‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ earns a weekend-winning $62 million, but it’s the lowest domestic opening ever for a ‘Harry Potter’ film

fantastic beasts the crimes of grindelwald warner bros

  • “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” won the weekend box office with $62.2 million, but that’s lower than the opening for 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
  • It’s also the lowest opening weekend ever for a “Harry Potter” film.
  • If the first “Fantastic Beasts” is any indication, the sequel will find most of its box office coin at the foreign box office.
  • Meanwhile, other new releases “Instant Family” and “Widows” fell flat.

 

With the incredible success of the “Harry Potter” movie franchise in the early 2000s, Warner Bros. was certainly going to give us a spin-off franchise, but so far the “Fantastic Beasts” movies aren’t taking in the money that the “Potter” titles did.

“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” opened on over 4,000 screens over the weekend and took in an estimated $62.2 million. It’s the smallest domestic opening for any of the “Harry Potter” titles, beating out the previous lowest earner, 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which brought in $74.4 million in its opening.

The lowest domestic opening for any of the original “Harry Potter” releases was 2007’s “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” which had a $77.1 million opening. Counting inflation, that would be a $102.4 million opening today.

But like many franchises these days, Warner Bros. is probably looking more towards the international take than at home. The foreign gross for 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts” took in 71% of the movie’s $814 million worldwide gross. And so far with “Crimes of Grindelwald,” that trend is continuing. The movie already has over $253.2 million worldwide total, thanks to its $191 million international take to date.

Read more: Low morale, staff firings, and new pricing plans coming: Inside the walls of MoviePass

Meanwhile, the other new releases of the weekend had soft openings.

Paramount’s “Instant Family,” starring Mark Wahlberg, looks to not be the top choice for family options at the multiplex, as the $48 million-budgeted family comedy only took in $14 million.

And Fox’s $42 million-crime caper “Widows” — with the top-flight cast of Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, and Colin Farrell — also had trouble finding an audience with only a $12.3 million take.

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NOW WATCH: A London restaurant hired Italian moms to make real home-cooked food — this is what it’s like

Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/fantastic-beasts-2-lowest-domestic-opening-ever-for-a-harry-potter-movie-2018-11

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Apple CEO Tim Cook on privacy: ‘we have to admit when the free market is not working’

Tim Cook

  • In an interview with Axios, Tim Cook said that regulation was “inevitable.”
  • On the issue of user privacy, Cook said, “we have to admit when the free market is not working. And it hasn’t worked here. 
  • Previously, Cook urged other tech companies to self-regulate, saying Facebook had failed in that regard.

Apple CEO Tim Cook says regulation is coming but plans to roll with the punches.

In an interview with Axios, previewed on their site early Sunday, Cook told Mike Allen that despite his general dislike of government regulation on business, “we have to admit when the free market is not working.” In regards to user privacy, Cook said, “it hasn’t worked here.”

Cook was blunt in warning “I think the Congress and the administration at some point will pass something.” 

Previously, Cook has advocated for self-regulation, particularly around privacy issues. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Cook told Recode, “I think the best regulation is no regulation, is self-regulation, however, I think we’re beyond that here.”

Read more: There’s only one color you should consider if you’re thinking about buying the iPhone XS

Recently, however, Cook has begun to discuss government regulation as an important aspect of the recent cultural discussion happening around user privacy. In a Vice News interview, Cook said, “some level of government regulation is important.”

Cook told Axios that he welcomes coming regulation in the realm of privacy, arguing pitting privacy and profits or innovation against each other was “a false choice.”

Besides his recent promotion of some regulation, Cook has shown a willingness to work with government officials, having met with President Donald Trump multiple times in 2018.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We went to an art installation that forces you to cry in order to feel empathy — here’s what happened

Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/apple-ceo-tim-cook-on-privacy-the-free-market-is-not-working-regulations-2018-11

Amazon’s new $130 Kindle Paperwhite is a boring device that can’t do very much — but that makes it perfect for helping break your app addiction (AMZN)

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

At a surface level, it’s a little hard to understand why anyone would want to buy the new Kindle Paperwhite, the latest e-reader from Amazon. 

The design doesn’t look all that different from previous models — although this one is thinner, lighter, and waterproof —  and there are so many easier and more convenient ways to read electronically these days, most notably using the Kindle app for your smartphone.

In 2018, is there really a need for an extra piece of hardware just for reading? Especially one that costs $130? 

Somehow, the answer is yes. 

Hear me out. 

Take a look at the new Kindle Paperwhite. Not very exciting, right?

This newest Kindle Paperwhite looks almost exactly like the first one, which came out in 2012. There were updates to the Paperwhite that came out in 2013 and 2015, and those looked about the same, too. That’s a 6-year-old design — can you imagine if the iPhone still looked like it did in 2012?

The Paperwhite has thick bezels, or outer edges, that surround a 6-inch E Ink display. It’s 8.18 mm thick and weighs 182 grams, which Amazon describes as being less than half the weight of most paperback books. I can confirm: it’s thin and light, even when it’s inside the premium-feeling leather case Amazon sells to go with it.

At first, it was difficult for me to understand why the Paperwhite’s design was so uninspired, and so similar to every Paperwhite that came before it. In an era when tech companies are trying to out-do each other with innovative, stand-out design, why was the Paperwhite so dated? 

And then I realized that the answer is two-fold. On one hand, Amazon has zero reason to change the design. Who is it competing with? The Kindle has single-handedly dominated the e-reader market.

On the other hand, even if Amazon did have competition, would it really be a good thing to change the design? Shrinking the bezels down to look like a modern smartphone or tablet would make it harder to use. What would people hold on to if the device was all screen? 

