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Twitter verified an account for a fake Republican Rhode Island congressional candidate named Andrew Walz that was actually run by a teenager, CNN Business first reported on Friday. The account has since been permanently suspended in violation of Twitter’s rules, a spokesperson confirmed to TIME.
The 17-year-old high school student — who agreed to speak with CNN Business on the condition that his name not be used — reportedly lives in upstate New York. He told CNN Business he made a website for the fake candidate in “around 20 minutes” and the Twitter account in “maybe five minutes.” He said he got the fake candidate’s picture from a website called This Person Does Not Exist, which uses machine learning to generate realistic yet fake faces.
Why’d he do it? Because he was “bored” and wanted to test Twitter’s “election integrity efforts,” CNN Business reports.
The teen told CNN Business that he then submitted both the Twitter account and website to Ballotpedia, a nonprofit that bills itself as a “digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections.” Twitter has partnered with Ballotpedia to help identify political candidates to verify as the 2020 election swiftly approaches. Ballotpedia sends Twitter a list of candidates once a week to help with their verification process, and Twitter also reportedly investigates each candidate.
The fake candidate Andrew Walz was both listed on Ballotpedia and verified on Twitter, per CNN Business. The teen reportedly said that neither Twitter nor Ballotpedia asked for documentation to prove the candidate was real.
“We’ve put into place a rigorous process to ensure that, through our partnership with Ballotpedia, we accurately identify and verify candidates’ legitimate Twitter accounts,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to TIME. “Sometimes, this thorough process can cause a short delay between when candidates qualified for the primary ballot and when candidates are verified.”
“Unfortunately, an individual found loopholes in our process by submitting a fake candidate and a fake account for verification,” she continued. “As soon as we discovered this, we took action on the account.” Creating a fake candidate account violates Twitter’s rules, and the account has been permanently suspended, per the spokesperson.
While Ballotpedia did not immediately respond to TIME’s request for comment Geoff Pallay, Ballotpedia’s editor in chief, issued a response to CNN Business that said, “Ballotpedia definitely made a mistake here.”
CNN Business reports that Pallay explained how the candidate was approved for the site without having filed official campaign documents. “Many candidates generate campaign activities, such as establishing an online presence, far in advance of their states’ filing deadlines. Because of that, we have observed a category of ‘declared candidate’ versus an ‘officially filed candidate,’” Pallay reportedly said. He added that Ballotpedia had been sending Twitter a list of candidates who had both declared and officially filed without distinguishing the difference, and Ballotpedia will make that distinction in the future, per CNN Business.
While Walz’s Ballotpedia page still exists, it now only includes a statement that says, “Ballotpedia was notified on Feb. 27, 2020, at 12:29 p.m. EST that Andrew Walz was not a legitimate candidate for office… Upon investigating this claim, we removed his entry from our database on Feb. 28, 2020. We have updated our declared candidate policy as a result of this situation.”
By Madeleine Carlisle February 29, 2020
In the six years since Jay Reno started college and finished his masters’ degree, he had moved seven times. Each time, he says, the load felt more punishing. The bed frame seemed to get heavier, and things got damaged. Reno, who grew up in New Hampshire and now lives in New York City, knew there had to be a less headache-inducing way to get stuff from A to B. Or better yet, he thought: What if he didn’t even own stuff in the first place?
Reno figured he surely wasn’t the only Millennial thinking along those lines. So, in 2017, he founded Feather, a New York City-based furniture rental subscription service. Furniture rentals is not a new idea: The 800-pound gorilla in the industry is Rent-a-Center, founded in 1986 with a rent-to-own model that last year was expected to bring in around $1.8 billion in U.S. revenue. Reno says unlike Rent-a-Center, Feather is targeting higher-end customers: people who can afford to buy but just choose not to. Convincing a critical mass of affluent customers to forgo new furnishings in favor of renting used items will be no easy task. Still, Reno has a pitch he’s confident will be persuasive.
“Buying things upfront doesn’t make sense when your space is constantly changing,” says the 31-year-old founder, who graduated from Columbia University in 2012 with a master’s degree in environmental studies. “Owning things ties you to a physical place. It grounds you in a way that you don’t want to be grounded.”
