senate hearing, the first of two appearances Zuckerberg will make before Congress this week, begins at 2:15 p.m. ET on Capitol Hill. Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) will begin by explaining how the joint committee hearing will operate, then opening statements will be made by Senate Commerce Committee chairman Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Grassley, and Commerce Committee ranking member Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).

Between the two committees, a whopping 44 senators will have the opportunity to question Zuckerberg on Tuesday afternoon.

This is just the first of two official testimony appearances Zuckerberg will make on Capitol Hill this week. After the Senate hearing on Tuesday, Zuckerberg will return to the Capitol on Wednesday for another hearing on the other side of Capitol Hill before the House Commtitee on Energy and Commerce.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/04/09/facebooks-mark-zuckerberg-will-not-be-under-oath-before-senate-committee-but-compelled-by-statute-to-tell-the-truth/

Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook didn’t notify FTC of leak: ‘We considered it a closed case’

  • Mark Zuckerberg is testifying at a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees Tuesday.
  • It’s the first of two congressional hearings for the Facebook founder and CEO.
  • Zuckerberg is likely to face tough questions on user privacy, foreign meddling on the site and abuse of social media tools.

Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook didn't notify FTC of leak: 'We considered it a closed case'

Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook didn’t notify FTC of leak: ‘We considered it a closed case’  

Mark Zuckerberg testified Facebook did not notify the FTC of the Cambridge Analytica data leak years ago because the social media giant “considered it a closed case.”

The Facebook founder and CEO spoke at a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees Tuesday, the first of two congressional hearings this week.

Watch the live stream of Zuckerberg’s testimony here.

The company is facing questions following reports that research firm Cambridge Analytica improperly gained access to the personal data of as many as 87 million Facebook users.

Facebook has said it first learned of the leak in 2015 and demanded Cambridge Analytica delete the data then. Executives have since said it was a mistake to trust that the research firm had done so.

“We considered it a closed case. In retrospect that was clearly a mistake. We shouldn’t have taken their word for it,” Zuckerberg said Tuesday.

Facebook did not notify the FTC — which signed a consent decree with the tech company in 2011 requiring that Facebook notify users if their personal data is shared beyond their specified privacy settings — Zuckerberg said, “for the same reason.”

“We considered it a closed case,” Zuckerberg said, adding that he would act differently were he to face that decision again.

The FTC last month said it was investigating whether Facebook had violated the 2011 decree — a rare confirmation of an ongoing probe.

Zuckerberg is likely to face more tough questions during his week on Capitol Hill on user privacy, foreign meddling on the site and abuse of social media tools.

The CEO said during Tuesday’s hearing that “there will always be a version of Facebook that is free,” clarifying recent comments by COO Sheryl Sandberg that an ad-free version of Facebook would have to be a paid product.

He also expressed confidence that Facebook would better tamp down meddling in 2018 elections.

Facebook is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller while he investigates links between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election, Zuckerberg said.

He’s scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday. His prepared remarks for that hearing were released Monday.

Facebook stock surged more than 4 percent Tuesday during Zuckerberg’s comments.

https://www.google.com/search?q=prevasive&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS774US774&oq=prevasive&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.3160j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Facebook

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Facebook, Inc.
Facebook New Logo (2015).svg

[show]

Screenshot
Type of business Public
Type of site
Social networking service
Available in Multilingual (140)
Traded as
Founded February 4, 2004; 14 years ago
Headquarters Menlo ParkCaliforniaUnited States of America
Coordinates 37.4848°N 122.1484°WCoordinates37.4848°N 122.1484°W
Area served United States (2004–2005)
Worldwide, except blocking countries (2005–present)
Founder(s)
Key people Mark Zuckerberg
(Chairman and CEO)
Sheryl Sandberg
(COO)
Industry Internet
Revenue IncreaseUS$40.653 billion (2017)[1]
Operating income Increase US$20.203 billion (2017)[1]
Net income Increase US$15.934 billion (2017)[1]
Total assets Increase US$84.524 billion (2017)[1]
Total equity Increase US$74.347 billion (2017)[1]
Employees 25,105 (December 31, 2017)[2]
Subsidiaries Instagram
Messenger
WhatsApp
Oculus VR
tbh
Watch
Website www.facebook.com or
www.fb.com
Alexa rank Steady 3 (January 2018)[3]
Registration Required
Users Increase 2.2 billion monthly active users (January 2018)
Current status Active
Written in C++PHP (as HHVM)[4] and D language[5]

Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service company based in Menlo Park, California. Its website was launched on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard Collegestudents and roommates Eduardo SaverinAndrew McCollumDustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes.

The founders initially limited the website’s membership to Harvard students. Later they expanded it to higher education institutions in the Boston area, the Ivy League schools, and Stanford University. Facebook gradually added support for students at various other universities, and eventually to high school students. Since 2006, anyone who claims to be at least 13 years old has been allowed to become a registered user of Facebook, though variations exist in this requirement, depending on local laws. The name comes from the face book directories often given to American university students. Facebook held its initial public offering (IPO) in February 2012, and began selling stock to the public three months later, reaching an original peak market capitalization of $104 billion, a new record. Facebook makes most of its revenue from advertisements which appear onscreen.

Facebook can be accessed from a large range of devices with Internet connectivity, such as desktop computerslaptops and tablet computers, and smartphones. After registering, users can create a customized profile indicating their name, occupation, schools attended and so on. Users can add other users as “friends”, exchange messages, post status updates, share photos, videos and links, use various software applications (“apps”), and receive notifications of other users’ activity. Additionally, users may join common-interest user groups organized by workplace, school, hobbies or other topics, and categorize their friends into lists such as “People From Work” or “Close Friends”. Additionally, users can report or block unpleasant people.

Facebook has more than 2.2 billion monthly active users as of January 2018. Its popularity has led to prominent media coverage for the company, including significant scrutiny over privacy and the psychological effects it has on users. In recent years, the company has faced intense pressure over the amount of fake newshate speech and depictions of violence prevalent on its services, all of which it is attempting to counteract.

History

2003–2006: Thefacebook, Thiel investment, and name change

Zuckerberg wrote a program called “Facemash” in 2003 while attending Harvard University as a sophomore (second year student). According to The Harvard Crimson, the site was comparable to Hot or Not and used “photos compiled from the online facebooks of nine Houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the “hotter” person”.[6] Facemash attracted 450 visitors and 22,000 photo-views in its first four hours online.[7] The Facemash site was quickly forwarded to several campus group list-servers, but was shut down a few days later by the Harvard administration. Zuckerberg faced expulsion and was charged by the administration with breach of security, violating copyrights, and violating individual privacy. Ultimately, the charges were dropped.[6] Zuckerberg expanded on this initial project that semester by creating a social study tool ahead of an art history final exam. He uploaded all art images to a website, each of which was featured with a corresponding comments section, then shared the site with his classmates, and people started sharing notes.[8]

Original layout and name of Thefacebook, 2004

A “face book” is a student directory featuring photos and basic information.[7] In 2003, there were no universal online facebooks at Harvard, with only paper sheets distributed[9] and private online directories.[6][10] Zuckerberg told the Crimson that “Everyone’s been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard. […] I think it’s kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week.”[10] In January 2004, Zuckerberg began writing code for a new website, known as “TheFacebook”, with the inspiration coming from an editorial in the Crimson about Facemash, stating that “It is clear that the technology needed to create a centralized Website is readily available … the benefits are many.”[11] On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched “TheFacebook”, originally located at thefacebook.com.[12]

Six days after the site launched, Harvard seniors Cameron WinklevossTyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra accused Zuckerberg of intentionally misleading them into believing that he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com. They claimed that he was instead using their ideas to build a competing product.[13] The three complained to The Harvard Crimson and the newspaper began an investigation. They later filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg, subsequently settling in 2008[14] for 1.2 million shares (worth $300 million at Facebook’s IPO).[15]

Membership was initially restricted to students of Harvard College; within the first month, more than half the undergraduates at Harvard were registered on the service.[16]Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, Andrew McCollum, and Chris Hughes joined Zuckerberg to help manage the growth of the website.[17] In March 2004, Facebook expanded to the universities of ColumbiaStanford, and Yale.[18] It later opened to all Ivy League colleges, Boston UniversityNew York UniversityMITWashington and gradually most universities in the United States and Canada.[19][20]

In mid-2004, entrepreneur Sean Parker—an informal advisor to Zuckerberg—became the company’s president.[21] In June 2004, Facebook moved its operations base to Palo Alto, California.[22] It received its first investment later that month from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.[23] In 2005, the company dropped “the” from its name after purchasing the domain name facebook.com for US$200,000.[24] The domain facebook.com belonged to AboutFace Corporation before the purchase. This website last appeared on April 8, 2005;[25] from April 10, 2005 to August 4, 2005, this domain gave a 403 error.[26]

Mark Zuckerberg, co-creator of Facebook, in his Harvard dorm room, 2005

In May 2005, Accel Partners invested $12.7 million in Facebook, and Jim Breyer[27] added $1 million of his own money. A high-school version of the site was launched in September 2005, which Zuckerberg called the next logical step.[28] (At the time, high-school networks required an invitation to join.)[29] Facebook also expanded membership eligibility to employees of several companies, including Apple Inc. and Microsoft.[30]

2006–2012: Public access, Microsoft alliance and rapid growth

On September 26, 2006, Facebook was opened to everyone at least 13 years old with a valid email address.[31][32][33] In late 2007, Facebook had 100,000 business pages (pages which allowed companies to promote themselves and attract customers). These started as group pages, but a new concept called company pages was planned.[34] Pages began rolling out for businesses in May 2009.[35] On October 24, 2007, Microsoft announced that it had purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million, giving Facebook a total implied value of around $15 billion. Microsoft’s purchase included rights to place international advertisements on the social networking site.[36][37]

In October 2008, Facebook announced that it would set up its international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.[38] Almost a year later, in September 2009, Facebook said that it had turned cash flow positive for the first time.[39] A January 2009 Compete.com study ranked Facebook the most used social networking service by worldwide monthly active users.[40]Entertainment Weekly included the site on its end-of-the-decade “best-of” list saying, “How on earth did we stalk our exes, remember our co-workers’ birthdays, bug our friends, and play a rousing game of Scrabulous before Facebook?”[41]

Traffic to Facebook increased steadily after 2009. The company announced 500 million users in July 2010,[42] and according to its data, half of the site’s membership used Facebook daily, for an average of 34 minutes, while 150 million users accessed the site by mobile. A company representative called the milestone a “quiet revolution.”[43] In November 2010, based on SecondMarket Inc. (an exchange for privately held companies’ shares), Facebook’s value was $41 billion. The company had slightly surpassed eBay to become the third largest American web company after Google and Amazon.com.[44][45]

In early 2011, Facebook announced plans to move its headquarters to the former Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park, California.[46][47] In March 2011, it was reported that Facebook was removing approximately 20,000 profiles every day for violations such as spam, graphic content, and underage use, as part of its efforts to boost cyber security.[48] Statistics by DoubleClick showed that Facebook reached one trillion page views in the month of June 2011, making it the most visited website tracked by DoubleClick.[49][50] According to a Nielsen study, Facebook had in 2011 become the second-most accessed website in the U.S. behind Google.[51][52]

2012–2013: IPO, lawsuits and one-billionth user

Facebook eventually filed for an initial public offering on February 1, 2012.[53] Facebook held an initial public offering on May 17, 2012, negotiating a share price of US$38. The company was valued at $104 billion, the largest valuation to date for a newly listed public company.[54][55][56] Facebook began selling stock to the public and trading on the NASDAQ on May 18, 2012.[57] Based on its 2012 income of $5 billion, Facebook joined the Fortune 500 list for the first time in May 2013, ranked in position 462.[58]

Facebook filed their S1 document with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 1, 2012. The company applied for a $5 billion IPO, one of the biggest offerings in the history of technology.[59] The IPO raised $16 billion, making it the third-largest in U.S. history.[60][61]

The shares began trading on May 18; the stock struggled to stay above the IPO price for most of the day, but set a record for the trading volume of an IPO (460 million shares).[62] The first day of trading was marred by technical glitches that prevented orders from going through;[63][64] only the technical problems and artificial support from underwriters prevented the stock price from falling below the IPO price on the day.[65] In March 2012, Facebook announced App Center, a store selling applications that operate via the website. The store was to be available on iPhonesAndroid devices, and mobile web users.[66]

Billboard on the Thomson Reutersbuilding welcomes Facebook to NASDAQ, 2012

On May 22, 2012, the Yahoo! Finance website reported that Facebook’s lead underwriters, Morgan Stanley (MS), JP Morgan (JPM), and Goldman Sachs (GS), cut their earnings forecasts for the company in the middle of the IPO process.[67] The stock had begun its freefall by this time, closing at 34.03 on May 21 and 31.00 on May 22. A “circuit breaker” trading curb was used in an attempt to slow down the stock price’s decline.[68] Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro, and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Chairman Rick Ketchum, called for a review of the circumstances surrounding the IPO.[69]

Facebook’s IPO was consequently investigated, and was compared to a “pump and dump” scheme.[63][67][69][70] A class-action lawsuit was filed in May 2012 because of the trading glitches, which led to botched orders.[71][72]Lawsuits were filed, alleging that an underwriter for Morgan Stanley selectively revealed adjusted earnings estimates to preferred clients.[73]

The other underwriters (MS, JPM, GS), Facebook’s CEO and board, and NASDAQ also faced litigation after numerous lawsuits were filed, while SEC and FINRA both launched investigations.[74] It was believed that adjustments to earnings estimates were communicated to the underwriters by a Facebook financial officer, who used the information to cash out on their positions while leaving the general public with overpriced shares.[75] By the end of May 2012, Facebook’s stock lost over a quarter of its starting value, which led The Wall Street Journal to label the IPO a “fiasco”.[76] Zuckerberg announced to the media at the start of October 2012 that Facebook had passed the monthly active users mark of one billion.[77] The company’s data also revealed 600 million mobile users, 219 billion photo uploads, and 140 billion friend connections.[78]

2013–present: Site developments, A4AI and 10th anniversary

On January 15, 2013, Facebook announced Facebook Graph Search, which provides users with a “precise answer”, rather than a link to an answer by leveraging the data present on its site.[79] Facebook emphasized that the feature would be “privacy-aware,” returning only results from content already shared with the user.[80] On April 3, 2013, Facebook unveiled Facebook Home, a user-interface layer for Android devices offering greater integration with the site. HTC announced the HTC First, a smartphone with Home pre-loaded.[81]

On April 15, 2013, Facebook announced an alliance across 19 states with the National Association of Attorneys General, to provide teenagers and parents with information on tools to manage social networking profiles.[82] On April 19, 2013, Facebook officially modified its logo to remove the faint blue line at the bottom of the “F” icon. The letter F moved closer to the edge of the box.[83]

Following a campaign by 100 advocacy groups, Facebook agreed to update its policy on hate speech. The campaign highlighted content promoting domestic and sexual violence against women, and used over 57,000 tweets and more than 4,900 emails that caused withdrawal of advertising from the site by 15 companies, including Nissan UK, House of Burlesque and Nationwide UK. The social media website initially responded by stating that “while it may be vulgar and offensive, distasteful content on its own does not violate our policies”.[84] It decided to take action on May 29, 2013, after it “become clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate.”[85]

On June 12, 2013, Facebook announced on its newsroom that it was introducing clickable hashtags to help users follow trending discussions, or search what others are talking about on a topic.[86] A July 2013 Wall Street Journal article identified the Facebook IPO as the cause of a change in the U.S.’ national economic statistics, as the local government area of the company’s headquarters, San Mateo County, California, became the top wage-earning county in the country after the fourth quarter of 2012. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average weekly wage in the county was US$3,240, 107% higher than the previous year. It noted the wages were “the equivalent of $168,000 a year, and more than 50% higher than the next-highest county, New York County (better known as Manhattan), at $2,107 a week, or roughly $110,000 a year.”[87]

Facebook was blocked by the Chinese government in 2009.[88] In September 2013, the South China Morning Post announced that the block would lifted in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone “to welcome foreign companies to invest and to let foreigners live and work happily in the free-trade zone.”[89][90] However, a few days later, the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China, dismissed the earlier report, reiterating the block on Facebook.[91]

Facebook was announced as a member of The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) in October 2013, when the A4AI was launched. The A4AI is a coalition of public and private organizations that includes GoogleIntel and Microsoft. Led by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the A4AI seeks to make Internet access more affordable so that access is broadened in the developing world, where only 31% of people are online. Google will help to decrease Internet access prices so that they fall below the UN Broadband Commission’s worldwide target of 5% of monthly income.[92] A Reuters report, published on December 11, 2013, stated that Standard & Poor’s announced the placement of Facebook on its S&P 500 index “after the close of trading on December 20”.[93] Facebook announced Q4 2013 earnings of $523 million (20 cents per share), an increase of $64 million from the previous year,[94] as well as 945 million mobile users.

In 2014, Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2.3 billion in stock and cash,[95] which released its first consumer virtual reality headset in 2016.

The company celebrated its 10th anniversary during the week of February 3, 2014.[96] In each of the first three months of 2014, over one billion users logged into their Facebook account on a mobile device.[97] As part of the company’s second quarter results, Facebook announced in late July 2014 that mobile accounted for 62% of its advertising revenue, which is an increase of 21% from the previous year.[98] By September 2014, Facebook’s market capitalization had risen to over $200 billion.[99][100][101]

Alongside other American technology figures like Jeff Bezos and Tim Cook, Zuckerberg hosted visiting Chinese politician Lu Wei, known as the “Internet czar” for his influence in the enforcement of China’s online policy, at Facebook’s headquarters on December 8, 2014. The meeting occurred after Zuckerberg participated in a Q&A session at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, on October 23, 2014, where he attempted to converse in Mandarin—although Facebook is banned in China, Zuckerberg is highly regarded among the people and was at the university to help fuel the nation’s burgeoning entrepreneur sector.[102] A book of Chinese president Xi Jinping found on Zuckerberg’s office desk attracted a great deal of attention in the media, after the Facebook founder explained to Lu, “I want them [Facebook staff] to understand socialism with Chinese characteristics.”[103]

As of January 21, 2015, Facebook’s algorithm is programmed to filter out false or misleading content, such as fake news stories and hoaxes, and will be supported by users who select the option to flag a story as “purposefully fake or deceitful news”. According to Reuters, such content is “being spread like a wildfire” on the social media platform. Facebook maintained that “satirical” content, “intended to be humorous, or content that is clearly labeled as satire,” will be taken into account and should not be intercepted.[104] The algorithm, however, has been accused of maintaining a “filter bubble“, where both material the user disagrees with[105] and posts with a low level of likes, will also not be seen.[106] In November 2015, Zuckerberg prolonged period of paternity leave from 4 weeks to 4 months.[107]

On April 12, 2016, Zuckerberg revealed a decade-long plan for Facebook in a keynote address. His speech outlined his vision, which rested on three main pillars: artificial intelligence, increased connectivity around the world and virtual and augmented reality.[108] In June 2016 Facebook announced Deep Text, a natural language processing AI which will learn user intent and context in 20 languages.[109]

In July 2016, a US$1 billion lawsuit was filed against the company alleging that it permitted the Hamas group to use it to perform assaults that ended the lives of four people.[110] Facebook released the blueprints of Surround 360 camera on GitHub under open-source license.[111] In September 2016, it won an Emmy for its Visual animated short “Henry”.[112]

In October 2016, Facebook announced a fee-based communications tool called Workplace that aims to “connect everyone” while at work. Users can create profiles, see updates from co-workers on their news feed, stream live video and participate in secure group chats.[113] Facebook annually has an Oculus Connect conference.[114] Following the 2016 presidential election, Facebook announced that it would further combat the spread of fake news by using fact checkers from sites like FactCheck.org and Associated Press (AP), making reporting hoaxes easier through crowdsourcing, and disrupting financial incentives for spammers.[115]

On January 17, 2017, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg planning to open Station F, a startup incubator campus in Paris, France.[116] On a six-monthly cycle, Facebook will work with ten to 15 data-driven startups in the location to help them develop their businesses.[117]On April 18, 2017, Facebook announced the beta launch of Facebook Spaces at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference in San Francisco.[118] Facebook Spaces, a virtual reality app version of Facebook for the Facebook-owned Oculus VR goggles. In a virtual and shared space, users can access a curated selection of 360-degree photos and videos using their avatar, with the support of the controller. Users can also access their own photos and videos, and any media shared on their Facebook newsfeed.[119] The beta app is currently available in the Oculus Store.[120]

