Top Stories

May 29, 2013

Corporate Reputation

Facebook pledges to review hate speech policy after advertisers pull out

Facebook has committed to review and improve its moderation procedures after several advertisers including Nationwide, the UK’s largest building society, and Nissan, the Japanese carmaker, pulled their advertising following concerns over offensive content. The decision follows a week-long campaign by over 100 advocacy groups. The “#FBRape” campaign contacted brands with screenshots which showed their adverts appearing next to supposedly humorous content endorsing rape and domestic violence. Facebook initially argued that the examples had since been removed, and stated that “distasteful content on its own does not violate our policies”. However, after at least 15 brands pulled their ads, the company pledged to update its guidelines, improve training and communicate better with advocacy groups. “It has become clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like,” the company said in a statement. (Guardian, Financial Times*, The Drum)

Inclusive Business

Google’s blimps will put Africa online

Google is to develop high-speed wireless networks in sub-Saharan Africa with the help of high-altitude balloons called ‘blimps’ that can transmit signals across hundreds of square kilometres. The company wants to connect 1 billion more people to the internet in emerging markets such as Africa and south-east Asia. Google will use a mix of technologies, including broadcasting signals from masts, satellites and blimps. To help enable the campaign, Google has been putting together an ecosystem of low-cost, low-power smartphones running its Android operating system. The new plans would help speed up connections in densely populated areas of Africa and Asia and get rural populations online for the first time. (Telegraph, Guardian)

BMW to recruit unemployed Spanish youths

BMW is recruiting a small number of unemployed young Spaniards to work in Germany in a pilot program to “give something back” to its customer countries. Twenty-five workers aged 18 to 25 will be trained for a year at the German carmaker's headquarters in Munich. “They should be immersed in German culture, possibly live with a BMW host family and work in development, sales, marketing or another area. After that, these young people can go back home or stay here,” said BMW personnel chief Milagros Caina-Andree. Her comments come a day after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned that failure to beat youth unemployment could tear Europe apart, and dropping the continent's welfare model in favour of tougher US standards would spark a revolution. (Reuters)


World Bank: Business as usual will fail to give sustainable energy for all

A new report from the World Bank has warned that Governments and businesses must double or even triple investments in new clean sources of energy to meet the UN’s energy goals, and growing global energy demands. The report is the first to explore how to meet goals set by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that aim to achieve secure universal access to energy for everyone, double global renewable energy capacity, and double energy efficiency by 2030. The study found that in 2010 around 1.2 billion people still did not have access to electricity, while 2.8 billion people relied on inefficient sources of wood or other solid biomass for heating and fuel. Meanwhile, renewable energy accounts for just 18 percent of the global energy mix, compared to the 36 percent objective for 2030. (Business Green)

Human Rights

G4S accused of holding South African prisoners in isolation illegally

A South African prison run by the British security firm G4S is illegally holding inmates in isolation for up to three years and denying them life-saving medication, according to a confidential South African government report. The report lists 62 inmates who were detained in single cells for periods ranging from two weeks to three years, against prison rules. Two of them were not given essential TB and HIV medication during their solitary confinement, it says. A recent visit to the prison in Bloemfontein by the Wits Justice Project suggested that the practice was ongoing. (Guardian)

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