The price of flexibility.
To be sure, swapping the burden of ownership for the flexibility of renting comes at a cost. Feather members pay a monthly $19 subscription fee plus the cost to rent each individual item. For instance, a living room package that includes a sofa, lounge chair, coffee table, and floor lamp will set you back $90 to $167 a month. Members can swap out items for free once a year, depending on their changing needs or tastes. Subsequent swaps will trigger a $99 delivery fee. Non-members can also rent from Feather, though they pay a $99 delivery fee each time and higher per-item fees. A Deco Weave West Elm “Eddy” sofa that runs $39 a month for members costs $134 a month for non-members.
A key part of Feather’s pitch to customers is positioning furniture rental as a more environmentally friendly alternative to buying furniture you may one day discard. Reno suggests the same consumers that, say, buy sustainably manufactured clothing at Everlane, or cleaning products in reusable packaging from Grove Collaborative, will appreciate Feather’s sustainability angle. The company says it cleans and refurbishes all items, save for mattresses, which don’t get reused between renters, to extend their lifespan. Mattresses and furniture that are no longer usable get donated.
Should customers want to buy an item after renting, Feather says it can be purchased for the retail value, minus whatever they already have paid in rental fees. At some rent-to-own companies, like Rent-a-Center, items cost more than they would if customers had purchased them directly from a retailer. Rent-a-Center doesn’t argue with this point. “Yes, there is a premium paid for the flexibility for the service, which includes free set up, delivery, and repairs,” says Michael Landry, vice president of franchise development at Rent-a-Center. Feather charges repair fees, which vary depending on the item, if damages go beyond regular wear and tear.
Millennials are increasingly opting for renting versus buying homes, says Michael Brown, a partner in the retail practice of global strategy and management consulting at A.T. Kearney. Going into the third quarter of last year, only about a third of Americans 35 and younger owned homes, according to a February 2019 report by financial services firm Legal & General. “Renting a home; leasing a car; taking an Uber; renting the runway are all manifestations of this trend,” adds Brown. He notes further that rented furnishings are expected to account for 25 percent of the total U.S. furniture market this year. Overall, U.S. furniture-industry sales in 2019 were expected to increase by 2.8 percent to $114.5 billion from the year before, says Jerry Epperson, managing director at research firm Mann, Armistead, and Epperson.
Investors too are on board with rentals. On February 18, Feather announced a $30 million series B round of funding led by Cobalt Capital, with participation from prior investors including Spark Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Bain Capital Ventures, and others. It had previously raised $16 million from investors. The company says it is using the new funds to expand to additional markets and build its 60-person team.
Feather isn’t the only startup aiming to reimagine the furniture rental industry. Los Angeles-based competitor Fernish also launched in 2017. Last year Fernish raised $30 million from early-stage investor fund Real Estate Technology Ventures, Intuit’s co-founder Scott Cook, and Amazon’s head of global e-commerce and retail operations, Jeff Wilke.
It’s early days for Feather. Its service currently is available only in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Orange County, California. Reno declined to comment on its number of members or annual revenue, beyond saying the latter is in the “eight digits.”
The true test for Feather–and by extension, Fernish–is whether it can make the product more widely appealing, beyond early-adopter Millennials. Kevin Thau, a general partner at Feather investor Spark Capital, is convinced it can. “Today’s consumers demand fast and reliable products and services that make their lives easier,” he says. “Feather delivers on just this by allowing consumers to easily rent furniture and skip the enormous hassle of purchasing and inevitably moving their furniture from one place to the next.”
Reno says even legacy retailers are starting to respond to the idea that ownership is less popular among certain customers. Feather offers Williams-Sonoma brand West Elm and Joy Bird furniture in its inventory, along with mattress firm Leesa. Crate and Barrel partnered with Fernish to offer its collections to renters in 2018. And in a related sign of the times, in November 2019, Nordstrom announced it would include exclusive products available for both purchase and rental through Rent the Runway.
“We’re already starting to see consumers shift away from ownership as a default,” Reno adds. “And we believe this behavior is only going to grow.”