In September 2017, Facebook announced it would be spending up to US$1 billion on original shows for its Facebook Watch platform.[121] On October 16, 2017, Facebook acquired the anonymous compliment social media app tbh for an undisclosed amount, announcing intentions to leave the app independent, similar to Instagram and WhatsApp.[122][123][124][125](although it is not core or important as these other[126])

Corporate affairs

Management

Facebook’s key management personnel consists of Mark Zuckerberg (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer), Sheryl Sandberg (Chief Operating Officer), David Wehner (Chief Financial Officer), Mike Schroepfer (Chief Technology Officer), and Chris Cox (Chief Product Officer).[127] As of June 30, 2017, Facebook has 20,658 employees.[128]

Revenue

Revenues
(in millions US$)
Year Revenue Growth
2004 $0.4[129]
2005 $9[129] 2150%
2006 $48[129] 433%
2007 $153[129] 219%
2008 $280[130] 83%
2009 $775[131] 177%
2010 $2,000[132] 158%
2011 $3,711[133] 86%
2012 $5,089[134] 37%
2013 $7,872[134] 55%
2014 $12,466[135] 58%
2015 $17,928[136] 44%

Most of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising.[137][138] Facebook generally has a lower clickthrough rate (CTR) for advertisements than most major websites. According to BusinessWeek.com, banner advertisements on Facebook have generally received one-fifth the number of clicks compared to those on the Web as a whole,[139] although specific comparisons can reveal a much larger disparity. For example, while Google users click on the first advertisement for search results an average of 8% of the time (80,000 clicks for every one million searches),[140] Facebook’s users click on advertisements an average of 0.04% of the time (400 clicks for every one million pages).[141]Successful advertising campaigns on the site can have clickthrough rates as low as 0.05% to 0.04%, and CTR for ads tend to fall within two weeks.[142]

The cause of Facebook’s low CTR has been attributed to younger users enabling ad blocking software and their adeptness at ignoring advertising messages, as well as the site’s primary purpose being social communication rather than content viewing.[143] According to digital consultancy iStrategy Labs in mid-January 2014, three million fewer users aged between 13 and 17 years were present on Facebook’s Social Advertising platform compared to 2011.[144]However, Time writer and reporter Christopher Matthews stated in the wake of the iStrategy Labs results:

A big part of Facebook’s pitch is that it has so much information about its users that it can more effectively target ads to those who will be responsive to the content. If Facebook can prove that theory to be true, then it may not worry so much about losing its cool cachet.[145][146]

A portion of Facebook revenue comes from the “firehose” access, bulk access to the social media data sold to the third parties.[147][148] In December 2014, a report from Frank N. Magid and Associates found that the percentage of teens aged 13 to 17 who used Facebook fell to 88% in 2014, down from 94% in 2013 and 95% in 2012.[149] Zuckerberg, alongside other Facebook executives, have questioned the data in such reports; although, a former Facebook senior employee has commented: “Mark [Zuckerberg] is very willing to recognize the strengths in other products and the flaws in Facebook.”[150]

On pages for brands and products, however, some companies have reported CTR as high as 6.49% for Wall posts.[151] A study found that, for video advertisements on Facebook, over 40% of users who viewed the videos viewed the entire video, while the industry average was 25% for in-banner video ads.[152]

Chart of Facebook’s stock

The company released its own set of revenue data at the end of January 2014 and claimed: Revenues of US$2.59 billion were generated for the three months ending December 31, 2013; earnings per share were 31 cents; revenues of US$7.87 billion were made for the entirety of 2013; and Facebook’s annual profit for 2013 was US$1.5 billion. During the same time, independent market research firm eMarketer released data in which Facebook accounted for 5.7 per cent of all global digital ad revenues in 2013 (Google’s share was 32.4 per cent).[96] Revenue for the June 2014 quarter rose to $2.68 billion, an increase of 67 per cent over the second quarter of 2013. Mobile advertising revenue accounted for around 62 per cent of advertising revenue, an increase of approximately 41 per cent over the comparable quarter of the previous year. In December 2017, the company announced that it would no longer route all of its revenues through its Ireland headquarters, but rather record revenue locally in each of the countries where it is generated.[153][154]

Number of advertisers

In February 2015, Facebook announced that it had reached two million active advertisers with most of the gain coming from small businesses. An active advertiser is an advertiser that has advertised on the Facebook platform in the last 28 days.[155] In March 2016, Facebook announced that it reached three million active advertisers with more than 70% from outside the US.[156]

Mergers and acquisitions

On November 15, 2010, Facebook announced it had acquired the domain name fb.com from the American Farm Bureau Federation for an undisclosed amount. On January 11, 2011, the Farm Bureau disclosed $8.5 million in “domain sales income”, making the acquisition of FB.com one of the ten highest domain sales in history.[157]

In February 2014, Facebook announced that it would be buying mobile messaging company WhatsApp for US$19 billion in cash and stock.[158][159]

In November 2016 Facebook acquired CrowdTangle, a social analytics company that tracks how content spreads online. CrowdTangle confirmed the acquisition in a message at their website, but company didn’t disclosed financial terms of the deal.[160]

Offices

In early 2011, Facebook announced plans to move to its new headquarters, the former Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park.[161] All users outside of the US and Canada have a contract with Facebook’s Irish subsidiary “Facebook Ireland Limited”. This allows Facebook to avoid US taxes for all users in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and South America. Facebook is making use of the Double Irish arrangement which allows it to pay just about 2–3% corporation tax on all international revenue.[162] In 2010, Facebook opened its fourth office, in Hyderabad[163][164][165] and the first in Asia.[166]

Facebook, which in 2010 had more than 750 million active users globally including over 23 million in India, announced that its Hyderabad center would house online advertising and developer support teams and provide round-the-clock, multilingual support to the social networking site’s users and advertisers globally.[167] With this, Facebook joins other giants like GoogleMicrosoftOracleDellIBM and Computer Associates that have already set up shop.[168] In Hyderabad, it is registered as ‘Facebook India Online Services Pvt Ltd’.[169][170][171]

Though Facebook did not specify its India investment or hiring figures, it said recruitment had already begun for a director of operations and other key positions at Hyderabad,[172] which would supplement its operations in CaliforniaDublin in Ireland as well as at AustinTexas. A custom-built data center with substantially reduced (“38% less”) power consumption compared to existing Facebook data centers opened in April 2011 in Prineville, Oregon.[173] In April 2012, Facebook opened a second data center in Forest City, North Carolina, US.[174] In June 2013, Facebook opened a third data center in Luleå, Sweden. In November 2014, Facebook opened a fourth data center in Altoona, Iowa, US.[175] In September 2016, Facebook announced a coming datacenter in Los Lunas, New Mexico in 2018 powered by renewable energy.[176][177]

On October 1, 2012, CEO Zuckerberg visited Moscow to stimulate social media innovation in Russia and to boost Facebook’s position in the Russian market.[178] Russia’s communications minister tweeted that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev urged the social media giant’s founder to abandon plans to lure away Russian programmers and instead consider opening a research center in Moscow. Facebook has roughly 9 million users in Russia, while domestic analogue VK has around 34 million.[179]

The establishment of a woodworking facility on the Menlo Park campus was announced at the end of August 2013. The facility, opened in June 2013, provides equipment, safety courses and a woodworking learning course. Employees are required to purchase materials at the in-house store. A Facebook spokesperson explained that the intention of setting up the facility is to encourage employees to think in an innovative manner because of the different environment; it also serves as an attractive perk for prospective employees.[180] On November 21, 2016 Facebook announced that it will open its new London headquarters next year and create another 500 jobs in the UK. New headquarters will be in Fitzrovia in central London at a site that is currently undergoing redevelopment. Facebook’s London-based executive, Nicola Mendelsohn said “The UK remains one of the best places to be a tech company,”.[181] In August 2017, Facebook announced the opening of a new office in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2018. Facebook will occupy the top three floors of 100 Binney St in Kendall Square and share the building with the pharmaceutical employees from Bristol-Myers Squibb. The offices will be home to Facebook’s “Connectivity Lab”, a group focused on bringing Internet access and technology to 4 billion people who do not have access to the Internet.[182]

Website

Profile shown on Thefacebook in 2005

Previous Facebook logo in use from August 23, 2005 until July 1, 2015

Technical aspects

The website’s primary color is blue as Zuckerberg is red-green colorblind, a realization that occurred after a test undertaken around 2007; he explained in 2010: “blue is the richest color for me—I can see all of blue.”[183][184]Facebook is built in PHP which is compiled with HipHop for PHP, a ‘source code transformer’ built by Facebook engineers that turns PHP into C++.[185] The deployment of HipHop reportedly reduced average CPU consumption on Facebook servers by 50%.[186]

Facebook is developed as one monolithic application. According to an interview in 2012 with Chuck Rossi, a build engineer at Facebook, Facebook compiles into a 1.5 GB binary blob which is then distributed to the servers using a custom BitTorrent-based release system. Rossi stated that it takes approximately 15 minutes to build and 15 minutes to release to the servers. The build and release process is zero downtime and new changes to Facebook are rolled out daily.[186]

Facebook uses a combination platform based on HBase to store data across distributed machines. Using a tailing architecture, new events are stored in log files, and the logs are tailed. The system rolls these events up and writes them into storage. The user interface then pulls the data out and displays it to users. Facebook handles requests as AJAX behavior. These requests are written to a log file using Scribe (developed by Facebook).[187]

Data is read from these log files using Ptail, an internally built tool to aggregate data from multiple Scribe stores. It tails the log files and pulls data out (thus the name). Ptail data are separated out into three streams so they can eventually be sent to their own clusters in different data centers (Plugin impression, News feed impressions, Actions (plugin + news feed)). Puma is used to manage periods of high data flow (Input/Output or IO). Data is processed in batches to lessen the number of times needed to read and write under high demand periods (A hot article will generate a lot of impressions and news feed impressions which will cause huge data skews). Batches are taken every 1.5 seconds, limited by memory used when creating a hash table.[187]

After this, data is output in PHP format (compiled with HipHop for PHP). The backend is written in Java and Thrift is used as the messaging format so PHP programs can query Java services. Caching solutions are used to make the web pages display more quickly. The more and longer data is cached the less realtime it is. The data is then sent to MapReduce servers so it can be queried via Hive. This also serves as a backup plan as the data can be recovered from Hive. Raw logs are removed after a period of time.[187]

On March 20, 2014, Facebook announced a new open source programming language called Hack. Prior to public release, a large portion of Facebook was already running and “battle tested” using the new language.[188]

Facebook uses the Momentum platform from Message Systems to deliver the enormous volume of emails it sends to its users every day.[189]

History

On July 20, 2008, Facebook introduced “Facebook Beta”, a significant redesign of its user interface on selected networks. The Mini-Feed and Wall were consolidated, profiles were separated into tabbed sections, and an effort was made to create a “cleaner” look.[190]After initially giving users a choice to switch, Facebook began migrating all users to the new version starting in September 2008.[191] On December 11, 2008, it was announced that Facebook was testing a simpler signup process.[192]

User profile/personal timeline

Facebook login/signup screen

Each registered user on Facebook gets their own personal profile that shows their posts and content.[193] The format of individual user pages was revamped in September 2011 and became known as “Timeline”, a chronological feed of a user’s stories,[194][195] including status updates, photos, interactions with apps, and events.[196] The new layout also let users add a “cover photo”, a large header image at the top of the Timeline.[196] Along with the new layout, users were also given more privacy settings to control the content on the Timeline.[196] In 2007, Facebook launched Facebook Pages for brands and celebrities to interact with their fanbase,[197][198] with more 100,000 Pages launched in November.[199] In June 2009, Facebook introduced a “Usernames” feature, allowing users to choose a unique nickname used in the URL for their personal profile, for easier sharing.[200][201]

In February 2014, Facebook expanded the options for a user’s gender setting, adding a custom input field that allows users to choose from a wide range of gender identities. Users can also set which set of gender-specific pronoun should be used in reference to them throughout the site.[202][203][204] In May 2014, Facebook introduced a feature to allow users to ask for information not disclosed by other users on their profiles. If a user does not provide key information, such as location, hometown, or relationship status, other users can use a new “ask” button to send a message asking about that item to the user in a single click.[205][206]

News Feed

On September 6, 2006, News Feed was announced, which appears on every user’s homepage and highlights information including profile changes, upcoming events, and birthdays of the user’s friends.[207] This enabled spammers and other users to manipulate these features by creating illegitimate events or posting fake birthdays to attract attention to their profile or cause.[208] Initially, the News Feed caused dissatisfaction among Facebook users; some complained it was too cluttered and full of undesired information, others were concerned that it made it too easy for others to track individual activities (such as relationship status changes, events, and conversations with other users).[209] In response, Zuckerberg issued an apology for the site’s failure to include appropriate customizable privacy features. Since then, users have been able to control what types of information are shared automatically with friends. Users are now able to prevent user-set categories of friends from seeing updates about certain types of activities, including profile changes, Wall posts, and newly added friends.[210]

On February 23, 2010, Facebook was granted a patent[211] on certain aspects of its News Feed. The patent covers News Feeds in which links are provided so that one user can participate in the same activity of another user.[212] The patent may encourage Facebook to pursue action against websites that violate its patent, which may potentially include websites such as Twitter.[213] One of the most popular applications on Facebook is the Photos application, where users can upload albums and photos.[214] Facebook allows users to upload an unlimited number of photos, compared with other image hosting services such as Photobucket and Flickr, which apply limits to the number of photos that a user is allowed to upload. During the first years, Facebook users were limited to 60 photos per album. As of May 2009, this limit has been increased to 200 photos per album.[215][216][217][218]

Privacy settings can be set for individual albums, limiting the groups of users that can see an album. For example, the privacy of an album can be set so that only the user’s friends can see the album, while the privacy of another album can be set so that all Facebook users can see it. Another feature of the Photos application is the ability to “tag“, or label, users in a photo. For instance, if a photo contains a user’s friend, then the user can tag the friend in the photo. This sends a notification to the friend that she has been tagged, and provides a link to see the photo.[219] On June 7, 2012, Facebook launched its App Center to its users. It will help the users in finding games and other applications with ease.[220] Since the launch of the App Center, Facebook has seen 150M monthly users with 2.4 times the installation of apps.[221] The sorting and display of stories in a user’s News Feed is governed by the EdgeRank algorithm.[222]

On May 13, 2015, Facebook in association with major news portals launched a program “Instant Articles” to provide rich news experience. Instant articles provides users, access to articles on Facebook news feed without leaving the site.[223][224] According to the technology news web site Gizmodo on May 9, 2016, Facebook curators routinely suppress or promote news that is deemed to meet a political agenda. For example, articles about Black Lives Matter would be listed even if they did not meet the trending criteria of News Feed. Likewise positive news about conservative political figures were regularly excised from Facebook pages.[225] In January 2017, Facebook launched Facebook Stories for iOS and Android in Ireland. The feature, following the format of Snapchat and Instagram stories, allows users to upload photos and videos that appear above friends’ and followers’ News Feeds and disappear after 24 hours.[226]

On October 11, 2017, Facebook introduced the 3D Posts feature to allow for uploading interactive 3D assets in the News Feed.[227] On January 11, 2018, Facebook announced that it would be changing its News Feed algorithm to prioritize what friends and family share and de-emphasize content from media companies. The change was intended to maximize the “meaningful interactions” that people have with content on Facebook.[228]

Like button

The “like” button, stylized as a “thumbs up” icon, was first enabled on February 9, 2009,[229] and enables users to easily interact with status updates, comments, photos and videos, links shared by friends, and advertisements. Once clicked by a user, the designated content appears in the News Feeds of that user’s friends,[230][231] and the button also displays the number of other users who have liked the content, including a full or partial list of those users.[232] The like button was extended to comments in June 2010.[233] After extensive testing[234] and years of questions from the public about whether it had an intention to incorporate a “Dislike” button,[235] Facebook officially rolled out “Reactions” to users worldwide on February 24, 2016, letting users long-press on the like button for an option to use one of five pre-defined emotions, including “Love”, “Haha”, “Wow”, “Sad”, or “Angry”.[234][236] Reactions were also extended to comments in May 2017.[237][238]

Instant messaging

Facebook Messenger is an instant messaging service and software application. Originally developed as Facebook Chat in 2008,[239] the company revamped its messaging service in 2010,[240] and subsequently released standalone iOS and Android apps in August 2011.[241] Over the years, Facebook has released new apps on a variety of different operating systems,[242][243][244] launched a dedicated website interface,[245] and separated the messaging functionality from the main Facebook app, requiring users to download the standalone apps.[246]

Facebook Messenger lets Facebook users send messages to each other. Complementing regular conversations, Messenger lets users make voice calls[247] and video calls[248] both in one-to-one interactions[249] and in group conversations.[250] Its Android app has integrated support for SMS[251] and “Chat Heads”, which are round profile photo icons appearing on-screen regardless of what app is open,[252] while both apps support multiple accounts,[253] conversations with optional end-to-end encryption,[254] and playing “Instant Games”, which are select games built into Messenger.[255] Some features, including sending money[256] and requesting transportation,[257] are limited to the United States.[256] In 2017, Facebook has added “Messenger Day”, a feature that lets users share photos and videos in a story-format with all their friends with the content disappearing after 24 hours;[258] Reactions, which lets users tap and hold a message to add a reaction through an emoji;[259] and Mentions, which lets users in group conversations type @ to give a particular user a notification.[259]

In March 2015, Facebook announced that it would start letting businesses and users interact through Messenger with features such as tracking purchases and receiving notifications, and interacting with customer service representatives. It also announced that third-party developers could integrate their apps into Messenger, letting users enter an app while inside Messenger and optionally share details from the app into a chat.[260] In April 2016, it introduced an API for developers to build chatbots into Messenger, for uses such as news publishers building bots to give users news through the service,[261] and in April 2017, it enabled the M virtual assistant for users in the U.S., which scans chats for keywords and suggests relevant actions, such as its payments system for users mentioning money.[262][263]Additionally, Facebook expanded the use of bots, incorporating group chatbots into Messenger as “Chat Extensions”, adding a “Discovery” tab for finding bots, and enabling special, branded QR codes that, when scanned, take the user to a specific bot.[264]

Following

On September 14, 2011, Facebook added the ability for users to provide a “Subscribe” button on their page, which allows users to subscribe to public postings by the user without needing to add him or her as a friend.[265] In conjunction, Facebook also introduced a system in February 2012 to verify the identity of certain accounts.[266] In December 2012, Facebook announced that because of user confusion surrounding its function, the Subscribe button would be re-labeled as a “Follow” button—making it more similar to other social networks with similar functions.[267]

Comparison with Myspace

The media often compares Facebook to Myspace, but one significant difference between the two Web sites is the level of customization.[268] Another difference is Facebook’s requirement that users give their true identity, a demand that MySpace does not make.[269]MySpace allows users to decorate their profiles using HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), while Facebook allows only plain text.[270] Facebook has a number of features with which users may interact. They include the Wall, a space on every user’s profile page that allows friends to post messages for the user to see;[271]Pokes, which allows users to send a virtual “poke” to each other (a notification then tells a user that he or she has been poked);[272]Photos, that allows users to upload albums and photos;[273] and Status, which allows users to inform their friends of their whereabouts and actions.[274] Facebook also allows users to tag various people in photographs. Depending on privacy settings, anyone who can see a user’s profile can also view that user’s Wall. In July 2007, Facebook began allowing users to post attachments to the Wall, whereas the Wall was previously limited to textual content only.[271] Facebook also differs from Myspace in the form of advertising used. Facebook uses advertising in the form of banner ads, referral marketing, and games. Myspace, on the other hand, uses Google and AdSense.[275] There is also a difference in the userbase of each site. MySpace, initially, was much more popular with high school students, while Facebook was more popular among college students. A study by the American firm Nielsen Claritas showed that Facebook users are more inclined to use other professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, than Myspace users.[275]

Privacy

PRISM: a clandestinesurveillanceprogram under which the NSA collects user data from companies like Facebook and Yahoo!.[276]

Facebook enables users to choose their own privacy settings and choose who can see specific parts of their profile.[277] The website is free to its users and generates revenue from advertising, such as banner ads.[278] Facebook requires a user’s name and profile picture (if applicable) to be accessible by everyone. Users can control who sees other information they have shared, as well as who can find them in searches, through their privacy settings.[279]On November 6, 2007, Facebook launched Facebook Beacon, which was a part of Facebook’s advertisement system until it was discontinued in 2009. Its purpose was to allow targeted advertisements and allowing users to share their activities with their friends.

