Facebook Closes $19 Billion WhatsApp Deal

Facebook says it has wrapped up its landmark $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp, a deal that was hashed out in Mark Zuckerberg’s house over the course of a few days in February and sealed over a bottle of Jonnie Walker scotch.

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WhatsApp has continued to run its operation completely independently since then, but the closing of the deal marks the start of a gradual integration as Facebook gives the world’s biggest mobile messaging service legal and administrative support and — eventually, we can presume — finds new ways to monetize the company it spent more than Iceland’s GDP on.

WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton became billionaires last February when Facebook announced it was buying the company they had started five years ago for a jaw-dropping $19 billion. Having mostly shunned venture capital investments till then the founders had kept large stakes. Koum still had around 45% at the time of the deal, leaving the Ukrainian-born immigrant to pocket $6.8 billion and former Yahoo YHOO +1.37% engineer Acton with $3.5 billion after taxes. WhatsApp founder Jan Koum now gets a seat on the Facebook board and will match Zuckerberg’s $1 salary.

Facebook will now award 177.8 million shares of its Class A common stock and $4.59 billion in cash to WhatsApp’s shareholders, it said in an SEC filing over the weekend, plus 45.9 million shares (restricted stock units) to WhatsApp’s employees to complete the deal.

Fortunately for those parties, the value of Facebook’s shares are now higher than they were when the deal was announced in February, notes Re/code’s Peter Kafka, making the deal worth around $21.8 billion.

The acquisition has gone through a few regulatory hoops, but it passed the final one last Friday when the European Union gave it the green light.
WhatsApp makes money by charging a $1 a year subscription in a handful of countries that have clear carrier billing systems and where credit card penetration is high, bringing in about $20 million in annual revenue, according to Forbes’ estimates. That’s not enough to justify a $19 billion price tag, so Facebook is almost certainly looking at other ways the messaging service could make money.

WhatsApp is the most globally diverse messaging service, with more than 600 million monthly active users from Europe to South America to Asia, so some kind of money transfer service for the world’s increasingly globalized workforce might be one way.

Facebook’s interest in the field of money transfer is well known. In April we reported that Facebook had been working since late 2013 on a European-wide money-transfer and storage service. Two months later it hired PayPal CEO David Marcus as head of the company’s “Messaging Products.” Then last week screenshots tweeted by a Stanford computer science student showed Facebook had already put elements of a payments infrastructure into place in Messenger for iOS, which had yet to be activated.

By Parmy Olson | Forbes Staff

Quebec considering demerit points for drivers caught texting

QUEBEC – Quebec’s transport minister is considering toughening sanctions against drivers who are caught texting, including hitting them with four demerit points.

Robert Poeti says it is difficult to assess the extent of the problem but adds that many accidents are caused by motorists using their smartphones while at the wheel.

Poeti told a news conference in Quebec City today that it’s time for action after various awareness campaigns.

Discussions on possible sanctions are being held with Quebec’s automobile insurance board.

It isn’t immediately clear whether demerit points are currently imposed on Quebec drivers who text.

CP3

 

Tips on Social Media Etiquette at Weddings

Wedding etiquette and insurance has become even more complicated thanks to social media. Not only do you have to worry about buying an appropriate gift, but you have to make sure your tweet doesn’t offend the bride.

Thankfully, David’s Bridal Canada did a survey of Canadian brides to find out what their social media rules are for their wedding.

No pre-wedding selfies
The #1 social media rule for weddings is no one and I mean no one is to post a photo of the bride before the wedding starts. This makes complete sense, part of the magic of a wedding is that moment where all the guests stare in awe as they see the bride for the first time. It’s a beautiful moment that shouldn’t be ruined by a pre-wedding selfie.

I would also advise the bridesmaids not to post any pre-wedding selfies of themselves. The bridesmaid dresses aren’t the star of the wedding, but they’re definitely the runner up, so don’t ruin the surprise by posting a selfie for all your friends to see. You may face the wrath of the bride if you do.

Post-wedding photos are fine
If you take photos of the wedding on your phone, feel free to post them to social media. Only 26 percent of Canadian couples believe they should be the first ones to post wedding photos to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. And only 6 percent of couples restrict social media posts.

I suggest you ask the couple before posting anything, just to make sure they are okay with you posting. Or maybe couples could just write on the invitation “Taking your own photos is encouraged.” Though that seems a little weird. But I guess it’s just a side-effect of living in a digital age, invitations not only tell you where the wedding is, but if you can Instagram there.