Zhou Yuxiang was not in the mood for festivities during China’s Lunar New Year holiday this year. The 30-year-old CEO of Shanghai-based software startup Black Lake Technologies had to figure out how to manage his company amid the country’s deadly coronavirus outbreak. Working from home to comply with local quarantine rules has lowered productivity, while expenses remained high as he still needs to pay rent even when no one is using the office.
What’s more, Zhou says, clients are slower to take on new contracts as factories remain shut and production is delayed, hurting his otherwise fast growth.
“This epidemic caused production suspension for a considerable number of factory clients,” he says, who counts 300 factory owners as customers of his cloud-based management software. “Unpredictability on when factories could resume production has increased uncertainty for our first quarter growth.”
As the deadly virus, temporarily called 2019-nCoV, shows no sign of slowing, China’s vast business scene is taking a hit. While some companies, including Zhou’s, hope to recoup any losses before the year’s end, others are suffering a much more devastating blow.
This is because the epidemic’s economic damage is far and wide. It is believed to be more contagious than the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic, causing the Chinese government to impose nationwide mall closures, movie cancellations and factory shutdowns to prevent the disease’s further spread. As manufacturing and business activities cease, first quarter GDP growth will plummet to 3.8%—which equals to $62 billion in lost growth—and drag full-year GDP growth below 6% to 5.4%, according to UBS economist Wang Tao.
Sectors that are hardest hit include catering, entertainment, hospitality, retail and transportation. These businesses tend to have heavy inventory or a lot of expenses, but they can’t generate any meaningful revenue when people stay indoors.
Jia Guolong, founder of popular restaurant chain Xi Bei, told local media this week that his company only had enough cash for the next three months. He still needs to pay rent and salary to more than 20,000 employees, even when his restaurants are largely empty. To preserve cash, Hong Kong’s flag carrier, Cathay Pacific has asked its 27,000 employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave, warning that the condition is as grave as the 2009 global financial crisis. And fast-food operator Yum China is expecting negative impact on 2020 full-year sales and profit, after temporarily shutting down 30% of its stores in China.
While these larger businesses may eventually have the resources to weather through, smaller startups could experience a life-and-death moment. Zhang Yi, founder of Guangzhou-based consultancy iiMedia Research, says he won’t be surprised if a wave of bankruptcies occur. And Wang Ran, founder of Beijing-based investment firm CEC Capital, urged startups to do whatever they can to survive.
“Downsize if you need to, relocate if you need to and lay off people if you need to,” Wang wrote in a recent blog post. “Only those who lived through this can see spring, and have a future.”
Beijing has put out rescue measures. The country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, announced on February 2 that it would pump $174 billion worth of liquidity into the markets to help cushion the impact. Local governments have called for rent deductions and more flexible salary arrangements, with the Shanghai municipal government promising tax and insurance refunds to employers who don’t engage in layoffs.
But analysts say business survival may ultimately depend on whether the virus can be contained. Since originating in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December, it has spread across the country, infecting more than 28,000 people and killing over 500. There are now coronavirus cases around the world, including Japan, Thailand, Germany, the United States and the United Arab Emirates. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global health emergency and dozens of nations, including Italy, Singapore and the U.S., have placed travel restrictions from China.
“The longer this drags on, the bigger the damage,” iiMedia Research’s Zhang says. “If it lasts for another month, then it would be unbearable for any business.”
Startups are doing what they can to minimize damage. Black Lake’s Zhou is offering discounted services, especially to clients who are based in the most affected areas. Zhou Wenyu (not related to Zhou Yuxiang), founder of Shaoxing-based software startup Youshupai, is slowing down marketing activities and transferring its first quarter sales goal to the second quarter. And Joanne Tang, founder of travel and marketing agency Infinite Luxury, says she is diversifying to other Asian markets while reminding overseas-based clients not to reduce efforts in China.
“For sure, we are in a challenging time,” Tang says. “We have to monitor how it goes, but we won’t be standing still and just wait until this is over.”