In 2010, Facebook’s security team began expanding its efforts to reduce the risks to users’ privacy,[280] but privacy concerns remain.[281] Since 2010, the US National Security Agency has been taking publicly posted profile information from Facebook, among other social media services, user profiles to discover who they interact with.[282]

On November 29, 2011, Facebook settled Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers by failing to keep privacy promises.[283] In August 2013 High-Tech Bridge published a study showing that links included in Facebook messaging service messages were being accessed by Facebook.[284] In January 2014 two users filed a lawsuit against Facebook alleging that their privacy had been violated by this practice.[285]

In April 2018, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal, and refuting a report to the contrary by Reuters, Mark Zuckerburg announced that Facebook would implement additional privacy “controls and settings” worldwide. These settings were originally intended for deployment in Europe in order to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which take effect in May.[286]

Facebook Bug Bounty Program

A Facebook “White Hat” debit card, given to researchers who report security bugs.

On July 29, 2011, Facebook announced its Bug Bounty Program in which security researchers will be paid a minimum of $500 for reporting security holes on Facebook’s website. Facebook’s Whitehat page for security researchers says: “If you give us a reasonable time to respond to your report before making any information public and make a good faith effort to avoid privacy violations, destruction of data, and interruption or degradation of our service during your research, we will not bring any lawsuit against you or ask law enforcement to investigate you.”[287][288]

Facebook started paying researchers who find and report security bugs by issuing them custom branded “White Hat” debit cards that can be reloaded with funds each time the researchers discover new flaws. “Researchers who find bugs and security improvements are rare, and we value them and have to find ways to reward them,” Ryan McGeehan, former manager of Facebook’s security response team, told CNET in an interview. “Having this exclusive black card is another way to recognize them. They can show up at a conference and show this card and say ‘I did special work for Facebook.'”[289]

India, which has the second largest number of bug hunters in the world,[290] tops the Facebook Bug Bounty Program with the largest number of valid bugs. “Researchers in Russia earned the highest amount per report in 2013, receiving an average of $3,961 for 38 bugs. India contributed the largest number of valid bugs at 136, with an average reward of $1,353. The U.S. reported 92 issues and averaged $2,272 in rewards. Brazil and the UK were third and fourth by volume, with 53 bugs and 40 bugs, respectively, and average rewards of $3,792 and $2,950”, Facebook quoted in a post.[291]

Reception

Most popular social networking sites by country
  Facebook
  Facenama
  no data

User growth

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in August 2008 that Facebook had passed 100 million registered users.[292] This increased to 150 million “active” users in January 2009. Stan Schroeder of Mashable questioned how the measurement of “active” was made, though acknowledging that “it probably means that users who’ve just created an account which sits idle for a long period of time aren’t included”.[293] The number of users continued to grow, reaching 250 million in July 2009,[294] 300 million in September 2009,[295] 400 million in February 2010,[296] and 500 million in July 2010.[42] According to the company’s data at the July 2010 announcement, half of the site’s membership used Facebook daily, for an average of 34 minutes, while 150 million users accessed the site by mobile. A company representative called the milestone a “quiet revolution.”[43]

Mark Zuckerberg announced to the media at the start of October 2012 that Facebook had passed the monthly active users mark of one billion.[77][297] The company’s data also revealed 600 million mobile users, 219 billion photo uploads, and 140 billion friend connections.[78] This continued to grow, reaching 1.19 billion monthly active users in October 2013,[298] 1.44 billion users in April 2015, of which 1.25 billion were mobile users,[299] 1.71 billion users in July 2016,[300] 1.94 billion users in March 2017,[301] and ultimately 2 billion users in June 2017.[302][303]

Early in 2015, it was reported that teenagers preferred competing web sites such as Instagram and Snapchat. The estimated number of teens leaving Facebook was a million per year.[304]

In November 2015, after skepticism about the accuracy of its “monthly active users” measurement, Facebook changed its definition of an “active user”, now defining it as a logged-in member who visits the Facebook site through the web browser or mobile app, or uses the Facebook Messenger app, in the last 30 days of the date of measurement. This excludes the use of third-party services with Facebook integration, which was previously counted.[305]

Statistics

According to analytics firm comScore, Facebook is the leading social networking site based on monthly unique visitors, having overtaken main competitor MySpace in April 2008.[308][309] comScore reported that Facebook attracted over 130 million unique visitors in May 2010, an increase of 8.6 million people.[310] According to third-party web analytics providers, Alexa and SimilarWeb, Facebook is ranked second and first globally respectively, it is the highest-read social network on the Web, with over 20 billion visitors per month, as of 2015.[311][312][313]SimilarWebQuantcast, and Compete.com all rank the website 2nd in the U.S. in traffic.[312][314][315] The website is the most popular for uploading photos, cumulatively with 50 billion uploaded.[316] In 2010, Sophos‘s “Security Threat Report 2010” polled over 500 firms, 60% of which responded that they believed Facebook was the social network that “posed the biggest threat to security,” well ahead of MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn.[280]

Facebook is the most popular social networking site in several English-speaking countries, including Canada,[317] the United Kingdom,[318] and the United States.[319][320][321] However, Facebook still receives limited adoption in countries such as Japan, where domestically created social networks are still largely preferred.[322] In regional Internet markets, penetration on Facebook is highest in North America (69 percent), followed by Middle East-Africa (67 percent), Latin America (58 percent), Europe (57 percent), and Asia-Pacific (17 percent).[323] Some of the top competitors were listed in 2007 by Mashable.[324]

Awards and recognition

The website has won awards such as placement into the “Top 100 Classic Websites” by PC Magazine in 2007,[325] and winning the “People’s Voice Award” from the Webby Awards in 2008.[326] In a 2006 study conducted by Student Monitor, a company specializing in research concerning the college student market, Facebook was named the “second most popular thing among undergraduates,” tied with beer and only ranked lower than the iPod.[327]

In 2010, Facebook won the Crunchie “Best Overall Startup Or Product” award[328] for the third year in a row.[329] However, in a July 2010 survey performed by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Facebook received a score of 64 out of 100, placing it in the bottom 5% of all private-sector companies in terms of customer satisfaction, alongside industries such as the IRS e-file system, airlines, and cable companies. The reasons why Facebook scored so poorly include privacy problems, frequent changes to the website’s interface, the results returned by the News Feed, and spam.[330]

In December 2008, the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory ruled that Facebook is a valid protocol to serve court notices to defendants. It is believed to be the world’s first legal judgement that defines a summons posted on Facebook as legally binding.[331] In March 2009, the New Zealand High Court associate justice David Gendall allowed for the serving of legal papers on Craig Axe by the company Axe Market Garden via Facebook.[332][333] Employers have also used Facebook as a means to keep tabs on their employees and have even been known to fire them over posts they have made.[334]

By 2005, the use of Facebook had already become so ubiquitous that the generic verb “facebooking” had come into use to describe the process of browsing others’ profiles or updating one’s own.[335] In 2008, Collins English Dictionary declared “Facebook” as its new Word of the Year.[336] In December 2009, the New Oxford American Dictionary declared its word of the year to be the verb “unfriend“, defined as “To remove someone as a ‘friend‘ on a social networking site such as Facebook.[337]

Criticisms and controversies

Graffiti in Berlin of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The caption is a reference to George Orwell‘s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Facebook’s market dominance has led to international media coverage and significant reporting of its shortcomings. Notable issues include Internet privacy, such as its widespread use of a “like” button on third-party websites tracking users,[338][339] possible indefinite records of user information,[340] automatic facial recognition software,[341][342] and its role in the workplace, including employer-employee account disclosure.[343] In a 2014 Huffington Post blog article entitled “Facebook: The World’s Biggest Waste of Time?”, Bill Robinson stated that going on Facebook was not a productive use of time and he raised concerns about its addictive qualities.[344] Timothy A Pychyl wrote in Psychology Todayabout his concerns that Facebook is leading to “technological time wasting” and procrastination.[345]

The use of Facebook can have psychological effects, including feelings of jealousy[346][347] and stress,[348][349] a lack of attention,[350] and social media addiction, in some cases comparable to drug addiction.[351][352]

Facebook’s company tactics have also received prominent coverage, including electricity usage,[353] tax avoidance,[354] real-name user requirement policies,[355] censorship,[356][357] and its involvement in the United States PRISM surveillance program.[358]

Due to allowing users to publish material by themselves, Facebook has come under scrutiny for the amount of freedom it gives users, including copyright and intellectual property infringement,[359]hate speech,[360][361] incitement of rape[362] and terrorism,[363][364]fake news,[365][366][367] and crimes, murders and violent incidents live-streamed through its Facebook Live functionality.[368][369][370]

Facebook worked on special censorship software so it could potentially accommodate censorship demands in Communist-controlled China.[371]

The company has also been subject to multiple litigation cases over the years,[372][373][374][375] with its most prominent case concerning allegations that CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke an oral contract with Cameron WinklevossTyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra to build the then-named “HarvardConnection” social network in 2004, instead allegedly opting to steal the idea and code to launch Facebook months before HarvardConnection began.[376][377][378] The original lawsuit was eventually settled in 2009, with Facebook paying approximately $20 million in cash and 1.25 million shares.[379][380] A new lawsuit in 2011 was dismissed.[381]

On November 5, 2017, the Paradise Papers, a set of confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investment, revealed that Russian state organizations with ties to Vladimir Putin pursued between 2009 and 2011 large investments in Facebook and Twitter via an intermediary—Russian-American entrepreneur Yuri Milner, who befriended Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg[382] and was a business associate of Jared KushnerPresidentDonald Trump‘s son-in-law.[383]According to The Express Tribune, Facebook is among the corporations that “avoided billions of dollars in tax using offshore companies.”[384] A subsidiary of the Kremlin-controlled Gazprom funded an investment company that partnered with DST Global, an investment firm part of Mail.ru, to buy shares in Facebook, reaping millions when the social media giant went public in 2012. Four days after the Facebook IPO, a DST Global subsidiary sold more than 27 million shares of Facebook for roughly $1 billion.[385]

On March 6, 2018, BlackBerry sued Facebook and its Instagram and WhatsApp subdivision for ripping off key features of its messaging app.[386] According to BlackBerry, it invented the core concepts in mobile messaging app which were copied by Facebook and its subsidiaries.[387] According to the Facebook Deputy General Counsel, Paul Grewal, BlackBerry abandoned its effort to innovate and it is now looking to tax the innovation of others.[388]

Cambridge Analytica

In March 2018, whistleblowers revealed that personal information from over 50 million Facebook users was sold to Cambridge Analytica, a political data analysis firm that had worked for Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign. The data was collected using an app created by Global Science Research.[389] While approximate 270,000 people volunteered to use the app, Facebook’s API also permitted data collection from the friends of app users.[390] When the information was first reported Facebook tried to downplay the significance of the breach, and attempted to suggest that the stolen data was no longer available to Cambridge Analytica. However, with increasing scrutiny, Facebook issued a statement expressing alarm and suspended Cambridge Analytica, while review of documents and interviews with former Facebook employees suggested that Cambridge Analytica was still in possession of the data.[391] This is a violation of the consent decree entered into law by Facebook with the Federal Trade Commission, and violations of the consent decree could carry a penalty of $40,000 per violation, meaning that if news reports that the data of 50 million people were shared proves true, the company’s possible exposure runs into the trillions of dollars.[392]

According to The Guardian reporter Carole Cadwalladr who broke the story, both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica threatened to sue the newspaper if it published the story and continually tried to prevent its publication. After the story was published anyway, Facebook claimed that it had been “lied to”. Cadwalladr said that Facebook was trying to shift the blame onto a third party. Nick Thompson of Wired and CBS News pointed out that Cambridge Analytica obtained all the personal data without having to “breach” Facebook, and that “It didn’t work because somebody hacked in and broke stuff, it worked because Facebook has built the craziest most invasive advertising model in the history of the world and someone took advantage of it.”[393] On March 23, 2018, The British High Court granted an application by the Information Commissioner’s Office for a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica’s London offices ending a standoff between Facebook’s data team and the Information Commissioner over who is responsible for the forensic searching of the company’s servers.[394]

On March 25, Zuckerberg placed a newspaper ad in UK and US newspapers apologising over a “breach of trust”, newspapers included Sunday TelegraphSunday TimesMail on SundayObserverSunday Mirror and Sunday Express.[395]

You may have heard about a quiz app built by a university researcher that leaked Facebook data of millions of people in 2014. This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. We’re now taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

We’ve already stopped apps like this from getting so much information. Now we’re limiting the data apps get when you sign in using Facebook.

We’re also investigating every single app that had access to large amounts of data before we fixed this. We expect there are others. And when we find them, we will ban them and tell everyone affected.

Finally, we’ll remind you which apps you’ve give access to your information – so you can shut off the ones you don’t want anymore.

Thank you for believing in this community. I promise to do better for you.

On March 26, the Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into Facebook regarding the use of its data by Cambridge Analytica.[396]

Public Apologies

In early March of 2018, a U.K. based newspaper called The Observer reported that a “political consultancy” known as Cambridge Analytica had been provided access to the “personal data” of approximately 50 million Americans by Facebook. On March 21, 2018 Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg issued the company’s first public statement since this information was publicly disclosed. However, another article was published on April 4th by Wired that reports a statement made by Facebook regarding the number of people affected. Mike Schroepfer – Facebook’s chief technology officer – disclosed that the amount is closer to 87 million via a blog post.[397] The earlier announcement discussed modification to the way that “third-party applications” could access data from Facebook.[398] An app downloaded by 270,000 people has been claimed to have led to the crisis. When users downloaded this app – called “thisisyourdigitallife” – information regarding the users’ preferred Facebook content as well as their “home town” could then be accessed by the app. This was than used to acquire similar information of the user’s contacts and continued to affect approximately 50 million people in total.[399] It has also been claimed that pre-existing policies around access to personal information of Facebook users by “third-party app developers” are foundational to the “crisis”.[400] The company has received significant backlash following the disclosure of the use of private data by other entities. This backlash has also taken the form of demands for legal accountability, including the opening of an investigation into the company by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.[401] Others such as Elon Musk, who has deleted his Facebook pages for SpaceX and Tesla, have publicly expressed their decision to terminate their use of the media platform for their purposes.[402]

According to a study done by Jeffery Child and Shawn Starcher in 2015, Facebook is a social media platform where “both known and unknown audiences can gain access to posted context, increasing the possibility for privacy breakdowns”.[403] The company has a history of making efforts of rapprochement for such privacy crises. Past apologies of Facebook started in 2009, when Facebook first launched their site worldwide. In the hopes of making it easier for users to share or keep their information private, the company ended up modifying the entire site and publicizing a subsequent apology for the situation.[404] For years, Facebook has been giving advertisers the option of having targeted ads based on data collecting companies like Acxiom Corp and Experian PLC.[401] In March 2016, Facebook first acknowledged that user data had been mishandled back in 2014 when a third-party app was linked back to Cambridge Analytica.[401] This was the same company that was hired by the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump. The media platform has also been accessed by individuals in addition to corporate entities for varying purposes. The site has been used to determine the eligibility for students to be employed or charged with a form of retribution in some cases, based on what they share or post.[405]

In response to criticism and outrage, different media outlets were used by the company to issue a public apology. On March 25, 2018 U.K. newspapers The ObserverThe Sunday TimesMail on SundaySunday MirrorSunday Express and Sunday Telegraph contained full-page ads depicting a personal apology from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. In the United States, The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal also contained the same page-length ads. In addition to the use of newspaper outlets, Mark Zuckerberg issued a verbal apology on CNN.[406] and took part in interviews with other news organizations such as Recode.[407] Zuckerberg has also made multiple other apologies over the course of the years regarding Facebook. In May of 2010, Zuckerberg issued a public apology over discrepancies in the privacy settings in The Washington Post via an Op-Ed article.[408] Similarly, the CEO has also made apologies via blog posts as well as through the Facebook platform itself.[408]

In an effort to earn back public trust, Facebook ended its partnerships with several data brokers who aid advertisers in targeting people on the social network.[401] The company has also adjusted the privacy settings again for its user base as well.[401] Previously, Facebook had its privacy settings spread out over 20 pages, and has now put all of its privacy settings on one page, which makes it harder for third-party apps to access the user’s personal information.[401] In addition to publicly apologizing, Facebook has said that it will be reviewing and auditing thousands of apps that display “suspicious activities” in an effort to ensure that this breach of privacy doesn’t happen again.[399] In a 2010 report regarding privacy, a research project stated that not a lot of information is available regarding the consequences of what people disclose online so often what is available are just reports made available through popular media.[409] In 2017, a former Facebook executive went on the record to discuss how social media platforms have contributed to the unraveling of the “fabric of society”.[410]

Impact

Facebook on the ad:tech 2010

Media impact

In April 2011, Facebook launched a new portal for marketers and creative agencies to help them develop brand promotions on Facebook.[411] The company began its push by inviting a select group of British advertising leaders to meet Facebook’s top executives at an “influencers’ summit” in February 2010. Facebook has now been involved in campaigns for True BloodAmerican Idol, and Top Gear.[412] News and media outlets such as The Washington Post,[413]Financial Times[414] and ABC News[415] have used aggregated Facebook fan data to create various infographics and charts to accompany their articles. In 2012, beauty pageant Miss Sri Lanka Online was run exclusively using Facebook.[416]

Economic impact

Facebook, Inc. has utilized growing internet markets using a social media platform to expand its user base while generating billions of dollars in revenue from Facebook’s companies. Through empirical findings, economists have been able to identify key areas where Facebook has been able to stimulate economic activity by offering a free public good in that one user will not reduce the amount available to another, while also generating positive externalities. Thus, mobile phone manufactures and carriers have been beneficiaries of Facebook’s spillover effect. Three distinct areas have been found to add the most economic impact: platform competition, the marketing place, and user behavior data.[417]

Facebook’s platform is efficient because it lowers barriers to entry and lowers costs for businesses to rapidly innovate new ideas. Scalability is accomplished with less wasted resources and monetized by collecting user behavior and usage data for targeted advertising. Facebook advertising allows firms to reasonably scale up operations to reach Facebook users. Facebook’s daily active users have increased 18% year-over-year[418] and burgeoning from 1 million users in 2004, to over 1.9 billion in 2017. Facebook is a leader among tech companies who continues to improve their carbon impact through more efficient data centers and clean renewable energy.[419]

By the end of 2016, Facebook’s total revenue earnings were $27.638 billion, gross profit was $23.849 billion and a net income for the year was $10.188 billion.[420]

Facebook provides a development platform for many social gaming, communication, feedback, review, and other applications related to online activities. This open platform of Facebook has spawned many new businesses and added thousands of jobs to the economy. Zynga Inc., a leading company in social gaming app development, is an example of those businesses. An econometric analysis studied the impact of Facebook on the economy in terms of the number of jobs created and the economic value of those jobs. The conservative estimate was that the app development platform of Facebook added more than 182,000 jobs in the U.S. economy in 2011. The total economic value of the added employment was about $12 billion.[421]

Social impact

Facebook has affected the social life and activity of people in various ways. Facebook allows people using computers or mobile phones to continuously stay in touch with friends, relatives and other acquaintances wherever they are in the world, as long as there is access to the Internet. It has reunited lost family members and friends.[422][423] It allows users to trade ideas, stay informed with local or global developments, and unite people with common interests and/or beliefs through open, closed and private groups and other pages.[424][425]

Facebook’s social impact has also changed how people communicate. Rather than having to reply to others through email, Facebook allows users to broadcast or share content to others, and thereby to engage others or be engaged with others’ posts.[426]

Facebook has been successful and more socially impactful than many other social media sites. David Kirkpatrick, technology journalist and author of The Facebook Effect, believes that Facebook is structured in a way that is not easily replaceable. He challenges users to consider how difficult it would be to move all the relationships and photos to an alternative. Facebook has let people participate in an atmosphere with the “over the backyard fence quality” of a small town, despite the move to larger cities.[427] As per Pew Research Centersurvey, 44 percent of the overall US population gets news through Facebook.[428]

Emotional health impact

Facebook, and social media in general, has received significant media coverage for negative emotional health impacts.[429][430][431][432][433] Studies have shown that Facebook causes negative effects on self-esteem by triggering feelings of envy, with vacation and holiday photos proving to be the largest resentment triggers. Other prevalent causes of envy include posts by friends about family happiness and images of physical beauty—such envious feelings leave people lonely and dissatisfied with their own lives. A joint study by two German universities discovered that one out of three people were more dissatisfied with their lives after visiting Facebook,[434][435] and another study by Utah Valley University found that college students felt worse about their own lives following an increase in the amount of time spent on Facebook.[435][436][437]

In a presentation by California State University psychology professor Larry D. Rosen, he notes that teenagers using Facebook exhibit more narcissistic tendencies, while young adults show signs of antisocial behavior, mania, and aggressiveness. However, he also found positive effects from Facebook use, including signs of “virtual empathy” towards online friends and helping introverted persons learn social skills.[438] He said that “While nobody can deny that Facebook has altered the landscape of social interaction, particularly among young people, we are just now starting to see solid psychological research demonstrating both the positives and the negatives”.[439]

In a blog post in December 2017, the company pointed to research that has shown “passively consuming” the News Feed, as in reading but not interacting, does indeed leave users with negative feelings afterwards, whereas interacting with messages points to improvements in well-being.[440]TechCrunch noted that CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said in a recent earnings call that “Time spent is not a goal by itself. We want the time people spend on Facebook to encourage meaningful social interactions”.[441]

Political impact

A man during the 2011 Egyptian protests carrying a card saying “Facebook,#jan25, The Egyptian Social Network”

In February 2008, a Facebook group called “One Million Voices Against FARC” organized an event in which hundreds of thousands of Colombians marched in protest against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as the FARC (from the group’s Spanish name).[442] In August 2010, one of North Korea‘s official government websites and the official news agency of the country, Uriminzokkiri, joined Facebook.[443]

During the Arab Spring many journalists made claims that Facebook played a major role in generating the 2011 Egyptian revolution.[444][445] On January 14, the Facebook page of “We are all khaled Said” was started by Wael Ghoniem Create Event to invite the Egyptian people to “peaceful demonstrations” on January 25. According to Mashable,[unreliable source?] in Tunisia and Egypt, Facebook became the primary tool for connecting all protesters and led the Egyptian government of Prime Minister Nazif to ban Facebook, Twitter and another websites on January 26[446] then ban all mobile and Internet connections for all of Egypt at midnight January 28. After 18 days, the uprising forced President Mubarak to resign.