#NoWeddingHashtags
Thankfully, only 10 percent of couples said you have to use their wedding hashtag when posting to social media. Personally, I find wedding hashtags tacky. Your wedding is not the Oscars, people aren’t following it for updates. Please, no more wedding hashtags.

What other social media rules do you think are needed at weddings?

Source: Canadian Living

You might also be interested in this article: Why wedding insurance may help protect your wallet on your big day

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Should Companies Monitor Their Employees’ Social Media?

It’s becoming an increasingly important question. The number of people fired over social-media posts is rising, and many employers look closely at a job candidate’s online presence before making a decision.

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For an idea of how prevalent those practices have become, consider a 2013 survey from CareerBuilder, which helps corporations target and attract workers. According to the survey, 39% of employers dig into candidates on social sites, while 43% said they had found something that made them deep-six a candidate—such as posting inappropriate photos or information, or bad-mouthing a former boss.

On the flip side, 19% said they found information that sold them on a candidate, such as communication skills or a professional image.

Some advocates say employers should be doing even more than they are now to monitor social media—they should keep an eye on workers’ tweets and updates around the clock. Privacy proponents and worker advocates say it’s unnecessary. Most of what people post has nothing to do with work, they say, and shouldn’t be monitored unless there’s a clear reason to suspect wrongdoing.

Arguing the case for strong monitoring by employers is Nancy Flynn, the founder and executive director of the ePolicy Institute. Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, argues it’s counterproductive and unnecessary.

John Weber, The Wall Street Journal

Yes Keeping an Eye on Employees Helps Companies Protect Themselves

By Nancy Flynn

Management has a right and responsibility to monitor how employees are using social media at all times. If companies don’t pay attention, they may end up facing any number of serious problems.

It’s all too easy for disgruntled or tone-deaf employees to go onto social media and criticize customers, harass subordinates and otherwise misbehave. Sometimes that can bring workplace tensions and complaints, sometimes it can damage a company’s reputation in the marketplace, and sometimes it can lead all the way to lawsuits or regulatory action. (And, like email, social-networking records can be subpoenaed and used as evidence.)

Not Harmless

Some critics say that this is an exaggeration—that most of what people post on social networks is private and perfectly harmless, and has no bearing on their work. These critics also argue that companies often do these searches out of prudery or as ideological witch hunts.

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Creepy? Yes. Hard to do? Technology reveals your life on social media

VANCOUVER – How easy is it to use social media to find out what people are doing, without them realizing they are being watched? It took me less than two minutes to not only identify where

a randomly chosen 16-yearold girl lives, goes to school and hangs out with friends, but also to pinpoint within three houses where she babysits. And when she’s home alone with the kids.

From the Google Street View of those houses, it’s a fair guess she is at the one with all the toys in the yard.

I learned she plays soccer, is in French immersion, and is probably a skier or snowboarder if the resort where she spent Spring Break is any indication. I can probably correctly identify where she went to elementary school. I know what she looks like, and I can recognize her friends. And once I know where she lives, it’s not a big stretch to guess her parents’ identity.

Creepy? Yes. Hard to do? No. Just ask Karl Swannie, founder of Victoria technology start-up EchoSec, a company that has created a search engine that mines close to 500 data feeds, including social media networks and open data from governments and the private sector – the search engine I used to randomly pick out a traveller at the Vancouver airport to see how much I could learn from their digital trail.

If it hadn’t been for EchoSec aggregating everything posted from a location in a single search, it would have been difficult to pick out the teen’s single Twitter post from millions of others. What sets EchoSec apart from other search technology is its ability to “geo-fence” – that is, to draw a virtual line around a building or an area, and to tap into all the publicly available data from that location. That means not only social media feeds but open data that could include everything from live webcam feeds to government information.

“It definitely opened my eyes,” said Swannie. “There’s a level of education that has to happen out there. People have to be aware that (their digital postings are) permanent, it’s public. This is definitely a new way to visualize the data.”

The public version of Echo-Sec’s search technology that I was using has only a handful of feeds. The full version will have close to 500 sources of information that can deliver everything from the risky to the risqué.

The ability to track kids by targeting a school building worried Swannie so much that he disabled the software that made it easy to track an individual. Not that someone still couldn’t do it themselves, though.

And he is warning police, governments, companies and even military organizations that they should be aware information is being shared that is timestamped, traceable, and can be “mined, followed and predicted.”

Freely available Swannie’s company stumbled across its discovery by accident while it was working on a search engine to help urban planners determine how people use public spaces. But the information its search engine taps is freely available, and anyone with the time, the inclination and the tech talent could create similar tracking tools.

Source: By Gillian Shaw, Vancouver Sun

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