I am a Beijing-based writer covering China’s technology sector. I contribute to Forbes, and previously I freelanced for SCMP and Nikkei. Prior to Beijing, I spent six months as an intern at TIME magazine’s Hong Kong office. I am a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @yueyueyuewang
In business, disruption can promote innovation, growth, and agility. But, what impact is continuous change and instability having on people, especially younger generations? Deloitte’s 2019 Millennial Survey takes a look at the human side of disruption and its effects on millennials and Gen Zs. Learn more about the survey’s key findings in the infographic below. For more information and the full report, click here.
The travel industry has constantly evolved, leading changes in technology, society and consumer tastes. Travel was the domain of the wealthy until technology and leading travel companies rapidly changed this in the latter part of the 20th century. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation estimates that there were 25 million tourist arrivals in 1950, today we see 1.4 billion.
Travellers of the 21st century are tech savvy consumers. They’re not wandering into their local high street travel agency to seek out the best deals for their next holiday. They are getting both advice and inspiration online, as well as of course booking their perfect travel experience online. Social media platforms play a central role in this, showing organic posts and paid for promotions enticing people to book that next trip to their dream destination.
Crucially though travellers continue to seek advice from travel professionals for expert advice. While there are many ways in which travel companies can meet these consumer needs, AI driven chatbots are playing an important role in an age of instant access.
AI-powered chatbots can make or break the difference between a good and bad customer journey on your website. Many chatbots are rudimentary, but the companies at the leading edge are pioneering the way forward with high levels of customer satisfaction. Their use is only expected to increase in the coming years too, with Sales Force’s research State of Service projecting that their use in the travel industry will nearly double by mid-2020 to 29%.
While chatbots first came about in the 1960s, so might not be considered cutting edge innovation, it is the machine learning innovation behind them that is constantly evolving and critical to ensuring people receive the efficient advice and level of customer service they are expecting. Recent improvements in AI are making it such that companies who invest significantly in this and leverage their data correctly, can provide meaningful customer experiences while managing costs more effectively.
We are operating in a world where people expect robust answers and they expect them fast; the advent of mobile phones paved the way for this and apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat ensured this. As such, a business’ technological capabilities are having to constantly evolve to deliver: AI driven chatbots are just one example of the way to meet these needs.
As we increasingly carry out our lives online, digital and mobile is changing the face of the high street. In Britain during the first six months of 2019 16 stores closed every day, resulting in a net decline of 1,234 shops. The travel industry is not immune to these shifts in consumer habits as highlighted by the recent collapse of Thomas Cook, which has impacted the livelihoods of thousands.
This recent failure is reflective of a wider trend which has seen the number of travel agents in the U.S. decrease by 45,200 between 2000 and 2018. Digital transformation is constant, and businesses need to be awake to the changing impact on their employees. It is predicted that by 2023 companies will have to retrain or replace a quarter of their staff in response to technological change.
Training programms and a focus on upskilling are essential cornerstones of a successful 21st century business. To stay at the forefront of technological advances and to support day to day operations e-commerce businesses require hundreds of employees and we need to make sure they are equipped with the knowledge to succeed.
Technology puts the world at your fingertips and for travel–the largest e-commerce sector in the world–that saying is quite literal. People tap into their phones, launch apps and manage their lives. In Q2 2019, mobile broke records with consumers downloading more apps and spending more money in app stores than ever before.
Apps streamline customers’ journeys, increase customer loyalty and create regular touchpoints with the customer. 80% of us use our mobile phones to search for information online, 27% then go onto download an app related to our searches–a business without an accessible and appealing app will be cast aside for their competition. According to the latest research on the travel industry by Euromonitor International, online travel sales will account for the largest share of travel bookings by 2024 and a quarter of all bookings will be made via mobile.
Travelling habits have changed significantly over the last 80 years and they will change again over the next 80. It is anticipating how it will change and how consumers will travel in the future that is essential for a business to not just survive but establish itself as a sector leader.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for 99.9% of the business population in the U.K. This totals around 5.9 million businesses.
Transforming your dream into reality by starting up a new small business can be both exciting and challenging. However, it’s entirely possible to do but requires some knowledge about what and how small businesses succeed.