In Bahrain uprising which started on February 14, 2011, Facebook was utilized by the Bahraini regime as well as regime loyalists to identify, capture and prosecute citizens involved in the protests. A 20-year-old woman named Ayat Al Qurmezi was identified as a protester using Facebook, taken from her home by masked commandos and put in prison.[447]

In 2011, Facebook filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to form a political action committee under the name FB PAC.[448] In an email to The Hill, a spokesman for Facebook said “Facebook Political Action Committee will give our employees a way to make their voice heard in the political process by supporting candidates who share our goals of promoting the value of innovation to our economy while giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”[449]

During the Syrian civil war, the YPG, a libertarian army for Rojava has recruited westerners through Facebook in its fight against ISIL.[450][451] Dozens have joined its ranks for various reasons from religious to ideological. The Facebook page’s name “The Lions of Rojava” comes from a Kurdish saying which translates as “A lion is a lion, whether it’s a female or a male”, reflecting the organization’s feminist ideology.[452]

United States

Facebook’s role in the American political process was demonstrated in January 2008, shortly before the New Hampshire primary, when Facebook teamed up with ABC and Saint Anselm College to allow users to give live feedback about the “back to back” January 5 Republican and Democratic debates.[453][454][455] Facebook users took part in debate groups on specific topics, voter registration, and message questions.[456]

Over a million people installed the Facebook application “US Politics on Facebook” in order to take part, and the application measured users’ responses to specific comments made by the debating candidates.[457] This debate showed the broader community what many young students had already experienced: Facebook as a popular and powerful new way to interact and voice opinions. A poll by CBS NewsUWIRE and The Chronicle of Higher Education claimed to illustrate how the “Facebook effect” has affected youth voting rates, support by youth of political candidates, and general involvement by the youth population in the 2008 election.[458]

The new social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, made use first of the personal computer and the Internet, and after 2010 of the smart phones to connect hundreds of millions of people, especially those under age 35. By 2008, politicians and interest groups were experimenting with systematic use of social media to spread their message among much larger audiences than they had previously reached.[459][460]

Facebook is having an impact on local government as well. Justin Smith, a Colorado sheriff uses Facebook to disseminate his ideas on matters relating to local, state, and national concerns. He also publicizes crimes, particularly those that his department solves. He has seven thousand followers on the social medium, considered a large number. Smith said that he rarely goes out in public “when I don’t get feedback from folks. … Facebook is an interesting tool because I think it holds candidates and elected officials more accountable. Voters know where someone stands.”[461]

According to the Investor’s Business Daily, “In 2012, the Obama campaign encouraged supporters to download an Obama 2012 Facebook app that, when activated, let the campaign collect Facebook data both on users and their friends.”[462] Carol Davidsen, the Obama for America (OFA) former director of integration and media analytics, wrote that “Facebook was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn’t stop us once they realised that was what we were doing.”[463][464]

As American political strategists turn their attention to the 2016 presidential contest, they identify Facebook as an increasingly important advertising tool. Recent technical innovations have made possible more advanced divisions and subdivisions of the electorate. Most important, Facebook can now deliver video ads to small, highly targeted subsets. Television, by contrast, shows the same commercials to all viewers, and so cannot be precisely tailored.[465]

2016 United States elections

A Russian company bought more than $100,000 worth of Facebook ads during the 2016 presidential election.[466] Special Council Robert Mueller, contacted Facebook subsequently to the company’s disclosure that it sold ads to a Russian Spy Agency-linked company (Internet Research Agency), and the Menlo Park-based company has pledged full cooperation in Mueller’s investigation, and began with providing all information about the advertisement buys by the Russian government, including the identities of the individuals and companies who made the purchases.[467]The Daily Beast reports that Russia Used Facebook Events to Organize Anti-Immigrant Rallies on U.S. Soil.[468] Facebook has concluded that a 225,000-member anti-immigrant group that attempted to organize anti-Clinton rallies in Texas during the 2016 presidential campaign was “likely operated out of Russia,” Business Insider reports.[469] Russians also staged anti-Trump rallies in November 2016[470] and bought a Black Lives Matter Facebook ad during the 2016 campaign.[471]Pro-Publicaalso reported on how Facebook Enabled Advertisers to Reach ‘Jew Haters.’ Facebook enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’”[472]

As of mid-September 2017 Facebook still does not know the extent of Russia’s advertisement purchases during the 2016 election — or whether these unidentified ad buys are still on the site. A Facebook spokesman told CNN that there was “no sales support.” A company representative would not elaborate when asked by Business Insider if it plans to change its ad sales policy.[473]

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook shared copies of ads and account information related to the Russian ad purchases on its platform with Robert Mueller that go beyond what it shared with Congress last week. Facebook’s unusual compliance was in response to Search Warrants issued by Mueller’s Federal Grand Jury.[474] The Financial Times reports that United States Senate Intelligence committee seeks further information about Russia links with Facebook, and are stepping up the pressure on Facebook as concerns rise about the role the social media network played in Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.[475] CNN reports that Facebook handed Russia-linked ads over to Mueller under search warrant.[476]

Congressional Committees have said Facebook is withholding key information that could illuminate the shape and extent of a Russian propaganda campaign aimed at tilting the U.S. presidential election.[477] The Financial Times reports US lawmakers with access to sensitive intelligence have expressed fears that Russia’s campaign to influence US politics via Facebook is continuing today even as American investigators probe Moscow’s use of social media in the 2016 election.[478]

‘Being Patriotic,’ a Facebook group uncovered by The Daily Beast, is the first evidence of suspected Russian provocateurs explicitly mobilizing Trump supporters in real life.[479]The Washington Post reports Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit divisions over black political activism and Muslims. The Russians took advantage of Facebook’s ability to simultaneously send contrary messages to different groups of users based on their political and demographic characteristics and also sought to sow discord among religious groups. Other ads highlighted support for Democrat Hillary Clinton among Muslim women. The ads suggest that Russian operatives worked off of evolving lists of racial, religious, political and economic themes. They used these to create pages, write posts and craft ads that would appear in user’s news feeds—with the apparent goal of appealing to one audience and alienating another.[480] Mark Zuckerberg responds to Trump, regrets he dismissed election concerns.[481]The Daily Beast reports Russians Impersonated Real American Muslims to Stir Chaos on Facebook and Instagram.[482]The Daily Beast reports that Mark Zuckerberg Blew Off Russian Troll Warnings Before the Attack on America.[483]

On November 5, 2017, The New York Times reported that Russian-American Billionaire Yuri Milner, who befriended Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg[484] had between 2009 and 2011 strong Kremlin backing for his investments in Facebook and Twitter.[485]

On March 17, 2018, The New York Times and The Observer of London reported the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data breach in which Cambridge Analytica collected personal information from Facebook users as a basis of crafting political campaigns for whomever purchased their services. As a result, Facebook banned Cambridge Analytica from advertising on its platform.[486][487]The Guardian reported further that Facebook has known about this security breach for two years, but has done nothing to protect its users.[488]

Bans and censorship

In many countries the social networking sites and mobile apps have been blocked temporarily or permanently, including ChinaIran, and North KoreaFacebook has been banned by Syria,[489]China,[490] and Iran.[491]

Scientific impact

In January 2018, Facebook launched a new unit of time, the flick, equivalent to 1/705600000 of a second, exactly.[492][493]

In popular culture

Facebook parade float in San Francisco Pride 2014

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook

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The Pronk Pops Show 781, October 21, 2016, Part 2 of 2: Story 1: Who Won The Third 2016 Presidential Debate? Trump — Who Will Be Elected President of The United States? — Who Do You Trust The Most? — Trump — Verdict On Hillary Clinton’s Criminal Activities Given By American People on Election Day, November 8 — Videos — Story 2: Hillary Clinton Is Nurse Ratched! — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 781: October 21, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 780: October 20, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 779: October 19, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 778: October 18, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 777: October 17, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 776: October 14, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 775: October 13, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 772: October 10, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 771: October 7, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 770: October 6, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 769: October 5, 2016 

Pronk Pops Show 768: October 3, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 767: September 30, 2016

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Story 1: Who Won The Third 2016 Presidential Debate? Trump — Who Will Be Elected President of The United States? — Who Do You Trust The Most? — Trump — Verdict On Hillary Clinton’s Criminal Activities Given By American People on Election Day, November 8 —  Videos

 

Electoral College Projections as of October 19th

October 19, 2016

As we head into the final presidential debate, and with just under three weeks to go until the 2016 presidential election, here’s the state of the race from the viewpoint of 14 forecasters. You can find all the associated maps, as well as a few others, on our2016 Presidential Election Forecasts page.

Since our last update on October 13th, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s average total electoral votes are little changed. Clinton is at 300, Trump 187. Within Trump’s average, however, we are beginning to see an erosion in states where the Republican nominee is favored vs. those that are leaning in his direction. For example, a couple forecasters have moved Texas from favored to leaning.

Note that the statistical projections (shaded in gray) in the table may change several times a day as new input data (e.g., polls released that day) are processed by the models. This will lead to more variability vs. the other forecasters.

http://www.270towin.com/news/2016/10/19/electoral-college-projections-october-19th_398.html#.WAgvH-iAOko

Latest Polls

Wednesday, October 19
Race/Topic   (Click to Sort) Poll Results Spread
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Quinnipiac Clinton 47, Trump 40, Johnson 7, Stein 1 Clinton +7
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton Quinnipiac Clinton 50, Trump 44 Clinton +6
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein IBD/TIPP Clinton 40, Trump 41, Johnson 8, Stein 6 Trump +1
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton IBD/TIPP Clinton 44, Trump 41 Clinton +3
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Bloomberg Clinton 47, Trump 38, Johnson 8, Stein 3 Clinton +9
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Economist/YouGov Clinton 42, Trump 38, Johnson 6, Stein 1 Clinton +4
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Reuters/Ipsos Clinton 42, Trump 38, Johnson 6, Stein 2 Clinton +4
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Rasmussen Reports Clinton 42, Trump 42, Johnson 7, Stein 1 Tie
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton LA Times/USC Tracking Clinton 44, Trump 44 Tie
North Carolina: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson SurveyUSA Clinton 46, Trump 44, Johnson 6 Clinton +2
North Carolina: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson Civitas (R) Clinton 45, Trump 43, Johnson 5 Clinton +2
Pennsylvania: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Emerson Clinton 45, Trump 41, Johnson 4, Stein 4 Clinton +4
New Hampshire: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Emerson Clinton 44, Trump 36, Johnson 10, Stein 6 Clinton +8
New Hampshire: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein WMUR/UNH Clinton 49, Trump 34, Johnson 8, Stein 2 Clinton +15
Missouri: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Emerson Trump 47, Clinton 39, Johnson 5, Stein 2 Trump +8
Arizona: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Arizona Republic Clinton 43, Trump 38, Johnson 7, Stein 4 Clinton +5
Wisconsin: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Monmouth Clinton 47, Trump 40, Johnson 6, Stein 1 Clinton +7
New York: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Siena Clinton 54, Trump 30, Johnson 5, Stein 4 Clinton +24
Kansas: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein KSN News/SurveyUSA Trump 47, Clinton 36, Johnson 7, Stein 2 Trump +11
Utah: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein vs. McMullin Emerson Trump 27, Clinton 24, McMullin 31, Johnson 5, Stein 0 McMullin +4
Vermont: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Vermont Public Radio Clinton 45, Trump 17, Johnson 4, Stein 3 Clinton +28

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Presidential Debate – October 19, 2016

Full. Third Presidential Debate. Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton. October 19, 2016

LIVE: Third Presidential Debate (C-SPAN)

Social media mocks Hillary Clinton’s ‘creepy grandma’ grin

Hillary Clinton ~~ Pure Evil Devil Laugh (Remix)

Trump: Clinton such a nasty woman

Donald Trump: We need to get out ‘bad hombres’

Trump: Justice Ginsburg apologized to me

TRUMP RESPONDS! Project Veritas Action – Clinton Campaign and DNC Incite Violence at Trump Rallies

UPDATE , A MUST WATCH Project Veritas #3

Fox & Friends 10/15/16 NEW Wikileaks Bombshell Hillary Clinton Open Border

WikiLeaks Doc Dump on Hillary! Calls for Open Borders in Leaked Emails! – 10/7/16

WikiLeaks Hits Hillary Clinton with a 9.0 Magnitude Earthquake | 08 Oct 2016

Michael Savage – If Trumps Wins Elite Will Blame Russia And Cancel Elections

RUSH: What In The World Happened To All The Trump Voters?

LIMBAUGH: Woman Who Claims Trump ‘OCTOPUSED’ Her Is MAKING IT UP!

Wikileaks Blows To Pieces Rigged Media, Project Veritas Destroys Democratic Party Operatives

Rigging the Election – Video I: Clinton Campaign and DNC Incite Violence at Trump Rallies

Rigging the Election – Video II: Mass Voter Fraud

FOX NEWS ALERT 10/18/16 Trump On Clinton Email Scandal This Is Big Stuff. This Is Watergate.

Hillary Clinton The Movie Banned by the Courts in 2008

3 Reasons Not To Sweat The “Citizens United” SCOTUS Ruling

What You Probably Haven’t Heard About Citizens United

Justice Scalia on Citizens United (C-SPAN)

Crooked Hillary Threatens to Ban Gun Ownership With Supreme Court Nominations

Hillary Clinton Outlines Plan to Abolish the Second Amendment

The Heller Ruling, Five Years On (Robert Levy)

Dem Operative Who Oversaw Trump Rally Agitators Visited White House 342 Times

PETER HASSON

Reporter, Associate Editor

A key operative in a Democratic scheme to send agitators to cause unrest at Donald Trump’s rallies has visited the White House 342 times since 2009, White House records show.

Robert Creamer, who acted as a middle man between the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and “protesters” who tried — and succeeded — to provoke violence at Trump rallies met with President Obama during 47 of those 342 visits, according to White House records. Creamer’s last visit was in June 2016.

Creamer, whose White House visits were first pointed out by conservative blog Weasel Zippers, is stepping back from his role within the Clinton campaign. (RELATED: Second O’Keefe Video Shows Dem Operative Boasting About Voter Fraud)

Hidden camera video from activist James O’Keefe showed Creamer bragging that his role within the Clinton campaign was to oversee the work of Americans United for Change, a non-profit organization that sent activists to Trump rallies. (RELATED: Activist Who Took Credit For Violent Chicago Protests Was On Hillary’s Payroll)

Scott Foval, the national field director for Americans United for Change, explained how the scheme works.
“The [Clinton] campaign pays DNC, DNC pays Democracy Partners, Democracy Partners pays the Foval Group, The Foval Group goes and executes the shit,” Foval told an undercover journalist.
One example of the “shit” Foval executes was an instance in which a 69-year-old woman garnered headlines after claiming to be assaulted at a Trump rally.

“She was one of our activists,” Foval said.

Creamer’s job was to “manage” the work carried out by Foval.

“And the Democratic Party apparatus and the people from the campaign, the Clinton campaign and my role with the campaign, is to manage all that,” Creamer told an undercover journalist.

“Wherever Trump and Pence are gonna be we have events,” he said.

http://dailycaller.com/2016/10/18/exposed-dem-operative-who-oversaw-trump-rally-agitators-visited-white-house-342-times/#ixzz4Naebnlzy

 

 

Citizens United v. FEC

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Citizens United” redirects here. For the political organization, see Citizens United (organization). For other uses, see Citizens United (disambiguation).
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg

Argued March 24, 2009
Reargued September 9, 2009
Decided January 21, 2010
Full case name Citizens United, Appellant v. Federal Election Commission
Docket nos. 08-205
Citations 558 U.S. 310 (more)

130 S.Ct. 876
Argument Oral argument
Reargument Reargument
Opinion announcement Opinion announcement
Prior history denied appellants motion for a preliminary injunction 530 F. Supp. 2d 274 (D.D.C. 2008)[1]probable jurisdiction noted128 S. Ct. 1471 (2008).
Holding
The Freedom of the Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. And the provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act prohibiting unions, corporations and not-for-profit organizations from broadcasting electioneering communications within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary election violates the clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. United States District Court for the District of Columbia reversed.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Kennedy, joined by Roberts, Scalia, Alito; Thomas (all but Part IV); Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor (only as to Part IV)
Concurrence Roberts, joined by Alito
Concurrence Scalia, joined by Alito; Thomas (in part)
Concur/dissent Stevens, joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor
Concur/dissent Thomas
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. I, Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
This case overturned a previous ruling or rulings
McConnell v. FEC (in part)

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205, 558U.S.310 (2010), is a U.S. constitutional law and corporate law case dealing with the regulation of campaign spending by organizations. The United States Supreme Court held (5–4) that freedom of speech prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. The principles articulated by the Supreme Court in the case have also been extended to for-profit corporations, labor unions and other associations.[2][3]

In the case, the conservativenon-profit organizationCitizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts, which was a violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or “BCRA”.[4] Section 203 of BCRA defined an “electioneering communication” as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary, and prohibited such expenditures by corporations and unions. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia held that §203 of BCRA applied and prohibited Citizens United from advertising the film Hillary: The Movie in broadcasts or paying to have it shown on television within 30 days of the 2008 Democratic primaries.[1][5] The Supreme Court reversed this decision, striking down those provisions of BCRA that prohibited corporations (including nonprofit corporations) and unions from making independent expenditures and “electioneering communications”.[4] The majority decision overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) and partially overruled McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003).[6] The Court, however, upheld requirements for public disclosure by sponsors of advertisements (BCRA §201 and §311). The case did not involve the federal ban on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties, which remain illegal in races for federal office.[7]

Background

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (known as BCRA or McCain–Feingold Act) – specifically §203, which modified the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, 2 U.S.C.§ 441b – prohibited corporations and unions from using their general treasury to fund “electioneering communications” (broadcast advertisements mentioning a candidate) within 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election. During the 2004 presidential campaign, a conservative nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization named Citizens United filed a complaint before the Federal Election Commission (FEC) charging that advertisements for Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11, a docudrama critical of the Bush administration’s response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, constituted political advertising and thus could not be aired within the 30 days before a primary election or 60 days before a general election. The FEC dismissed the complaint after finding no evidence that broadcast advertisements for the film and featuring a candidate within the proscribed time limits had actually been made.[8] The FEC later dismissed a second complaint which argued that the movie itself constituted illegal corporate spending advocating the election or defeat of a candidate, which was illegal under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 and the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974. In dismissing that complaint, the FEC found that:

The complainant alleged that the release and distribution of FAHRENHEIT 9/11 constituted an independent expenditure because the film expressly advocated the defeat of President Bush and that by being fully or partially responsible for the film’s release, Michael Moore and other entities associated with the film made excessive and/or prohibited contributions to unidentified candidates. The Commission found no reason to believe the respondents violated the Act because the film, associated trailers and website represented bona fide commercial activity, not “contributions” or “expenditures” as defined by the Federal Election Campaign Act.[9]

In the wake of these decisions, Citizens United sought to establish itself as a bona fide commercial film maker, producing several documentary films between 2005 and 2007. By early 2008, it sought to run television commercials to promote its political documentary Hillary: The Movie and to air the movie on DirecTV.[10]

In the District Court

In December 2007 Citizens United filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the constitutionality of several statutory provisions governing “electioneering communications”.[11] It asked the court to declare that the corporate and union funding restrictions were unconstitutional both on its face and as applied to Hillary: The Movie, and to enjoin the Federal Election Commission from enforcing its regulations. Citizens United also argued that the Commission’s disclosure and disclaimer requirements were unconstitutional as applied to the movie pursuant to the Supreme Court decision in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc.. It also sought to enjoin the funding, disclosure, and disclaimer requirements as applied to Citizens United’s intended ads for the movie.

