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Inside Facebook (Apr 21st, 2017)

$FB (April 21, 2:56 p.m.): $143.56 (↓ 0.23%) // 90-day high: $144.25 // 90-day low: $126.78 // More info

Facebook set its own all-time record high for spending in a single quarter. The company spent $3.2 million lobbying the federal government in the first three months of 2017. Compared to the same period last year, Facebook spent $2.8 million. The company lobbied Congress, the White House, and six federal agencies on everything from high-tech worker visas and network neutrality, to internet privacy, encryption and international taxation. Facebook trailed only Apple for tech companies that lobbied the federal government. – CNBC

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Facebook plans to hire someone to lead its news products, a new position designed to combat the proliferation of fake news on the internet and on Facebook. Although the job is not advertised, Facebook is talking to news and tech companies, but so far hasn't been able to find anyone with strong skills in both areas. The person in the position would report to Fidji Simo, Facebook’s VP in charge of news and video. Critics blamed Facebook for helping to spread false news campaigns that some believe may have impacted the 2016 presidential election. – RECODE

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Facebook is among the Silicon Valley employers that are allowing its employees to take time off to participate in pro-immigration rallies on May 1. The company relies heavily on foreign workers. “At Facebook, we’re committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions and speaking up about issues that are important to them,” a company spokesman told the Washington Post. “We support our people in recognizing International Workers’ Day and other efforts to raise awareness for safe and equitable employment conditions.” More than 15 percent of Facebook employees used temporary work visas last year and could be particularly hard-hit by any changes the Trump administration makes to H-1B visa policies. – WASHINGTON POST

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Facebook is quietly attempting to create technology that can read people's minds. The company is working on a wide range of secret projects at its Building 8 in Silicon Valley. Facebook's Regina Dugan said the company is developing technology that allows people to type words using their minds. "It sounds impossible, but it's closer than you may realize," Dugan said. Facebook's goal, working with researchers at several U.S. universities, is to develop a system where people could type 100 words a minute just by thinking. – INDEPENDENT

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"Sweatin' to the Oldies" fitness icon Richard Simmons for a moment emerged from seclusion and sent a message to his friends on Facebook. "Hope to see you again soon!" the post stated. The post marked Simmons' first public comments since calling into TV's "Entertainment Tonight" last year. The 68-year-old fitness guru has been out of the public eye for three years. His absence sparked a popular podcast called "Missing Richard Simmons." He added: "by now you know that I'm not 'missing,' just a little under the weather. I'm sure I will be feeling good and back home in a couple of days." – KANSAS CITY STAR

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Snap has signed a $7.7 million deal to get a patent for geofilters, a move that could make it more difficult for Facebook to copy it. Snap obtained the patent  from Mobli, an Instagram rival that launched in 2011. The patent allows for location-based filters to be created and distributed on the server side, meaning that the app doesn’t have to be updated with each new filter, according to The Verge. Snap’s decision will help protect it from any future lawsuits from other companies that use geofilters, but it could also give the company leverage against competitors — such as Facebook — that may try to incorporate similar features. Facebook has imitated Snap over the last year, adding post timers, facial filters, and clones of Snapchat’s stories feature on Instagram and WhatsApp. Geofilters make up a majority of Snap's revenue. – TECH CRUNCH

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The death of a New York man has served as another grim reminder of how some people misuse Facebook Live, according to the New York Times. Jamel Chandler live-streamed the moments before his death. When detectives went to arrest him for the alleged robbery of a cabdriver on Saturday, Chandler, on Facebook Live, said “the cops is at the door right now looking for me, tune in. I’m scared. If you don’t want me to jump, let me know.” Moments later, he tried to rappel to the ground using a rope made from knotted bedsheets, but the knots loosened and he plunged to his death. “There is usually a set of moral panics that emerge around technologies when they come into being,” said Isra Ali, a New York University professor of media, culture and communication. “Facebook Live is like any other form of technology. There will be people who are mentally ill, or with negative or nefarious intentions, who will utilize it in ways that are bad, but I don’t know if that will make the technology bad.” – NY TIMES

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Mother Jones says Facebook should be illegal to use until you are 21 years old. On the heels of a study that concluded that Facebook makes people depressed, article writer Kevin Drum says that he doesn't need a study to know that Facebook is bad. "The casually brutal insults almost certainly outweigh the praise for a lot of people," he wrote. "It instills a sense of always needing to keep up with things every minute of the day. It interferes with real-life relationships. It takes time away from more concentrated activities that are probably more rewarding in the long run." Drum says if you can't drink until you are 21, you shouldn't be able to use Facebook either. "I'd bet the latter is more dangerous than the former," he wrote. – MOTHER JONES

What do you think? Does Facebook do more harm than good? Should a user have to be 21 to use the social platform? Hit "Reply" and let us know!

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