Familiarising yourself with recent trends is a great starting point. We’ve put together these small business statistics, including the latest trends in 2019 just for you.
Facts & Statistics
- Small and medium enterprises represent more than 90% of the business population
- It is estimated that there are up to 445 million micro and small and medium enterprises in emerging markets around the world
- 99% of all businesses in the European Union are classified as SMEs
- 96.4% of manufacturing exporters in the US are SMEs
- There are currently 30.2 million small businesses in the U.S.
- 75.3% of private-sector employers are micro-businesses or those with less than ten employees
- 69% of American entrepreneurs start their businesses at home, and 59% of businesses continue to be home-based even after three years of operation
- The fastest-growing small business industries in 2018 (with the most number of startups) were business services and food/restaurant tied at 11%
- The majority of small business owners are over the age of 50, a fourth is in the 40-49 age range, and the rest are between 18 to 39 years old
U.K. Small Businesses
- There were 5.8 million small businesses at the start of 2019
- SMEs account for 60% of the employment and around half of turnover in the UK private sector
- In 2019, there were estimated to be 5.9 million UK private sector businesses
- 1.4 million of these had employees and 4.5 million had no employees
- Wholesale and Retail Trade and Repair accounted for 14% of all SME employment
- London (1.1 million) and the South East (940,000) had the most private sector businesses, accounting for 35% of the UK business population
- Nearly 1/5 of all SMEs were operating in Construction
- Between 2018 and 2019, the total business population grew by 3.5%
- Turnover in 2018 was estimated at £2.2 trillion for SMEs
- It takes roughly 13 days to start a small business in UK and Ireland
U.S. Small Businesses
- On average, it takes 6 days to start a small business in the U.S.
- 56% of small businesses think finding great talent is their biggest challenge
- 37% of business owners offer higher salaries to make their business more appealing
- 26% of people say their biggest motivation to start a small business is to be their own boss
- In 2018, there was a 34% increase in health, beauty, and fitness industries
- 73% of small business owners are male
- Only 26% of small business owners have a college degree
Small Business Growth
- Each month an average of 543,000 new businesses are started
- As of 2018, 99.9% of US businesses are small businesses
- Small businesses employ more than 47.5% of the private workforce in the US
- Businesses with less than ten employees are the most common, accounting for 75.3% of all private-sector employers
- 50% of small businesses survive five years or more
- The Small Business Association has stated that only 30% of newly founded businesses are likely to fail within the first two years
- 66% of small businesses will survive throughout the first ten years
- Every year 1 in 12 businesses closes
- 4 out of 100 businesses survive past the 10-year mark
- 82% of companies fail because of cash flow problems
- 50% of small businesses are home-based
- 60.1% of firms are without paid employees
- 81% of small business owners work nights
- 70% of small business owners said they work more than 40 hours a week with 19% working over 60 hours
- 86.3% of small business owners take less than $100,000 a year
- Technology, health, and energy are the most popular industries to start a small business in
- Real estate, retail, and hospitality are also among the industries that are set to have the most substantial growth in jobs in the future
Small Business Financials
- In 2018, the average SBA loan was $417,314
- 26.9% of small business loans get approved
- 12% of employer firms and one-third of non-employer firms use no startup capital whatsoever.
- The average amount of small business starting capital is $80,000 a year
- 1/3 of small businesses are founded with up to $5,000 of startup capital
Women-owned Small Businesses
- In the U.S., 12.3 million businesses are owned by women
- In 2018, 207,900 of women-led businesses (1.7%) generated more than $1 million
- 17% of all women-led businesses are Latinas
- 48% of women business owners are between the 45-65 age range
- 31% are age 25-44
Small Business Marketing
- 70-80% of people research a small business before visiting or making a purchase from them
- 64% of small businesses have a website
- 61% of small businesses invest in social media marketing
- 39% of small businesses use email marketing
- Nearly 50% of small businesses spend $10,000 or less on digital marketing each year
- 80% of small businesses don’t use content marketing
- 89% of small business owners believe that using SEO helps drive business
- 92% of small business owners think that having a website is the most effective digital marketing strategy
- 10% of small businesses engage in AR and VR technology for digital marketing
Topline: Although the U.S. and China have finally agreed on an initial deal that’s expected to defuse the 19-month-long trade war and result in a rollback of both existing and scheduled tariffs, the stock market didn’t surge on the news. Instead, markets ended the day largely flat: The S&P 500 finished the day up by less than 0.008%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.012%.