In accordance with special rules in section 403 of the BCRA, a three-judge court was convened to hear the case. On January 15, 2008, the court denied Citizens United’s motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that the suit had little chance of success because the movie had no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote against Senator Clinton, that it was therefore express advocacy, not entitled to exemption from the ban on corporate funding of electioneering communications, and that television advertisements for the movie within 30 days of a primary violated the BCRA restrictions on “electioneering communications”.[12] The court held that the Supreme Court in McConnell v. FEC (2003) had found the disclosure requirements constitutional as to all electioneering communications, and Wisconsin RTL did not disturb this holding because the only issue of that case was whether speech that did not constitute the functional equivalent of express advocacy could be banned during the relevant pre-election period.

On July 18, 2008, the District Court granted summary judgement to the Federal Election Commission. In accordance with the special rules in the BCRA, Citizens United appealed to the Supreme Court which docketed the case on August 18, 2008 and granted certiorari on November 14, 2008.[13]

The Supreme Court heard oral argument on March 24, 2009[10][14][15] and then asked for further briefs on June 29; the re-argument was heard on September 9, 2009.[13]

Before the Supreme Court

During the original oral argument, Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm L. Stewart (representing the FEC) argued that under Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the government would have the power to ban books if those books contained even one sentence expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate and were published or distributed by a corporation or labor union.[16] In response to this line of questioning, Stewart further argued that under Austin the government could ban the digital distribution of political books over the Amazon Kindle or prevent a union from hiring a writer to author a political book.[17]

According to a 2012 article in The New Yorker by Jeffrey Toobin, the Court expected after oral argument to rule on the narrow question that had originally been presented: could Citizens United show the film? At the subsequent conference among the justices after oral argument, the vote was 5–4 in favor of Citizens United being allowed to show the film. The justices voted the same as they had in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., a similar 2007 case, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito in the majority.[18]

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the initial opinion of the Court, holding that the BCRA allowed the showing of the film. A draft concurring opinion by Justice Kennedy argued that the court could and should have gone much further. The other justices in the majority began agreeing with Kennedy, and convinced Roberts to reassign the writing and allow Kennedy’s concurrence to become the majority opinion.[18]

On the other side, John Paul Stevens, the most senior justice in the minority, assigned the dissent to David Souter, who announced his retirement from the Court while he was working on it. The final draft went beyond critiquing the majority. Toobin described it as “air[ing] some of the Court’s dirty laundry,” writing that Souter’s dissent accused Roberts of having manipulated Court procedures to reach his desired result – an expansive decision that, Souter claimed, changed decades of election law and ruled on issues neither party to the litigation had presented.[18]

According to Toobin, Roberts was concerned that Souter’s dissent, likely to be his last opinion for the Court, could “damage the Court’s credibility.” He agreed with the minority to withdraw the opinion and schedule the case for reargument. However, when he did, the “Questions Presented” to the parties were more expansive, touching on the issues Kennedy had identified. According to Toobin, the eventual result was therefore a foregone conclusion from that point on.[18] Toobin’s account has been criticized for drawing conclusions unsupported by the evidence in his article.[19]

On June 29, 2009, the last day of the term, the Court issued an order directing the parties to re-argue the case on September 9 after briefing whether it might be necessary to overrule Austin and/or McConnell v. Federal Election Commission to decide the case.[20] Justice Stevens noted in his dissent that in its prior motion for summary judgment Citizens United had abandoned its facial challenge of BCRA §203, with the parties agreeing to the dismissal of the claim.[21]

Justice Sotomayor sat on the bench for the first time during the second round of oral arguments. This was the first case argued by then-Solicitor General and future Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. Former Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson and First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams argued for Citizens United, and former Clinton Solicitor General Seth Waxman defended the statute on behalf of various supporters.[22] Legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky called it “one of the most important First Amendment cases in years”.[23]

Opinions of the Court

Majority opinion

Justice Kennedy, the author of the Court’s opinion.

Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion[24] found that the BCRA §203 prohibition of all independent expenditures by corporations and unions violated the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. The majority wrote, “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”[25]

Justice Kennedy’s opinion also noted that because the First Amendment does not distinguish between media and other corporations, the BCRA restrictions improperly allowed Congress to suppress political speech in newspapers, books, television, and blogs.[4] The Court overruled Austin, which had held that a state law that prohibited corporations from using treasury money to support or oppose candidates in elections did not violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court also overruled that portion of McConnell that upheld BCRA’s restriction of corporate spending on “electioneering communications”. The Court’s ruling effectively freed corporations and unions to spend money both on “electioneering communications” and to directly advocate for the election or defeat of candidates (although not to contribute directly to candidates or political parties).

The majority ruled that the Freedom of the Press clause of the First Amendment protects associations of individuals in addition to individual speakers, and further that the First Amendment does not allow prohibitions of speech based on the identity of the speaker. Corporations, as associations of individuals therefore, have free speech rights under the First Amendment. Because spending money is essential to disseminating speech, as established in Buckley v. Valeo, limiting a corporation’s ability to spend money is unconstitutional because it limits the ability of its members to associate effectively and to speak on political issues.

The decision overruled Austin because that decision allowed different restrictions on speech-related spending based on corporate identity. Additionally, the decision said that Austinwas based on an “equality” rationale – trying to equalize speech between different speakers – that the Court had previously rejected as illegitimate under the First Amendment in Buckley. The Michigan statute at issue in Austin had distinguished between corporate and union spending, prohibiting the former while allowing the latter. The Austin Court, over the dissent by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and O’Connor, had held that such distinctions were within the legislature’s prerogative. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, however, the majority argued that the First Amendment purposefully keeps the government from interfering in the “marketplace of ideas” and “rationing” speech, and it is not up to the legislatures or the courts to create a sense of “fairness” by restricting speech.[24]

The majority also criticized Austin’s reasoning that the “distorting effect” of large corporate expenditures constituted a risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption. Rather, the majority argued that the government had no place in determining whether large expenditures distorted an audience’s perceptions, and that the type of “corruption” that might justify government controls on spending for speech had to relate to some form of “quid pro quo” transaction: “There is no such thing as too much speech.”[24] The public has a right to have access to all information and to determine the reliability and importance of the information. Additionally, the majority did not believe that reliable evidence substantiated the risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption, and so this rationale did not satisfy strict scrutiny.

The Court’s opinion relied heavily on the reasoning and principles of the landmark campaign finance case of Buckley and First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, in which the Court struck down a broad prohibition against independent expenditures by corporations in ballot initiatives and referenda.[24] Specifically, the Court echoed Bellotti’s rejection of categories based on a corporation’s purpose. The majority argued that to grant Freedom of the Press protections to media corporations, but not others, presented a host of problems; and so all corporations should be equally protected from expenditure restrictions.

The Court found that BCRA §§201 and 311, provisions requiring disclosure of the funder, were valid as applied to the movie advertisements and to the movie itself.[24] The majority ruled for the disclosure of the sources of campaign contributions, saying that

…prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters. Shareholders can determine whether their corporation’s political speech advances the corporation’s interest in making profits, and citizens can see whether elected officials are “in the pocket” of so-called moneyed interests…This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages.[26][27]

Concurrences

Chief Justice Roberts, with whom Justice Alito joined, wrote separately “to address the important principles of judicial restraint and stare decisis implicated in this case”.[28]

Roberts wrote to further explain and defend the Court’s statement that “there is a difference between judicial restraint and judicial abdication.” Roberts explained why the Court must sometimes overrule prior decisions. Had prior Courts never gone against stare decisis, for example, “segregation would be legal, minimum wage laws would be unconstitutional, and the Government could wiretap ordinary criminal suspects without first obtaining warrants”. Roberts’ concurrence recited a plethora of case law in which the court had ruled against precedent. Ultimately, Roberts argued that “stare decisis…counsels deference to past mistakes, but provides no justification for making new ones”.[28]

Justice Scalia joined the opinion of the Court, and wrote a concurring opinion joined by Justice Alito in full and by Justice Thomas in part. Scalia addressed Justice Stevens‘ dissent, specifically with regard to theoriginal understanding of the First Amendment. Scalia said Stevens’ dissent was “in splendid isolation from the text of the First Amendment…It never shows why ‘the freedom of speech’ that was the right of Englishmen did not include the freedom to speak in association with other individuals, including association in the corporate form.” He further considered the dissent’s exploration of the Framers’ views about the “role of corporations in society” to be misleading, and even if valid, irrelevant to the text. Scalia principally argued that the First Amendment was written in “terms of speech, not speakers” and that “Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker.”[29] Scalia argued that the Free Press clause was originally intended to protect the distribution of written materials and did not only apply to the media specifically. This understanding supported the majority’s contention that the Constitution does not allow the Court to separate corporations into media and non-media categories.[24]

Justice Thomas wrote a separate opinion concurring in all but the upholding of the disclosure provisions. In order to protect the anonymity of contributors to organizations exercising free speech, Thomas would have struck down the reporting requirements of BCRA §201 and §311 as well, rather than allowing them to be challenged only on a case-specific basis. Thomas’s primary argument was that anonymous free speech is protected and that making contributor lists public makes the contributors vulnerable to retaliation, citing instances of retaliation against contributors to both sides of a then recent California voter initiative. Thomas also expressed concern that such retaliation could extend to retaliation by elected officials. Thomas did not consider “as-applied challenges” to be sufficient to protect against the threat of retaliation.[30]

Dissent

Justice Stevens, the author of the dissenting opinion.

A dissenting opinion by Justice Stevens[31] was joined by Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor. To emphasize his unhappiness with the majority, Stevens read part of his 90-page dissent from the bench.[32] Stevens concurred in the Court’s decision to sustain BCRA’s disclosure provisions, but dissented from the principal holding of the Court. He argued that the Court’s ruling “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.” He added: “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.”[33]

Stevens also argued that the Court addressed a question not raised by the litigants when it found BCRA §203 to be facially unconstitutional, and that the majority “changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law”.[24] He argued that the majority had expanded the scope beyond the questions presented by the appellant and that therefore a sufficient record for judging the case did not exist. Stevens argued that at a minimum the Court should have remanded the case for a fact-finding hearing, and that the majority did not consider other compilations of data, such as the Congressional record for justifying BCRA §203.

Stevens referenced a number of major cases to argue that the Court had long recognized that to deny Congress the power to safeguard against “the improper use of money to influence the result [of an election] is to deny to the nation in a vital particular the power of self protection”.[34] After recognizing that in Buckley v. Valeo the Court had struck down portions of a broad prohibition of independent expenditures from any sources, Stevens argued that nevertheless Buckley recognized the legitimacy of “prophylactic” measures for limiting campaign spending and found the prevention of “corruption” to be a reasonable goal for legislation. Consequently, Stevens argued that Buckley left the door open for carefully tailored future regulation.[24] Although the majority echoed many of the arguments in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, Stevens argued that the majority opinion contradicted the reasoning of other campaign finance cases – in particular, Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce and McConnell v. Federal Election Commission – and found it telling that the majority, when citing such cases, referenced mainly dissenting opinions.

Stevens’ dissent specifically sought to address a number of the majority’s central arguments:

First, Stevens argued that the majority failed to recognize the possibility for corruption outside strict quid pro quo exchanges. He referenced facts from a previous BCRA challenge to argue that, even if the exchange of votes for expenditures could not be shown, contributors gain favorable political access from such expenditures.[24] The majority considered access to be insufficient justification for limiting speech rights.

Stevens, however, argued that in the past, even when striking down a ban on corporate independent expenditures, the Court “never suggested that such quid pro quo debts must take the form of outright vote buying or bribes” (Bellotti). Buckley, he said, also acknowledged that large independent expenditures present the same dangers as quid pro quo arrangements, although Buckley struck down limits on such independent expenditures. Using the record from a previous BCRA §203 challenge, he argued that independent expenditures were sometimes a factor in gaining political access and concluded that large independent expenditures generate more influence than direct campaign contributions.[24] Furthermore, Stevens argued that corporations could threaten Representatives and Senators with negative advertising to gain unprecedented leverage. Stevens supported his argument by citing Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co.,[35] where the Court held that $3 million in independent expenditures in a judicial race raised sufficient questions about a judge’s impartiality to require the judge to recuse himself in a future case involving the spender. Stevens argued that it was contradictory for the majority to ignore the same risks in legislative and executive elections, and argued that the majority opinion would exacerbate the problem presented in Caperton because of the number of states with judicial elections and increased spending in judicial races.

Second, Stevens argued that the majority did not place enough emphasis on the need to prevent the “appearance of corruption” in elections. Earlier cases, including Buckley and Bellotti, recognized the importance of public confidence in democracy. Stevens cited recent data indicating that 80% of the public view corporate independent expenditures as a method used to gain unfair legislative access.[24] Stevens predicted that if the public believes that corporations dominate elections, disaffected voters will stop participating.

Third, Stevens argued that the majority’s decision failed to recognize the dangers of the corporate form. Austin held that the prevention of corruption, including the distorting influence of a dominant funding source, was a sufficient reason for regulating corporate independent expenditures. In defending Austin, Stevens argued that the unique qualities of corporations and other artificial legal entities made them dangerous to democratic elections. These legal entities, he argued, have perpetual life, the ability to amass large sums of money, limited liability, no ability to vote, no morality, no purpose outside profit-making, and no loyalty. Therefore, he argued, the courts should permit legislatures to regulate corporate participation in the political process.

Legal entities, Stevens wrote, are not “We the People” for whom our Constitution was established.[24] Therefore, he argued, they should not be given speech protections under the First Amendment. The First Amendment, he argued, protects individual self-expression, self-realization and the communication of ideas. Corporate spending is the “furthest from the core of political expression” protected by the Constitution, he argued, citing Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont,[36] and corporate spending on politics should be viewed as a business transaction designed by the officers or the boards of directors for no purpose other than profit-making. Stevens called corporate spending “more transactional than ideological”. Stevens also pointed out that any member of a corporation may spend personal money on promoting a campaign because BCRA only prohibited the use of general treasury money.

Fourth, Stevens attacked the majority’s central argument: that the prohibition of spending guards free speech and allows the general public to receive all available information. Relying on Austin, Stevens argued that corporations “unfairly influence” the electoral process with vast sums of money that few individuals can match, which distorts the public debate. Because a typical voter can only absorb so much information during a relevant election period, Stevens described “unfair corporate influence” as the potential to outspend others, to push others out of prime broadcasting spots and to dominate the “marketplace of ideas”.[24] This process, he argued, puts disproportionate focus on this speech and gives the impression of widespread support regardless of actual support. Thus, this process marginalizes the speech of other individuals and groups.

Stevens referred to the majority’s argument that “there is no such thing as too much speech” as “facile” and a “straw man” argument. He called it an incorrect statement of First Amendment law because the Court recognizes numerous exceptions to free speech, such as fighting words, obscenity restrictions, time, place and manner restrictions, etc. Throughout his dissent, Stevens said that the majority’s “slogan” ignored the possibility that too much speech from one source could “drown out” other points of view.

Fifth, Stevens criticized the majority’s fear that the government could use BCRA §203 to censor the media. The focus placed on this hypothetical fear made no sense to him because it did not relate to the facts of this case – if the government actually attempted to apply BCRA §203 to the media (and assuming that Citizens United could not constitute “media”), the Court could deal with the problem at that time. Stevens described the majority’s supposed protection of the media as nothing more than posturing. According to him, it was the majority’s new rule, announced in this case, that prohibited a law from distinguishing between “speakers” or funding sources. This new rule would be the only reason why media corporations could not be exempted from BCRA §203. In this, Stevens and the majority conceptualize the First Amendment’s protection of “the press” quite differently. Stevens argues that the “Press” is an entity, which can be distinguished from other persons and entities which are not “press”. The majority opinion viewed “freedom of the press” as an activity, applicable to all citizens or groups of citizens seeking to publish views.

Sixth, Stevens claimed that the majority failed to give proper deference to the legislature. Stevens predicted that this ruling would restrict the ability of the states to experiment with different methods for decreasing corruption in elections. According to Stevens, this ruling virtually ended those efforts, “declaring by fiat” that people will not “lose faith in our democracy”.[24] Stevens argued that the majority’s view of a self-serving legislature, passing campaign-spending laws to gain an advantage in retaining a seat, coupled with “strict scrutiny” of laws, would make it difficult for any campaign finance regulation to be upheld in future cases.

Seventh, Stevens argued that the majority opinion ignored the rights of shareholders. A series of cases protects individuals from legally compelled payment of union dues to support political speech.[37] Because shareholders invest money in corporations, Stevens argued that the law should likewise help to protect shareholders from funding speech that they oppose. The majority, however, argued that ownership of corporate stock was voluntary, and that unhappy shareholders could simply sell off their shares if they did not agree with the corporation’s speech. Stevens also argued that Political Action Committees (PACs), which allow individual members of a corporation to invest money in a separate fund, are an adequate substitute for general corporate speech and better protect shareholder rights. The majority, by contrast, had argued that most corporations are too small and lack the resources and raw number of shareholders and management staff necessary to cover the compliance, accounting, and administrative costs of maintaining a PAC. In this dispute, the opposing views essentially discussed differing types of entities: Stevens focused his argument on large, publicly held corporations, while the justices in the majority, and particularly Justice Scalia’s concurring opinion, placed an emphasis on small, closely held corporations and non-profits.

Stevens called the majority’s faith in “corporate democracy” an unrealistic method for a shareholder to oppose political funding. A derivative suit is slow, inefficient, risky and potentially expensive. Likewise, shareholder meetings only happen a few times a year, not prior to every decision or transaction. Rather, the officers and boards control the day-to-day spending, including political spending. According to Stevens, the shareholders have few options, giving them “virtually nonexistent” recourse for opposing a corporation’s political spending.[24] Furthermore, most shareholders use investment intermediaries, such as mutual funds or pensions, and by the time a shareholder may find out about a corporation’s political spending and try to object, the damage is done and the shareholder has funded disfavored speech.

Stevens concluded his dissent:

At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.[25]

Subsequent developments

There was a wide range of reactions to the case from politicians, academics, attorneys, advocacy groups and journalists.

Support

Politicians

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a plaintiff in the earlier related decision McConnell v. FEC, said:[38][39]

For too long, some in this country have been deprived of full participation in the political process. With today’s monumental decision, the Supreme Court took an important step in the direction of restoring the First Amendment rights of these groups by ruling that the Constitution protects their right to express themselves about political candidates and issues up until Election Day. By previously denying this right, the government was picking winners and losers. Our democracy depends upon free speech, not just for some but for all.

Republican campaign consultant Ed Rollins opined that the decision adds transparency to the election process and will make it more competitive.[40]

Advocacy groups

Citizens United, the group filing the lawsuit, said, “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Citizens United to air its documentary films and advertisements is a tremendous victory, not only for Citizens United but for every American who desires to participate in the political process.”[41] During litigation, Citizens United had support from the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Rifle Association.[42]

Campaign finance attorney Cleta Mitchell, who had filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of two advocacy organizations opposing the ban, wrote that “The Supreme Court has correctly eliminated a constitutionally flawed system that allowed media corporations (e.g., The Washington Post Co.) to freely disseminate their opinions about candidates using corporate treasury funds, while denying that constitutional privilege to Susie’s Flower Shop Inc. … The real victims of the corporate expenditure ban have been nonprofit advocacy organizations across the political spectrum.”[43]

Heritage Foundation fellow Hans A. von Spakovsky, a former Republican member of the Federal Election Commission, said “The Supreme Court has restored a part of the First Amendment that had been unfortunately stolen by Congress and a previously wrongly-decided ruling of the court.”[44]

Libertarian Cato Institute analysts John Samples and Ilya Shapiro wrote that restrictions on advertising were based on the idea “that corporations had so much money that their spending would create vast inequalities in speech that would undermine democracy”. However, “to make campaign spending equal or nearly so, the government would have to force some people or groups to spend less than they wished. And equality of speech is inherently contrary to protecting speech from government restraint, which is ultimately the heart of American conceptions of free speech.”[45]

The American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief that supported the decision,[46] saying that “section 203 should now be struck down as facially unconstitutional”, though membership was split over the implications of the ruling and its board sent the issue to its special committee on campaign finance for further consideration.[47] On March 27, 2012, the ACLU reaffirmed its stance in support of the Supreme Court’sCitizens United ruling.[48]

Academics and attorneys

Bradley A. Smith, professor of law at Capital University Law School, former chairman of the FEC, founder of the Center for Competitive Politics and a leading proponent of deregulation of campaign finance, wrote that the major opponents of political free speech are “incumbent politicians” who “are keen to maintain a chokehold on such speech”. Empowering “small and midsize corporations – and every incorporated mom-and-pop falafel joint, local firefighters’ union, and environmental group – to make its voice heard” frightens them.[49] In response to statements by President Obama and others that the ruling would allow foreign entities to gain political influence through U.S. subsidiaries, Smith pointed out that the decision did not overturn the ban on political donations by foreign corporations and the prohibition on any involvement by foreign nationals in decisions regarding political spending by U.S. subsidiaries, which are covered by other parts of the law.[50][51][52]

Campaign finance expert Jan Baran, a member of the Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform, agreed with the decision, writing that “The history of campaign finance reform is the history of incumbent politicians seeking to muzzle speakers, any speakers, particularly those who might publicly criticize them and their legislation. It is a lot easier to legislate against unions, gun owners, ‘fat cat’ bankers, health insurance companies and any other industry or ‘special interest’ group when they can’t talk back.” Baran further noted that in general conservatives and libertarians praised the ruling’s preservation of the First Amendment and freedom of speech, but that liberals and campaign finance reformers criticized it as greatly expanding the role of corporate money in politics.[53]

Attorney Kenneth Gross, former associate general counsel of the FEC, wrote that corporations relied more on the development of long-term relationships, political action committees and personal contributions, which were not affected by the decision. He held that while trade associations might seek to raise funds and support candidates, corporations which have “signed on to transparency agreements regarding political spending” may not be eager to give.[43]

The New York Times asked seven academics to opine on how corporate money would reshape politics as a result of the court’s decision.[54] Three of the seven wrote that the effects would be minimal or positive: Christopher Cotton, a University of Miami School of Business assistant professor of economics, wrote that “There may be very little difference between seeing eight ads or seeing nine ads (compared to seeing one ad or two). And, voters recognize that richer candidates are not necessarily the better candidates, and in some cases, the benefit of running more ads is offset by the negative signal that spending a lot of money creates.[54]Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at UCLA, stated that the “most influential actors in most political campaigns” are media corporations which “overtly editorialize for and against candidates, and also influence elections by choosing what to cover and how to cover it”. Holding that corporations like Exxon would fear alienating voters by supporting candidates, the decision really meant that voters would hear “more messages from more sources”.[54] Joel Gora, a professor at Brooklyn Law School who had previously argued the case of Buckley v. Valeo on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that the decision represented “a great day for the First Amendment” writing that the Court had “dismantled the First Amendment ‘caste system’ in election speech”.[54]

Journalists

The Editorial Board of the San Antonio Express-News criticized McCain–Feingold’s exception for media corporations from the ban on corporate electioneering, writing that it “makes no sense” that the paper could make endorsements up until the day of the election but advocacy groups could not. “While the influence of money on the political process is troubling and sometimes corrupting, abridging political speech is the wrong way to counterbalance that influence.”[55]

Anthony Dick in National Review countered a number of arguments against the decision, asking rhetorically, “is there something uniquely harmful and/or unworthy of protection about political messages that come from corporations and unions, as opposed to, say, rich individuals, persuasive writers, or charismatic demagogues?” He noted that “a recent Gallup poll shows that a majority of the public actually agrees with the Court that corporations and unions should be treated just like individuals in terms of their political-expenditure rights”.[56] A Gallup poll taken in October 2009 and released soon after the decision showed 57 percent of those surveyed agreed that contributions to political candidates are a form of free speech and 55 percent agreed that the same rules should apply to individuals, corporations and unions. Sixty-four percent of Democrats and Republicans believed campaign donations are a form of free speech.[57]

Chicago Tribune editorial board member Steve Chapman wrote “If corporate advocacy may be forbidden as it was under the law in question, it’s not just Exxon Mobil and Citigroup that are rendered mute. Nonprofit corporations set up merely to advance goals shared by citizens, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association, also have to put a sock in it. So much for the First Amendment goal of fostering debate about public policy.”[58]

Opposition

Politicians

President Barack Obama stated that the decision “gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington – while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates”.[59] Obama later elaborated in his weekly radio address saying, “this ruling strikes at our democracy itself” and “I can’t think of anything more devastating to the public interest”.[60]On January 27, 2010, Obama further condemned the decision during the 2010 State of the Union Address, stating that, “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law[61] to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.” On television, the camera shifted to a shot of the SCOTUS judges in the front row directly in front of the President while he was making this statement, and Justice Samuel Alito was frowning, shaking his head side to side while mouthing the words “Not true”.[62][63][64][65][66][67]

Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, a lead sponsor of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, stated “This decision was a terrible mistake. Presented with a relatively narrow legal issue, the Supreme Court chose to roll back laws that have limited the role of corporate money in federal elections since Teddy Roosevelt was president.”[68]RepresentativeAlan Grayson, a Democrat, stated that it was “the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case, and that the court had opened the door to political bribery and corruption in elections to come.[69] Democratic congresswoman Donna Edwards, along with constitutional law professor and Maryland Democratic State Senator Jamie Raskin, have advocated petitions to reverse the decision by means of constitutional amendment.[70] Rep. Leonard Boswell introduced legislation to amend the constitution.[71] Senator John Kerry also called for an Amendment to overrule the decision.[72] On December 8, 2011, Senator Bernie Sanders proposed the Saving American Democracy Amendment, which would reverse the court’s ruling.[73][74]

Republican Senator John McCain, co-crafter of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, said “there’s going to be, over time, a backlash … when you see the amounts of union and corporate money that’s going to go into political campaigns”.[75] McCain was “disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court and the lifting of the limits on corporate and union contributions” but not surprised by the decision, saying that “It was clear that Justice Roberts, Alito and Scalia, by their very skeptical and even sarcastic comments, were very much opposed to BCRA.”[68] Republican Senator Olympia Snowe opined that “Today’s decision was a serious disservice to our country.”[76]

Although federal law after Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission still prohibited corporate contributions to all political parties, Sanda Everette, co-chair of the Green Party, stated that “The ruling especially hurts the ability of parties that don’t accept corporate contributions, like the Green Party, to compete.” Another Green Party officer, Rich Whitney, stated “In a transparently political decision, a majority of the US Supreme Court overturned its own recent precedent and paid tribute to the giant corporate interests that already wield tremendous power over our political process and political speech.”

Ralph Nader condemned the ruling,[77] saying that “With this decision, corporations can now directly pour vast amounts of corporate money, through independent expenditures, into the electoral swamp already flooded with corporate campaign PAC contribution dollars.” He called for shareholder resolutions asking company directors to pledge not to use company money to favor or oppose electoral candidates.[78]Pat Choate, former Reform Party candidate for Vice President, stated, “The court has, in effect, legalized foreign governments and foreign corporations to participate in our electoral politics.”[79]

Senator Bernie Sanders, a contender in the 2016 Democratic Primary, has filed a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Decision.[80] Further, both Sanders and Hillary Clinton have said that, if elected, they will only appoint Supreme Court Justices who are committed to the repeal of Citizens United.[81] In September 2015, Sanders said that “the foundations of American Democracy are being undermined” and called for sweeping campaign finance reform.[82]

International

Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, speaking for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe‘s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (which has overseen over 150 elections) said the ruling may adversely affect the organization’s two commitments of “giving voters a genuine choice and giving candidates a fair chance” in that “it threatens to further marginalize candidates without strong financial backing or extensive personal resources, thereby in effect narrowing the political arena”.[83]

Academics and attorneys

Money isn’t speech and corporations aren’t people
— David Kairys[84]

The constitutional law scholar Laurence H. Tribe wrote that the decision “marks a major upheaval in First Amendment law and signals the end of whatever legitimate claim could otherwise have been made by the Roberts Court to an incremental and minimalist approach to constitutional adjudication, to a modest view of the judicial role vis-à-vis the political branches, or to a genuine concern with adherence to precedent” and pointed out, “Talking about a business corporation as merely another way that individuals might choose to organize their association with one another to pursue their common expressive aims is worse than unrealistic; it obscures the very real injustice and distortion entailed in the phenomenon of some people using other people’s money to support candidates they have made no decision to support, or to oppose candidates they have made no decision to oppose.”[85]

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, whose opinions had changed from dissenting in Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce to co-authoring (with Stevens) the majority opinion in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission twelve years later, criticized the decision only obliquely, but warned, “In invalidating some of the existing checks on campaign spending, the majority in Citizens United has signaled that the problem of campaign contributions in judicial elections might get considerably worse and quite soon.”[86]

Richard L. Hasen, professor of election law at Loyola Law School, argued that the ruling “is activist, it increases the dangers of corruption in our political system and it ignores the strong tradition of American political equality”. He also described Justice Kennedy’s “specter of blog censorship” as sounding more like “the rantings of a right-wing talk show host than the rational view of a justice with a sense of political realism”.[87]

Kathleen M. Sullivan, professor at Stanford Law School and Steven J. Andre, adjunct professor at Lincoln Law School, argued that two different visions of freedom of speech exist and clashed in the case. An egalitarian vision skeptical of the power of large agglomerations of wealth to skew the political process conflicted with a libertarian vision skeptical of government being placed in the role of determining what speech people should or should not hear.[88][89] Wayne Batchis, Professor at the University of Delaware, in contrast, argues that the Citizens United decision represents a misguided interpretation of the non-textual freedom of association.[90]

The four other scholars of the seven writing in the aforementionedNew York Times article were critical.[54]Richard L. Hasen, Distinguished Professor of election law at Loyola Law School argued differently from his Slate article above, concentrating on the “inherent risk of corruption that comes when someone spends independently to try to influence the outcome of judicial elections”, since judges are less publicly accountable than elected officials. Heather K. Gerken, Professor of Law at Yale Law School wrote that “The court has done real damage to the cause of reform, but that damage mostly came earlier, with decisions that made less of a splash.” Michael Waldman, director of the Brennan Center for Justice at N.Y.U. School of Law, opined that the decision “matches or exceeds Bush v. Gore in ideological or partisan overreaching by the court”, explaining how “Exxon or any other firm could spend Bloomberg-level sums in any congressional district in the country against, say, any congressman who supports climate change legislation, or health care, etc.” andFred Wertheimer, founder and president of Democracy 21 considered that “Chief Justice Roberts has abandoned the illusory public commitments he made to ‘judicial modesty’ and ‘respect for precedent’ to cast the deciding vote for a radical decision that profoundly undermines our democracy,” and that “Congress and presidents past have recognized this danger and signed numerous laws over the years to prevent this kind of corruption of our government.”[54]

Journalists

The New York Times stated in an editorial, “The Supreme Court has handed lobbyists a new weapon. A lobbyist can now tell any elected official: if you vote wrong, my company, labor union or interest group will spend unlimited sums explicitly advertising against your re-election.”[91]Jonathan Alter called it the “most serious threat to American democracy in a generation”.[92] The Christian Science Monitor wrote that the Court had declared “outright that corporate expenditures cannot corrupt elected officials, that influence over lawmakers is not corruption, and that appearance of influence will not undermine public faith in our democracy”.[93]

Business leaders

In 2012, Ben Cohen, the co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, founded Stamp Stampede, a sustained protest to demonstrate widespread support for a proposed constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. The campaign encourages people to rubber stamp messages such as “Not To Be Used for Bribing Politicians” on paper currency. In 2014, Cohen told Salon, “As long as the Supreme Court rules money is speech, corporations and the wealthy are using it by giving piles of it to politicians to pass or not pass laws that they want. Now, the rest of the people, [those] who don’t have that money, can actually make their voice heard by using money to stamp a message out.”[94]

Media coverage

Political blogs

Most blogs avoided the theoretical aspects of the decision and focused on more personal and dramatic elements, including the Barack ObamaSamuel Alito face-off during the President’s State of the Union address.[95] There, President Obama argued that the decision “reversed a century of law” (the federal ban on corporate contributions dates back to the 1907 Tillman Act, and the ban on union and corporate expenditures dates from 1947) and that it would allow “foreign corporations to spend without limits in our elections”, during which Justice Alito, in the audience, perceptibly mouthed the words “not true”. This event received extensive comment from political bloggers, with a substantial amount of the coverage concentrated on whether or not foreign corporations would be able to make substantial political contributions in US elections. In the opinion, the Court had specifically indicated it was not overturning the ban on foreign contributions.

Opinion polls

ABC-Washington Post poll results.

An ABC–Washington Post poll conducted February 4–8, 2010, showed that 80% of those surveyed opposed (and 65% strongly opposed) the Citizens United ruling, which the poll described as saying “corporations and unions can spend as much money as they want to help political candidates win elections”. Additionally, 72% supported “an effort by Congress to reinstate limits on corporate and union spending on election campaigns”. The poll showed large majority support from Democrats, Republicans and independents.[96][97][98]

A Gallup Poll conducted in October 2009, after oral argument, but released after the Supreme Court released its opinion, found that 57 percent of those surveyed “agreed that money given to political candidates is a form of free speech” and 55 percent agreed that the “same rules should apply to individuals, corporations and unions”. However, in the same poll respondents by 52% to 41% prioritized limits on campaign contributions over protecting rights to support campaigns and 76% thought the government should be able to place limits on corporation or union donations.[99][100]

Separate polls by various conservative organizations, including the plaintiff Citizens United and the Center for Competitive Politics, found support for the decision.[101] In particular, the Center for Competitive Politics poll[102] found that 51% of respondents believed that Citizens United should have a right to air ads promoting Hillary: The Movie. The poll also found that only 22 percent had heard of the case.

Further court rulings

SpeechNow v. FEC

Main article: SpeechNOW v. FEC

SpeechNow is a nonprofit, unincorporated association organized as a section 527 entity under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The organization was formed by individuals who seek to pool their resources to make independent expenditures expressly advocating the election or defeat of federal candidates. SpeechNow planned to accept contributions only from individuals, not corporations or other sources prohibited under the Federal Election Campaign Act. On February 14, 2008, SpeechNow and several individual plaintiffs filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the constitutionality of the Federal Election Campaign Act provisions governing political committee registration, contribution limits and disclosure. The plaintiffs contended that the Act unconstitutionally restricts their association guaranteed under the First Amendment. By requiring registration as a political committee and limiting the monetary amount that an individual may contribute to a political committee, SpeechNow and the other plaintiffs asserted that the Act unconstitutionally restricted the individuals’ freedom of speech by limiting the amount that an individual can contribute to SpeechNow and thus the amount the organization may spend. SpeechNow also argued that the reporting required of political committees is unconstitutionally burdensome.[103]

On March 26, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in SpeechNow.org. v. FEC that the contribution limits of 2 U.S.C. §441a were unconstitutional as applied to individuals’ contributions to SpeechNow. The court also ruled that the reporting requirements of 2 U.S.C. §§432, 433 and 434(a) and the organizational requirements of 2 U.S.C. §431(4) and §431(8) can be constitutionally applied to SpeechNow.[103] A unanimous nine-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals[104] struck down the federal limits on contributions to federal political committees that make only independent expenditures and do not contribute to candidates or political parties. This type of “independent expenditure committee” is inherently non-corruptive, the Court reasoned, and therefore contributions to such a committee can not be limited based on the government’s interest in preventing political corruption.[105] In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, in which the Supreme Court held that the government has no anti-corruption interest in limiting independent expenditures, the appeals court ruled that “contributions to groups that make only independent expenditures cannot corrupt or create the appearance of corruption.” As a result, the court of appeals held that the government has no anti-corruption interest in limiting contributions to an independent group such as SpeechNow. Contribution limits as applied to SpeechNow “violate the First Amendment by preventing [individuals] from donating to SpeechNow in excess of the limits and by prohibiting SpeechNow from accepting donations in excess of the limits.” The court noted that its holding does not affect direct contributions to candidates, but rather contributions to a group that makes only independent expenditures.[103] The appeals court held that, while disclosure and reporting requirements do impose a burden on First Amendment interests, they “‘impose no ceiling on campaign related activities'” and “‘do not prevent anyone from speaking.'” Furthermore, the court held that the additional reporting requirements that the Commission would impose on SpeechNow if it were organized as a political committee are minimal, “given the relative simplicity with which SpeechNow intends to operate.” Since SpeechNow already had a number of “planned contributions” from individuals, the court ruled that SpeechNow could not compare itself to “ad hoc groups that want to create themselves on the spur of the moment.” Since the public has an interest in knowing who is speaking about a candidate and who is funding that speech, the court held that requiring such disclosure and organization as a political committee are sufficiently important governmental interests to justify the additional reporting and registration burdens on SpeechNow.[103]

Public electoral financing

Main article: McComish v. Bennett

On June 27, 2011, ruling in the consolidated cases of Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett (No. 10-238) and McComish v. Bennett (No. 10-239), the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional an Arizona law that provided extra taxpayer-funded support for office seekers who have been outspent by privately funded opponents or by independent political groups. A conservative 5–4 majority of justices said the law violated free speech, concluding the state was impermissibly trying to “level the playing field” through a public finance system. Arizona lawmakers had argued there was a compelling state interest in equalizing resources among competing candidates and interest groups.[106] Opponents said the law violated free-speech rights of the privately financed candidates and their contributors, inhibiting fundraising and spending, discouraging participation in campaigns and limiting what voters hear about politics.[107] Chief Justice John Roberts said in the court’s majority opinion that the law substantially burdened political speech and was not sufficiently justified to survive First Amendment scrutiny.[107]

As a consequence of the decision, states and municipalities are blocked from using a method of public financing that is simultaneously likely to attract candidates fearful that they will be vastly outspent and sensitive to avoiding needless government expense. “The government can still use taxpayer funds to subsidize political campaigns, but it can only do that in a manner that provides an alternative to private financing” said William R. Maurer, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, which represented several challengers of the law. “It cannot create disincentives.”[108] The ruling meant the end of similar matching-fund programs in Connecticut, Maine and a few other places according to David Primo, a political science professor at the University of Rochester who was an expert witness for the law’s challengers.[109]