Here’s why stocks didn’t make headway on Friday’s trade news, according to market experts:
- The market may have already priced in expectations for an agreement prior to Friday: “Stocks already ran up 7% in just the past two months alone on the belief that a deal would be signed,” notes Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance.
- Some experts remain wary: “The devil remains in the details,” points out Bankrate senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick. “We await further word on purported aspects of the agreement including purchases of U.S. farm goods, intellectual property protections, technology transfers and access to China’s financial sector.”
- “Investors are right to be skeptical,” says Joseph Brusuelas, RSM chief economist. “There’s a limited framework to the deal, since both sides just wanted to agree and avoid the looming tariff deadline on December 15th.”
- “Contrary to what many believed—and were told in news stories—there is no immediate tariff relief, just an agreement to eventually rollback tariffs later as phase two negotiations progress,” Zaccarelli points out.
- “I’m still suspicious of a major rollback on existing tariffs,” Nicholas Sargen, economic consultant at Fort Washington Investment Advisors, similarly argues. “Don’t rule out a selective rollback, since Trump needs to maintain bargaining power—he has to keep his powder dry.”
Crucial quote: “Is this deal enough to give the US economy an added lift? I doubt it because to get that added lift we need businesses to ramp up capital spending—and they’re going to stay on the sidelines until there’s greater clarity and less uncertainty,” Sargen says. “If trade uncertainty was behind us, we’d have gotten a bigger pop in the market.”
What to watch for: “Both sides need to figure out translation and legal framework first—and if they don’t come to an agreement on that this deal could fall apart very quickly,” Brusuelas says. “We’ll have to see if it survives the weekend and into next week.”
Key background: Officials from both sides have been working tirelessly to hammer out a deal ahead of the looming December 15 tariff deadline. Reports came in on Thursday that negotiators had agreed to terms, and President Trump signed off on them later in the day. Wall Street cheered the good news, sending the stock market to new record highs, though the market’s reaction was notably more tempered on Friday, despite further confirmations that an agreement had been reached.
I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes, covering breaking news—with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I’ve reported at Money Magazine, The Villager NYC, and The East Hampton Star. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at email@example.com
Fifty-two public health companies and LGBTQ organizations wrote a public letter to Facebook Monday demanding it remove misleading advertisements about HIV prevention medicine.
The posts imply that HIV-negative people could suffer health complications from prevention pills only seen in a shrinking group of HIV-positive people, thus deterring them from treatment, the letter claims.
Advocacy groups say that they’re not able to spend a comparable sum on counteradvertising and that Facebook should consider the real-world implications of the ads, which in effect make HIV transmissions more widespread.
Facebook told The Washington Post that its third-party fact-checkers didn’t find falsehoods in the campaign, which is largely pushed by private injury attorneys.
Indeed, a component of Truvada, the only Food and Drug Administration–approved prevention medicine for HIV, has been shown to cause kidney failure and bone density problems in people with HIV treated between 2001 and 2015. The ads don’t include these details and instead reference Truvada more broadly.
Misleading HIV campaigns are nothing new, according to Rich Ferraro, a spokesperson for GLAAD, the national LGBTQ advocacy group that helped spearhead the letter’s demands. He said GLAAD, formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, was founded in the 1980s because of the “misinformation and disgusting coverage of HIV” at the time.
“Since GLAAD’s founding almost 35 years ago, we have worked together with other leaders in the HIV and AIDS activism community fighting back against misinformation, factual inaccuracies and stigmatizing ads,” Ferraro added.
More broadly, today’s HIV campaigns are also noteworthy for what they don’t include—the fact that people with HIV are living very long and healthy lives when taking the proper medications, Ferraro said. “That has been a proactive push that has yet to catch on in mainstream media,” he said.