State campaign-spending limits

Despite the Citizens United ruling, In December 2011, the Montana Supreme Court, in Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Attorney General of Montana, upheld that state’s law limiting corporate contributions. Examining the history of corporate interference in Montana government that led to the Corrupt Practices Law, the majority decided that the state still had a compelling reason to maintain the restrictions. It ruled that these restrictions on speech were narrowly tailored and withstood strict scrutiny and thus did not contradict Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

While granting permission to file a Certiorari petition, the US Supreme Court agreed to stay the Montana ruling, although Justices Ginsburg and Breyer wrote a short statement urging the Court “to consider whether, in light of the huge sums of money currently deployed to buy candidate’s allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway”.[110] In June 2012, over the dissent of the same four judges who dissented in Citizens United, the Court simultaneously granted certiorari and summarily reversed the decision in American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock, 567, U.S. __ (2012).[111] The Supreme Court majority rejected the Montana Supreme Court arguments in a two paragraph, twenty line per curiam opinion, stating that these arguments “either were already rejected in Citizens United, or fail to meaningfully distinguish that case.”[112] The ruling makes clear that states cannot bar corporate and union political expenditures in state elections.[113]

McCutcheon v. FEC

Main article: McCutcheon v. FEC

In addition to limiting the size of donations to individual candidates and parties, the Federal Election Campaign Act also includes aggregate caps on the total amount that an individual may give to all candidates and parties. In 2012, Shaun McCutcheon, a Republican Party activist,[114][115] sought to donate more than was allowed by the federal aggregate limit on federal candidates.[116] McCutcheon et al filed suit against theFederal Election Commission (FEC).[117] In 2014, the US Supreme Court reversed a ruling of the DC District Court‘s dismissal of McCutcheon v. FEC and struck down the aggregate limits. The plurality opinion invalidated only the aggregate contribution limits, not limits on giving to any one candidate or party. The decisive fifth vote for McCutcheon came from Justice Thomas, who concurred in the judgment on the grounds that all contribution limits are unconstitutional.[118]

Legislative responses

Legislative impact

The New York Times reported that 24 states with laws prohibiting or limiting independent expenditures by unions and corporations would have to change their campaign finance laws because of the ruling.[119]

After Citizens United and SpeechNow.org numerous state legislatures raised their limits on contributions to candidates and parties.[120] At the federal level, lawmakers substantially increased contribution limits to political parties as part of the 2014 budget bill.[121] Such changes are widely perceived as efforts to place candidates and parties on something closer to equal footing with organizations making independent expenditures.[121]

While many states and the federal government have raised contribution limits in response to Citizens United, proposals aimed at discouraging political spending, or providing for public financing of campaigns, have been less successful.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) proposed that candidates who sign up small donors receive $900,000 in public money, but the proposal has not been acted on by Congress. Others proposed that laws on corporate governance be amended to assure that shareholders vote on political expenditures.[92]

In February 2010, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, immediate past Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, outlined legislation aimed at undoing the decision.[122] In April 2010, they introduced such legislation in the Senate and House, respectively.[123] On June 24, 2010, H.R.5175 (The DISCLOSE Act) passed in the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate. It would have required additional disclosure by corporations of their campaign expenditures. The law, if passed, would also have prohibited political spending by U.S. companies with twenty percent or more foreign ownership, and by most government contractors.[124] The DISCLOSE Act included exemptions to its rules given to certainspecial interests such as the National Rifle Association and the American Association of Retired Persons. These gaps within the proposal attracted criticism from lawmakers on both political parties. “They are auctioning off pieces of the First Amendment in this bill… The bigger you are, the stronger you are, the less disclosure you have,” said Republican Congressman Dan Lungren of California. Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California commented, “I wish there had been no carve-outs”.[125] The bill was criticized as prohibiting much activity that was legal before Citizens United.[126]

The DISCLOSE Act twice failed to pass the U.S. Senate in the 111th Congress, in both instances reaching only 59 of the 60 votes required to overcome a unified Republican filibuster.[127][128] A scaled down version of the DISCLOSE Act was reintroduced in both the House and Senate in 2012 but did not pass.[citation needed]

Some have argued for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision. Although the decision does not address “corporate personhood,” a long-established judicial and constitutional concept,[129] much attention has focused on that issue. Move to Amend, a coalition formed in response to the ruling,[130] seeks to amend the Constitution to abolish corporate personhood, thus stripping corporations of all rights under the Constitution.[131][132] In an online chat with web community Reddit, President Obama endorsed further consideration of a constitutional amendment and stated “Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court Doesn’t revisit it)”.[133] He further elaborated that “Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight on the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”[133]

Legislative reactions by state and local lawmakers

Members of 16 state legislatures have called for a constitutional amendment to reverse the court’s decision: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.[134][135]

Most of these are non-binding resolutions. However, three states – Vermont, California, and Illinois – called for an Article V Convention to draft and propose a federal constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.[136] In Minnesota, the Minnesota Senate passed a similar resolution, “Senate File No. 17,” on May 2, 2013, but the House of Representatives returned the measure to the General Calendar (meaning the measure did not pass) on May 15, 2013.[137] Thirty-four states are needed to call an Article V convention.

On a local level, Washington D.C. and 400 other municipalities passed resolutions requesting a federal constitutional amendment.[138]

Since Citizens United, however, 13 states have actually raised their contribution limits.[120]

Political impact

The Citizens United ruling “opened the door” for unlimited election spending by corporations, but most of this spending has “ended up being funneled through the groups that have become known as super PACs”.[139]While critics predicted that the ruling would “bring about a new era of corporate influence in politics” allowing companies and businesspeople to “buy elections” to promote their financial interests, as of 2016, in fact large corporations still play a “negligible role” in presidential election spending. Instead large expenditures, usually through “Super PACS,” have come from “a small group of billionaires”, based largely on ideology. This has shifted power “away from the political parties and toward the … donors themselves. In part, this explains the large number and variety of candidates fielded by the Republicans in 2016.”[139] The ability of individuals to spend unlimited sums was first affirmed by the Supreme Court, however, not in Citizens United, but in Buckley v. Valeo, decided in 1976.

Super PACs

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has often been credited for the creation of “super PACs“, political action committees which make no financial contributions to candidates or parties, and so can accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and unions. Certainly, the holding in Citizens United helped affirm the legal basis for super PACs by deciding that, for purposes of establishing a “compelling government interest” of corruption sufficient to justify government limitations on political speech, “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption”.[140]

However, it took another decision, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Speechnow.org v. Federal Election Commission, to actually authorize the creation of super PACs. While Citizens United held that corporations and unions could make independent expenditures, a separate provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act, at least as long interpreted by the Federal Election Commission, held that individuals could not contribute to a common fund without it becoming a PAC. PACs, in turn, were not allowed to accept corporate or union contributions of any size or to accept individual contributions in excess of $5,000. In Speechnow.org, the D.C. Circuit, sitting en banc, held 9–0 that in light of Citizens United, such restrictions on the sources and size of contributions could not apply to an organization that made only independent expenditures in support of or opposition to a candidate, but not contributions to a candidate’s campaign.

Citizens United and SpeechNOW left their imprint on the 2012 United States presidential election, in which single individuals contributed large sums to “super PACs” supporting particular candidates. Sheldon Adelson, the gambling entrepreneur, gave approximately fifteen million dollars to support Newt Gingrich. Foster Friess, a Wyoming financier, donated almost two million dollars to Rick Santorum’s super PAC. Karl Rove organized super PACs that spent over $300 million in support of Republicans during the 2012 elections.[141]

In addition to indirectly providing support for the creation of super PACs, Citizens United allowed incorporated 501(c)(4) public advocacy groups (such as the National Rifle Association, the Sierra Club, and the group Citizens United itself) and trade associations to make expenditures in political races. Such groups may not, under the tax code, have a primary purpose of engaging in electoral advocacy. These organizations must disclose their expenditures, but unlike super PACs they do not have to include the names of their donors in their FEC filings. A number of partisan organizations such as Karl Rove‘s influential conservative Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies and the liberal 21st Century Colorado have since registered as tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups (defined as groups promoting “social welfare”) and engaged in substantial political spending.[142][143] This has led to claims[144][145][146] of large secret donations, and questions about whether such groups should be required to disclose their donors. Historically, such non-profits have not been required to disclose their donors or names of members. See National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama.

In an August 2015 essay in Der Spiegel, Markus Feldkirchen wrote that the Citizens United decision was “now becoming visible for the first time” in federal elections as the super-rich have “radically” increased donations to support their candidates and positions via super PACs. Feldkirchen also said in the first six months of 2015 the candidates and their super PACs received close to $400 million: “far more than in the entire previous campaign.” He opined that super-rich donating more than ever before to individual campaigns plus the “enormous” chasm in wealth has given the super-rich the power to steer the economic and political direction of the United States and undermine its democracy.[147] In October 2015, the New York Times observed that just 158 super-rich families each contributed $250,000 or more, while an additional 200 families gave more than $100,000 for the 2016 presidential election. Both groups contributed almost half of the “early money” for candidates in the 2016 presidential election as of June 30, 2015 through channels like super PACs legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.[148][149]

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC

District of Columbia v. Heller

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Dick Heller” redirects here. For the sportswriter, see Dick Heller (sportswriter).
District of Columbia v. Heller
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg

Argued March 18, 2008
Decided June 26, 2008
Full case name District of Columbia, et al. v. Dick Anthony Heller
Docket nos. 07-290
Citations 554 U.S. 570 (more)

128 S. Ct. 2783; 171 L. Ed. 2d 637; 2008 U.S. LEXIS 5268; 76 U.S.L.W. 4631; 21 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 497
Argument Oral argument
Opinion announcement Opinion announcement
Prior history Provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 infringe an individual’s right to bear arms as protected by the Second Amendment. District Court for the District of Columbia reversed.
Procedural history Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Holding
The Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Scalia, joined by Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito
Dissent Stevens, joined by Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer
Dissent Breyer, joined by Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. II; D.C. Code §§ 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22–4504, 7–2507.02

District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), was a landmarkcase in which the Supreme Court of the United States held in a 5-4 decision that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution applies to federal enclaves and protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. The decision did not address the question of whether the Second Amendment extends beyond federal enclaves to the states,[1] which was addressed later by McDonald v. Chicago (2010). It was the first Supreme Court case to decide whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.[2]

On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Heller v. District of Columbia.[3][4] The Supreme Court struck down provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 as unconstitutional, determined that handguns are “arms” for the purposes of the Second Amendment, found that the Regulations Act was an unconstitutional ban, and struck down the portion of the Regulations Act that requires all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock“. Prior to this decision the Firearms Control Regulation Act of 1975 also restricted residents from owning handguns except for those registered prior to 1975.

Lower court background

In 2002, Robert A. Levy, a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, began vetting plaintiffs with Clark M. Neily III for a planned Second Amendment lawsuit that he would personally finance. Although he himself had never owned a gun, as a Constitutional scholar he had an academic interest in the subject and wanted to model his campaign after the legal strategies of Thurgood Marshall, who had successfully led the challenges that overturned school segregation.[5] They aimed for a group that would be diverse in terms of gender, race, economic background, and age, and selected six plaintiffs from their mid-20s to early 60s, three men and three women, four white and two black:[6]

Shelly Parker
A software designer and former nurse who had been active in trying to rid her neighborhood of drugs. Parker is a single woman whose life had been threatened on numerous occasions by drug dealers who had sometimes tried to break into her house.[7][8]
Tom G. Palmer
A colleague of Robert A. Levy at the Cato Institute and the only plaintiff that Levy knew before the case began.[6] Palmer, who is gay, defended himself with a 9mm handgun in 1982. While walking with a friend in San Jose, California, he was accosted by a gang of about 20 young men who used profane language regarding his sexual orientation and threatened his life. When he produced his gun, the men fled. Palmer believes that the handgun saved his life.[9][10]
Gillian St. Lawrence
A mortgage broker who lives in the Georgetown section of D.C. and who owns several legally registered long guns which she uses for recreation in nearby Chantilly, Virginia. It had taken St. Lawrence two years to complete the registration process. She wanted to be able to use these guns to defend herself in her home and to be able to register a handgun.[11][12]
Tracey Ambeau (now Tracey Hanson)
An employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Originally from St. Gabriel, Louisiana, she lives in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of D.C. with her husband, Andrew Hanson, who is from Waterloo, Iowa. They live in a high-crime neighborhood near Union Station in D. C. She grew up around guns and wanted one to defend her home.[13][11]
George Lyon
A communications lawyer who had previously contacted the National Rifle Association about filing a lawsuit to challenge the D.C. gun laws. Lyon held D.C. licenses for a shotgun and a rifle, but wanted to have a handgun in his home.[14]
Dick Anthony Heller
A licensed special police officer for the District of Columbia. For his job, Heller carried a gun in federal office buildings, but was not allowed to have one in his home.[15] Heller had lived in southeast D.C. near the Kentucky Courts public housing complex since 1970 and had seen the neighborhood “transformed from a child-friendly welfare complex to a drug haven”. Heller had also approached the National Rifle Association about a lawsuit to overturn the D.C. gun ban, but the NRA declined.[11]

Previous federal case law pertaining to the question of an individual’s right to bear arms included United States v. Emerson, 270 F.3d 203 (5th Cir. 2001), which supported the right and Silveira v. Lockyer, 312 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2002), which opposed the right. The Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939) was interpreted to support both sides of the issue.

District Court

In February 2003, the six residents of Washington, D.C. filed a lawsuit in the District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging the constitutionality of provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975, a local law (part of the District of Columbia Code) enacted pursuant to District of Columbia home rule. This law restricted residents from owning handguns, excluding those grandfathered in by registration prior to 1975 and those possessed by active and retired law enforcement officers. The law also required that all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.”[16] They filed for an injunction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.§ 2201, 2202, and 42 U.S.C.§ 1983. District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina dismissed the lawsuit.

Court of Appeals

On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed the dismissal in a 2–1 decision. The Court of Appeals struck down provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act as unconstitutional. JudgesKaren L. Henderson, Thomas B. Griffith and Laurence H. Silberman formed the Court of Appeals panel, with Senior Circuit Judge Silberman writing the court’s opinion and Circuit Judge Henderson dissenting.

The court’s opinion first addressed whether appellants have standing to sue for declaratory and injunctive relief in section II (slip op. at 5–12). The court concluded that of the six plaintiffs, only Heller – who applied for a handgun permit but was denied – had standing.

The court then held that the Second Amendment “protects an individual right to keep and bear arms”, saying that the right was “premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad).” They also noted that though the right to bear arms also helped preserve the citizen militia, “the activities [the Amendment] protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual’s enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia.” The court determined that handguns are “Arms” and concluded that thus they may not be banned by the District of Columbia.

The court also struck down the portion of the law that requires all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.” The District argued that there is an implicit self-defense exception to these provisions, but the D.C. Circuit rejected this view, saying that the requirement amounted to a complete ban on functional firearms and prohibition on use for self-defense:[17]

Section 7-2507.02, like the bar on carrying a pistol within the home, amounts to a complete prohibition on the lawful use of handguns for self-defense. As such, we hold it unconstitutional.

Henderson’s dissent

In her dissent, Circuit Judge Henderson stated that Second Amendment rights did not extend to residents of Washington D.C., writing:

To sum up, there is no dispute that the Constitution, case law and applicable statutes all establish that the District is not a State within the meaning of the Second Amendment. Under United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. at 178, the Second Amendment’s declaration and guarantee that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” relates to the Militia of the States only. That the Second Amendment does not apply to the District, then, is, to me, an unavoidable conclusion.[18]

Petition for rehearing

In April 2007, the District and Mayor Adrian Fenty petitioned for rehearing en banc, arguing that the ruling creates inter- and intra-jurisdictional conflict.[19] On May 8, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied the request to rehear the case, by a 6–4 vote.

Supreme Court

The defendants petitioned the United States Supreme Court to hear the case. The plaintiffs did not oppose but, in fact, welcomed the petition. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case on November 20, 2007.[20]The court rephrased the question to be decided as follows:

The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted limited to the following question: Whether the following provisions, D.C. Code §§ 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22–4504(a), and 7-2507.02, violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?

This represented the first time since the 1939 case United States v. Miller that the Supreme Court had directly addressed the scope of the Second Amendment.[16]

Amicus curiae briefs

Because of the controversial nature of the case, it garnered much attention from many groups on both sides of the gun rights issue. Many of those groups filed amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs, about 47 urging the court to affirm the case and about 20 to remand it.[21]

A majority of the members of Congress[22] signed the brief authored by Stephen Halbrook advising that the case be affirmed overturning the ban on handguns not otherwise restricted by Congress.[23]Vice PresidentDick Cheney joined in this brief, acting in his role as President of the United States Senate, and breaking with the George W. Bush administration’s official position.[22] Arizona Senator John McCain, Republican, also signed the brief. Then Illinois Senator Barack Obama, did not.[24]

A majority of the states signed the brief of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, authored by Abbott’s solicitor general, Ted Cruz,[25] advising that the case be affirmed, while at the same time emphasizing that the states have a strong interest in maintaining each of the states’ laws prohibiting and regulating firearms.[26][27][28] Law enforcement organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police and the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, also filed a brief urging that the case be affirmed.[29]

A number of organizations signed friend of the court briefs advising that the case be remanded, including the United States Department of Justice[30] and Attorneys General of New York, Hawaii, Maryland,Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico.[31] Additionally, friend of the court briefs to remand were filed by a spectrum of religious and anti-violence groups,[32] a number of cities and mayors,[33] and many police chiefs and law enforcement organizations.[34]

A collection of organizations and prominent scholars, represented by Attorney Jeffrey Teichert, submitted an “errors brief” arguing that many of the common historical and factual “myths and misrepresentations” generally offered in favor of banning handguns were in error. Teichert’s errors brief argued from a historical perspective that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to keep and bear arms.[dead link][35]

Oral arguments

Robert A. Levy (left) and Alan Gura, counsel for Heller

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case on March 18, 2008. Both the transcript[36] and the audio[37] of the argument have been released. Each side was initially allotted 30 minutes to argue its case, with U.S. Solicitor GeneralPaul D. Clement allotted 15 minutes to present the federal government’s views.[38] During the argument, however, extra time was extended to the parties, and the argument ran 23 minutes over the allotted time.[39]

Walter E. Dellinger of the law firm O’Melveny & Myers, also a professor at Duke University Law School and former Acting Solicitor General, argued the District’s side before the Supreme Court. Dellinger was assisted by Thomas Goldstein of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Robert Long of Covington & Burling and D.C. Solicitor General Todd Kim. The law firms assisting the District worked pro bono.[40]

Alan Gura, of the D.C.-based law firm Gura & Possessky, was lead counsel for Heller, and argued on his behalf before the Supreme Court.[41] Robert Levy, a senior fellow at theCato Institute, and Clark Neily, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, were his co-counsel.[42][43]

Decision

The Supreme Court held:[44]

(1) The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53.
(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.
(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved. Pp. 22–28.
(c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment. Pp. 28–30.
(d) The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms. Pp. 30–32.
(e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.
(f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542 , nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252 , refutes the individual-rights interpretation.United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174 , does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes.
(2) Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. Pp. 54–56.
(3) The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition – in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is most acute – would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional. Because Heller conceded at oral argument that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement. Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home. Pp. 56–64.

The Opinion of the Court, delivered by Justice Scalia, was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. and by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.[45]

Second Amendment findings and reasoning for the decision

The Illinois Supreme Court in People v. Aguilar (2013), summed up the Hellers findings and reasoning:

In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the Supreme Court undertook its first-ever “in-depth examination” of the second amendment’s meaning Id. at 635. After a lengthy historical discussion, the Court ultimately concluded that the second amendment “guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation” (id. at 592); that “central to” this right is “the inherent right of self-defense”(id. at 628); that “the home” is “where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute” (id. at 628); and that, “above all other interests,” the second amendment elevates “the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home” (id. at 635). Based on this understanding, the Court held that a District of Columbia law banning handgun possession in the home violated the second amendment. Id. at 635.[46]

Issues addressed by the majority

The core holding in D.C. v. Heller is that the Second Amendment is an individual right intimately tied to the natural right of self-defense.