In 2013, the National Library of Medicine launched a traveling exhibit examining the “confusing and at-times counterproductive” response in the 1980s to the HIV epidemic. In its digital gallery, posters, comic books and postcards offer a range of warnings about HIV transmission.
Some have withstood the test of time, like one campaign by the New York State Department of Health that clarifies that HIV “does not discriminate.” Rather, anyone, male or female, straight or gay, can pick up the virus from shared needles or unprotected sex.
But some warned that AIDS causes blindness or endorsed masturbation in lieu of having sex with strangers. Others associated sex with death more directly, like one poster by AID Atlanta that depicts a handsome young man above a caption that reads: “This man killed 17 women and loved every minute of it,” implying he passed HIV to women during intercourse.
Advertisements abroad could be even more sinister. One featured a grim reaper, meant to represent the deadly HIV virus, that came after men, women and children in a bowling alley. Commissioned by the Australian government with that country’s National Advisory Committee on AIDS, it was pulled in 1987 amid a backlash.
While less dramatic than ads from decades past, the “frightening” Facebook campaigns are doing more damage, according to Peter Staley, a co-founder of PrEP4All Collaboration and longtime AIDS activist. “I must say, this is in a class of its own. This example, we think, is directly spreading HIV,” he said.
The campaigns also target LGBTQ communities and people of color because of their higher rates of HIV infection, according to Raniyah Copeland, president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. These groups already have more medical distrust than their white or straight counterparts, Copeland said.
One such post features a person of color with a somber look on his face. It lists side effects from “taking an HIV drug,” such as “kidney disorders,” and claims “the manufacturers had a safer drug & kept it secret.” Another features a young white man with his eyes closed and hands clasped. It reads: “Truvada & other TDF drugs prescribed to prevent or treat HIV may harm kidneys and bones.”
Both feature links to law firms or ongoing lawsuits.
In the letter, the advocacy groups asked Facebook to remove the ads and commit to a review of current policies meant to prevent false public health statements from reaching users.
Facebook relies on its independent fact-checkers, including those from the Associated Press and conservative website the Daily Caller, to vet dubious claims, the Post reported.
Asked whether HIV advertisements should be treated with stricter standards, a Facebook spokesperson told Newsweek that its fact-checkers were all certified by the International Fact-Checking Network, which maintains a commitment to nonpartisanship and fairness in its code of principles.
“Since we don’t think it’s appropriate for us to be the arbiters of truth, we rely on the International Fact-Checking Network to set guidelines for these high standards,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
At around 02:15 a.m. ET, Dow futures rose 55 points, indicating a positive open of more than 56 points.
Futures on the S&P and Nasdaq were both slightly higher.
On the data front, the Labor Department will release nonfarm payrolls for November at 8:30 a.m. ET.
At around 02:15 a.m. ET, Dow futures rose 55 points, indicating a positive open of more than 56 points. Futures on the S&P and Nasdaq were both slightly higher.
Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments, following an upbeat tone from Donald Trump.
On Thursday, Trump said the world’s two largest economies were inching closer to a trade deal. His comments come as investors continue to closely monitor the prospect of a so-called “phase one” trade agreement, with less than 10 days to go before Washington is poised to impose even more tariffs on Chinese goods.
Dec. 15 is the date when tariffs on another $156 billion in Chinese goods will go into effect.
The U.S. and China have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of one another’s goods since the start of 2018, battering financial markets and souring business and consumer sentiment.
On the data front, the Labor Department will release nonfarm payrolls for November at 8:30 a.m. ET.
The eagerly-anticipated figures are expected to show strong job growth last month, reflecting a temporary boost from returning General Motors autoworkers. Economists polled by Dow Jones are expecting 187,000 jobs added in November — one of the highest estimates this year ahead of a jobs report.
Unemployment rate data and average hourly wages for November will both be released at the same time.
Consumer sentiment for December, wholesale trade figures for October and the latest reading of consumer credit will all follow slightly later in the session.
In corporate news, Big Lots will publish its latest quarterly figures before the opening bell.
By: Sam Meredith