The Scalia majority invokes much historical material to support its finding that the right to keep and bear arms belongs to individuals; more precisely, Scalia asserts in the Court’s opinion that the “people” to whom the Second Amendment right is accorded are the same “people” who enjoy First and Fourth Amendment protection: “‘The Constitution was written to be understood by the voters; its words and phrases were used in their normal and ordinary as distinguished from technical meaning.’ United States v. Sprague, 282 U. S. 716, 731 (1931); see also Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, 188 (1824). Normal meaning may of course include an idiomatic meaning, but it excludes secret or technical meanings….”

With that finding as anchor, the Court ruled a total ban on operative handguns in the home is unconstitutional, as the ban runs afoul of both the self-defense purpose of the Second Amendment – a purpose not previously articulated by the Court – and the “in common use at the time” prong of the Miller decision: since handguns are in common use, their ownership is protected.

The Court applies as remedy that “[a]ssuming that Heller is not disqualified from the exercise of Second Amendment rights, the District must permit him to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home.” The Court, additionally, hinted that other remedy might be available in the form of eliminating the license requirement for carry in the home, but that no such relief had been requested: “Respondent conceded at oral argument that he does not ‘have a problem with … licensing’ and that the District’s law is permissible so long as it is ‘not enforced in an arbitrary and capricious manner.’ Tr. of Oral Arg. 74–75. We therefore assume that petitioners’ issuance of a license will satisfy respondent’s prayer for relief and do not address the licensing requirement.”

In regard to the scope of the right, the Court wrote, in an obiter dictum, “Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”[47]

The Court also added dicta regarding the private ownership of machine guns. In doing so, it suggested the elevation of the “in common use at the time” prong of the Miller decision, which by itself protects handguns, over the first prong (protecting arms that “have some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia”), which may not by itself protect machine guns: “It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service – M16 rifles and the like – may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home.”[48]

The Court did not address which level of judicial review should be used by lower courts in deciding future cases claiming infringement of the right to keep and bear arms: “[S]ince this case represents this Court’s first in-depth examination of the Second Amendment, one should not expect it to clarify the entire field.” The Court states, “If all that was required to overcome the right to keep and bear arms was a rational basis, the Second Amendment would be redundant with the separate constitutional prohibitions on irrational laws, and would have no effect.”[49] Also, regarding Justice Breyer’s proposal of a “judge-empowering ‘interest-balancing inquiry,'” the Court states, “We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding ‘interest-balancing’ approach.”[50]

Dissenting opinions

In a dissenting opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens stated that the court’s judgment was “a strained and unpersuasive reading” which overturned longstanding precedent, and that the court had “bestowed a dramatic upheaval in the law”.[51] Stevens also stated that the amendment was notable for the “omission of any statement of purpose related to the right to use firearms for hunting or personal self-defense” which was present in the Declarations of Rights of Pennsylvania and Vermont.[51]

The Stevens dissent seems to rest on four main points of disagreement: that the Founders would have made the individual right aspect of the Second Amendment express if that was what was intended; that the “militia” preamble and exact phrase “to keep and bear arms” demands the conclusion that the Second Amendment touches on state militia service only; that many lower courts’ later “collective-right” reading of the Miller decision constitutes stare decisis, which may only be overturned at great peril; and that the Court has not considered gun-control laws (e.g., the National Firearms Act) unconstitutional. The dissent concludes, “The Court would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons…. I could not possibly conclude that the Framers made such a choice.”

Justice Stevens’ dissent was joined by Justices David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer.

Justice Breyer filed a separate dissenting opinion, joined by the same dissenting Justices, which sought to demonstrate that, starting from the premise of an individual-rights view, the District of Columbia’s handgun ban and trigger lock requirement would nevertheless be permissible limitations on the right.

The Breyer dissent looks to early municipal fire-safety laws that forbade the storage of gunpowder (and in Boston the carrying of loaded arms into certain buildings), and on nuisance laws providing fines or loss of firearm for imprudent usage, as demonstrating the Second Amendment has been understood to have no impact on the regulation of civilian firearms. The dissent argues the public safety necessity of gun-control laws, quoting that “guns were responsible for 69 deaths in this country each day.'”

With these two supports, the Breyer dissent goes on to conclude, “there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas.” It proposes that firearms laws be reviewed by balancing the interests (i.e., “‘interest-balancing’ approach”) of Second Amendment protections against the government’s compelling interest of preventing crime.

The Breyer dissent also objected to the “common use” distinction used by the majority to distinguish handguns from machineguns: “But what sense does this approach make? According to the majority’s reasoning, if Congress and the States lift restrictions on the possession and use of machineguns, and people buy machineguns to protect their homes, the Court will have to reverse course and find that the Second Amendment does, in fact, protect the individual self-defense-related right to possess a machine-gun…There is no basis for believing that the Framers intended such circular reasoning.”[52]

Non-party involvement

National Rifle Association

Attorney Alan Gura, in a 2003 filing, used the term “sham litigation” to describe the NRA’s attempts to have Parker (aka Heller) consolidated with its own case challenging the D.C. law. Gura also stated that “the NRA was adamant about not wanting the Supreme Court to hear the case”.[53] These concerns were based on NRA lawyers’ assessment that the justices at the time the case was filed might reach an unfavorable decision.[54]Cato Institute senior fellow Robert Levy, co-counsel to the Parker plaintiffs, has stated that the Parker plaintiffs “faced repeated attempts by the NRA to derail the litigation.”[55] He also stated that “The N.R.A.’s interference in this process set us back and almost killed the case. It was a very acrimonious relationship.”[5]

Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s chief executive officer, confirmed the NRA’s misgivings. “There was a real dispute on our side among the constitutional scholars about whether there was a majority of justices on the Supreme Court who would support the Constitution as written,” Mr. LaPierre said.[5] Both Levy and LaPierre said the NRA and Mr. Levy’s team were now on good terms.[5]

Elaine McArdle wrote in the Harvard Law Bulletin: “If Parker is the long-awaited “clean” case, one reason may be that proponents of the individual-rights view of the Second Amendment – including the National Rifle Association, which filed an amicus brief in the case – have learned from earlier defeats, and crafted strategies to maximize the chances of Supreme Court review.” The NRA did eventually support the litigation by filing an amicus brief with the Court arguing that the plaintiffs in Parker had standing to sue and that the D.C. ban was unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.[56]

Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, had indicated support of federal legislation which would repeal the D.C. gun ban. Opponents of the legislation argued that this would have rendered the Parker case moot, and would have effectively eliminated the possibility that the case would be heard by the Supreme Court.[57]

Immediately after the Supreme Court’s ruling, the NRA filed a lawsuit against the city of Chicago over its handgun ban, followed the next day by a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco over its ban of handguns in public housing.[58]

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence opposed the arguments made by the plaintiffs in Parker, and filed amicus curiae against those arguments in both the District and Circuit courts.

Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign, suggested to D.C. before the Court granted certiorari that it modify its gun laws rather than appeal to the Supreme Court.[59] Helmke has written that if the Supreme Court upholds the Circuit court ruling, it “could lead to all current and proposed firearms laws being called into question.”[60]

After the ruling, Paul Helmke stated that, “the classic ‘slippery slope’ argument”, “that even modest gun control would lead down the path to a complete ban on gun ownership”, “is now gone.” Helmke added that, “The Court also rejected the absolutist misreading of the Second Amendment that some use to argue ‘any gun, any time for anyone,’ which many politicians have used as an excuse to do nothing about the scourge of gun violence in our country and to block passage of common sense gun laws.”[61]

Reactions

To the lower court rulings

Various experts expressed opinions on the D.C. Circuit’s decision.

Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe contended that the Second Amendment protects an individual right, and predicted that if Parker is reviewed by the Supreme Court “there’s a really quite decent chance that it will be affirmed.”[56] However, Professor Tribe has also argued that the District’s ban on one class of weapons does not violate the Second Amendment even under an individual rights view.[62]

Erwin Chemerinsky, then of Duke Law School and now dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law, argued that the District of Columbia’s handgun laws, even assuming an “individual rights” interpretation of the Second Amendment, could be justified as reasonable regulations and thus upheld as constitutional. Professor Chemerinsky believes that the regulation of guns should be analyzed in the same way “as other regulation of property under modern constitutional law” and “be allowed so long as it is rationally related to achieving a legitimate government purpose.”[63] However, the dicta in Heller suggests that applying a mere rational basis analysis is an incorrect reading of the Constitution and would, in fact, defeat the entire purpose of the Second Amendment.[49]

To the Supreme Court rulings

Cato Institute senior fellow Robert Levy, co-counsel to the Parker plaintiffs, agreed with the court’s ruling but describes that his interpretation of the Second Amendment would not preclude all governmental regulation of private ownership of weapons:

Even the NRA concedes that you can’t have mad men running around with weapons of mass destruction. So there are some restrictions that are permissible and it will be the task of the legislature and the courts to ferret all of that out and draw the lines. I am sure, though, that outright bans on handguns like they have in D.C. won’t be permitted. That is not a reasonable restriction under anybody’s characterization. It is not a restriction, it’s a prohibition.[64]

Clark Neily, an attorney for Dick Heller in this case, has said regarding Heller:

America went over 200 years without knowing whether a key provision of the Bill of Rights actually meant anything. We came within one vote of being told that it did not, notwithstanding what amounts to a national consensus that the Second Amendment means what it says: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Taking rights seriously, including rights we might not favor personally, is good medicine for the body politic, and Heller was an excellent dose.[65]

Richard Posner, judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, compares Heller to Roe v. Wade, stating that it created a federal constitutional right that did not previously exist, and he asserts that the originalist method – to which Justice Antonin Scalia claimed to adhere – would have yielded the opposite result of the majority opinion.

The text of the amendment, whether viewed alone or in light of the concerns that actuated its adoption, creates no right to the private possession of guns for hunting or other sport, or for the defense of person or property. It is doubtful that the amendment could even be thought to require that members of state militias be allowed to keep weapons in their homes, since that would reduce the militias’ effectiveness. Suppose part of a state’s militia was engaged in combat and needed additional weaponry. Would the militia’s commander have to collect the weapons from the homes of militiamen who had not been mobilized, as opposed to obtaining them from a storage facility? Since the purpose of the Second Amendment, judging from its language and background, was to assure the effectiveness of state militias, an interpretation that undermined their effectiveness by preventing states from making efficient arrangements for the storage and distribution of military weapons would not make sense.[66]

J. Harvie Wilkinson III, chief judge of United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, consents to Posner’s analysis, stating that Heller “encourages Americans to do what conservative jurists warned for years they should not do: bypass the ballot and seek to press their political agenda in the courts.”[67]

Heller thus represents the worst of missed opportunities—the chance to ground conservative jurisprudence in enduring and consistent principles of restraint. The Constitution expresses the need for judicial restraint in many different ways—separation of powers, federalism, and the grant of life tenure to unelected judges among them. It is an irony that Heller would in the name of originalism abandon insights so central to the Framers’ designs.[67]

Alan Gura, Lead Counsel for Respondent in Heller rejects Wilkinson’s criticism, stating that “Rather, the Court affirmed the Second Amendment’s original public meaning, as confirmed by its plain text. Having determined the Amendment’s meaning, the Court showed the proper level of deference to the D.C. City Council’s outright repudiation of the constitutional text: none.”[68]

Post ruling impacts

Since the June 2008 ruling, over 80 different cases have been heard in lower federal courts on the constitutionality of a wide variety of gun control laws.[69][70] These courts have heard lawsuits in regard to bans of firearm possession by felons, drug addicts, illegal aliens, and individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors.[69][70] Also, cases have been heard on the constitutionality of laws prohibiting certain types of weapons, such as machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and/or specific types of weapons attachments. In addition, courts have heard challenges to laws barring guns in post offices and near schools and laws outlawing “straw” purchases, carrying of concealed weapons, types of ammunition and possession of unregistered firearms.[69][70]

The courts have upheld most of these laws as being constitutional.[70] The basis for the lower court rulings is the paragraph near the end of the Heller ruling that states:

Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions on the commercial sale of arms.[71]

Consistently since the Heller ruling, the lower federal courts have ruled that almost all gun control measures as presently legislated are lawful and that according to UCLA professor of constitutional law Adam Winkler: “What gun rights advocates are discovering is that the vast majority of gun control laws fit within these categories.”[69]

Robert Levy, the executive director of the Cato Institute who funded the Heller litigation has commented on this passage describing constitutionally acceptable forms of prohibitions of firearms: “I would have preferred that that not have been there,” and that this paragraph in Scalia’s opinion “created more confusion than light.”[69]

Similar to the lifting of gun bans mentioned previously in the settlements of lawsuits filed post-Heller, in US v. Arzberger, also decided post-Heller, it was noted:

To the extent, then, that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to possess a firearm unrelated to any military purpose, it also establishes a protectible liberty interest. And, although the Supreme Court has indicated that this privilege may be withdrawn from some groups of persons such as convicted felons, there is no basis for categorically depriving persons who are merely accused of certain crimes of the right to legal possession of a firearm.[72]

District of Columbia

The D.C. government indicated it would continue to use zoning ordinances to prevent firearms dealers from operating and selling to citizens residing in the District, meaning it would continue to be difficult for residents to legally purchase guns in the District.[73] Additionally, the District enacted new firearms restrictions in an effort to cure the constitutional defects in the ordinance that the Supreme Court had identified in Heller. The new provisions were: (1) the firearms registration procedures; (2) the prohibition on assault weapons; and (3) the prohibition on large capacity ammunition feeding devices. In response, Dick Heller challenged these new restrictions filing a civil suit named Heller v. District of Columbia (Civil Action No. 08-1289 (RMU), No. 23., 25) where he requested a summary judgment to vacate the new prohibitions. On March 26, 2010, the D.C. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina denied Dick Heller’s request and granted the cross motion, stating that the court “concludes that the regulatory provisions that the plaintiffs challenge permissibly regulate the exercise of the core Second Amendment right to use arms for the purpose of self-defense in the home. “[74]

Dick Heller’s application to register his semi-automatic pistol was rejected because the gun was a bottom-loading weapon, and according to the District’s interpretation, all bottom-loading guns, including magazine-fed non-assault-style rifles, are outlawed because they are grouped with machine guns.[75]Revolvers will likely not fall under such a ban.[76]

On December 16, 2008 the D.C. Council unanimously passed the Firearms Registration Emergency Amendment Act of 2008[77] which addresses the issues raised in the Heller Supreme Court decision, and also puts in place a number of registration requirements to update and strengthen the District’s gun laws.[78]

Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion for the majority provided Second Amendment protection for commonly used and popular handguns but not for atypical arms or arms used for unlawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns. Scalia stated: “Whatever the reason, handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.” “We think that Miller’s “ordinary military equipment” language must be read in tandem with what comes after: “[O]rdinarily when called for [militia] service [able-bodied] men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179.” “We therefore read Miller to say only that the Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns.” “It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service – M-16 rifles and the like – may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty.”[79]

On July 24, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled, in Palmer v. District of Columbia, that the District’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns is unconstitutional.[80][81] In its decision, the Court stated: “[ . . . ] the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.”[82]

New York

Mayor of New York CityMichael Bloomberg said that “all of the laws on the books in New York State and New York City” would be allowed by the ruling as “reasonable regulation.”[83] Robert Levy has stated that the current New York City gun laws are “not much different” from the D.C. ban that has been overturned.[84] The National Rifle Association and other gun-rights advocates have not ruled out suing New York City, especially over the definition of “reasonable regulation”.[85]

Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge James Francis has said that, prior to Heller, it would not have been considered unreasonable to require a defendant to surrender a firearm as a condition of pretrial release. Specifically, according to Judge Francis:[86]

This all changed, with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller; 128 S.Ct. 2783 (2008), where the court changed the course of Second Amendment jurisprudence by creating what he said was a “protectible liberty interest” in the possession of firearms. Thus, in the absence of an individualized determination at a bail hearing, requiring the defendant to give up any firearms violates due process.

Maloney v. Rice (a.k.a. Maloney v. Cuomo and Maloney v. Spitzer), 554 F.3d 56 (2d. Cir. 2009) originally held that the 2nd Amendment does not apply to the states in the Second Circuit. The case involved a state ban on Nunchaku sticks (a martial arts weapon) in New York. In a memorandum opinion dated June 29, 2010, the Supreme Court vacated the Second Circuit decision in Maloney and remanded for further consideration in light of the holding in McDonald v. Chicago that the Second Amendment does apply to the states. The Second Circuit has remanded the case to the trial court.

Illinois

The NRA has filed five related lawsuits since the Heller decision.[87] In four Illinois lawsuits, the NRA sought to have the Second Amendment incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment, causing the Second Amendment to apply to state and local jurisdictions and not just to the federal government.[88] Three Illinois lawsuits have been negotiated and settled out of court involving agreements that repeal gun ban ordinances and did not result in incorporation of the Second Amendment to state and local jurisdictions. The fourth NRA lawsuit against Chicago was rejected.[89] The NRA appealed the case to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. On June 2, 2009, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision, based on the theory that Heller applied only to the Federal Government (including the District of Columbia), and not to states or their subordinate jurisdictions.[citation needed] This opinion directly conflicts with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’s earlier decision, holding that Heller applies to states as well.[citation needed]

On June 28, 2010, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit‘s decision in McDonald v. Chicago and remanded it back to Seventh Circuit to resolve conflicts between certain Chicagogun restrictions and the Second Amendment. Chicago’s handgun law was likened to the D.C. handgun ban by Justice Breyer.[90]

Similarly, three Illinois municipalities with gun control measures on the books that previously had banned all handguns have rescinded their handgun bans.[91][92][93][94] These cities were Morton Grove, Illinois,[95]Wilmette, another Illinois village,[96] and Evanston, Illinois which enacted a partial repeal of its handgun ban.

In Ezell v. Chicago, decided July 6, 2011, the Seventh Circuit reversed a district court decision that the post-McDonald measures adopted by the City of Chicago were constitutional. The Chicago law required firearms training in a shooting range in order to obtain a gun permit, but also banned shooting ranges within the City of Chicago. The City had argued that applicants could obtain their training at gun ranges in the suburbs. The opinion noted that Chicago could not infringe Second Amendment rights on the grounds that they could be exercised elsewhere, any more than it could infringe the right to freedom of speech on the grounds that citizens could speak elsewhere.

California

On January 14, 2009, in Guy Montag Doe v. San Francisco Housing Authority, the San Francisco Housing Authority reached a settlement out of court with the NRA, which allows residents to possess legal firearms within a SFHA apartment building. The San Francisco lawsuit resulted in the elimination of the gun ban from the SF Housing Authority residential lease terms. Tim Larsen speaking for the Housing Authority said that they never intended to enforce its 2005 housing lease gun ban against law-abiding gun owners and have never done so.[97]

On February 13, 2014, in Peruta v. San Diego, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided that the San Diego policy to disallow both concealed carry, and the State of California law that disallowsopen carry anywhere in the state, were not acceptable under Supreme Court precedent in Heller and McDonald. A “responsible, law-abiding citizen has a right under the Second Amendment to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.” More specifically, “the Second Amendment does require that the states permit some form of carry for self-defense outside the home.”(italics in original) … and “carrying weapons in public for the lawful purpose of self defense is a central component of the right to bear arms.”[98] The case was remanded to the district court because “San Diego County’s ‘good cause’ permitting requirement impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense.”[98]

Idaho

On January 10, 2014, in Morris v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the District Court struck down a Corps of Engineers regulation barring possession of loaded guns in recreation areas surrounding Corps dams. The court held that tents are akin to homes, and under Heller, Second Amendment rights are protected.[99]

Legacy

Initial reaction has deemed the Heller ruling to be of great significance, though it remains too soon to tell what the long-term effects may be.[100]Sanford Levinson has written that he is inclined to believe that the Hellerdecision will be relatively insignificant to the practice of law in the long run but that it will have significance to other groups interested in cultural literacy and constitutional designers.[100]

In 2009, both Levinson and Mark Tushnet speculated that it is quite unlikely that the case would be studied as part of casebooks of future law schools.[100] As was predicted,[101] a large surge of court cases was seen in lower federal courts in the aftermath of the 2008 ruling. As of March 2009, over 80 cases had been filed seeking to overturn existing gun laws.[102][needs update]

The decision in McDonald v. Chicago, which was brought in response to Heller and decided in 2010, did invalidate much of Chicago’s gun purchase and registration laws, and has called into question many other state and local laws restricting purchase, possession and carry of firearms.

See also