This is a prime example of a company realizing that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. 

There are two new features that are worth noting: the Paperwhite is now waterproof, and it has more storage.

Amazon made two key changes to the Paperwhite that do bring it to the present: it’s waterproof, and it has more storage. 

The waterproofing opens up way more possibilities for the device. Amazon says your Kindle will survive up to two meters of fresh water for up to 60 minutes. Now, you can read in the bathtub or poolside without worrying about your Kindle. You can carry it around when it’s raining without being nervous that it’s going to get drenched and ruined. It’s not a life-changing feature by any means, but it’s one less thing to worry about. 

The other change is on-device storage, which Amazon increased by a lot on the new Paperwhite. You can now buy the device with 8 GB of storage or 32 GB of storage. The latter should be more than enough space for all your ebooks (for comparison’s sake, these are the same storage options as Amazon’s high-end Kindle Oasis, which costs almost twice as much). 

But the major selling point of the Kindle Paperwhite really comes down to two things. One is battery life.

Amazon hasn’t given an exact number for how long the battery lasts on the new Paperwhite, but says it’s measured “in weeks, not days.”

In my use of the device, that’s correct — I’ve been using it for 10 days, and the battery is only down to 57%. 

Battery life is one of the key reasons to consider the Paperwhite over reading on an iPad or just using your phone, because you’ll rarely have to think about charging this thing. In an era when most of us have two or three devices that need to be charged every day, it’s refreshing to have something you can toss in your bag or leave on your nightstand that’s ready and waiting anytime you want to use it. 

See the rest of the story at INSIDER
Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/amazon-kindle-paperwhite-2018-review-2018-11

These iPhone wallpapers will cause your phone to glitch and make your folders transparent — but that’s the point

iphone invisible folders

  • Twitter user @heyeased discovered an iOS 12.1 glitch that makes the folders and dock on your iPhone’s home screen transparent. 
  • The glitch involves using a certain image as the phone’s background, and turning on “Reduce Transparency” in the phone’s settings.
  • Twelve backgrounds are available for notched iPhones, and 11 are available for older iPhones like the iPhone 8. 

In some rare cases, phone software glitches can actually make the experience more enjoyable. 

Twitter user @heyeased, who creates the “Mysterious iPhone Wallpaper,” discovered an iOS 12.1 glitch that makes your iPhone’s folders and dock transparent. The result is a minimalistic look for the home screen that isn’t conventionally available, given Apple’s few customization options when it comes to their phones’ interfaces. 

Read: There’s only one color you should consider if you’re thinking about buying the iPhone XS

Setting up the wallpaper is simple:

  • Go to Settings —> General —> Accessibility, then toggle on “Reduce Transparency.” 
  • Next, pick out the background you’d like to use. For notched iPhones like the X, XS, and XS Max, click here. For iPhones without a notch, click here. Scroll to the colored wallpapers, tap on one to open it in its full resolution, and save it. 
  • For iPhones without a notch, @heyeased recommends using the “Perspective” setting when applying the wallpaper. He also said to make sure you don’t move the image around before confirming. 
  • For the iPhone X and other notched models, @heyeased said to use the “Still” setting when applying the wallpaper, and to make sure “Reduce Motion” is turned off in the phone’s settings. You shouldn’t move the image around before confirming, either. 
  • The wallpaper should now be applied, and your folders and dock should be invisible. 

Here are the results Business Insider achieved with an iPhone 8 Plus and an iPhone XS Max:

iPhone 8: 

iphone invisible folders

iPhone XS Max: 

iphone xs max invisible folders

It should be noted that some subtle lines are still visible on the edges of the folders, and right above the dock. 

The creator of these transparent backgrounds has also released a different glitchy wallpaper series, but these don’t make your dock and folders disappear. Instead, these “Painter Type” wallpapers cause your phone’s background, folders, and dock to all appear as different colors. 

Here’s an example from @heyeased:

iphone painter type

The “Painter Type” wallpapers can be downloaded for notched iPhones here, and for iPhones without a notch here.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We went to an art installation that forces you to cry in order to feel empathy — here’s what happened

Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/these-iphone-wallpapers-willmake-your-folders-transparent-2018-11

6 things to know about ‘Fantastic Beasts’ star Ezra Miller

Ezra Miller

Ezra Miller stars as Credence Barebone in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” but he’s not a new face in Hollywood.

The 26-year-old actor has showcased his versatility in films spanning different genres — from the coming-of-age hit “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (where he played a teenager named Patrick) to the superhero movie “Justice League” (where he starred as Barry Allen/The Flash).

Acting aside, he’s stepped out on red carpets with jaw-dropping looks and delighted fans with his recent feature for Playboy magazine.   

Keep reading to learn more about Miller. 

SEE ALSO: Ezra Miller says the cast of ‘Fantastic Beasts’ wasn’t consulted about Johnny Depp’s controversial role in the franchise

FOLLOW US: INSIDER Entertainment is on Facebook

He was arrested as a kid.

During an interview with his “Fantastic Beasts” co-stars, Miller admitted that he was arrested at 10 years old for spray painting the phrase, “stop sweatshop labor,” on a Gap store. He did it twice, and was caught the second time.

That’s not his only encounter with the law though. Miler was also pulled over for possession of 20 grams of marijuana in Pittsburgh, where he was filming “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” He ended up getting fined $600 for two citations of disorderly conduct.

Miller is a trained opera singer.

Miller was born with a speech impediment and did therapy. However, it made him “more aware of the stutter, which actually made it worse.” So instead, he turned to opera and started training at 6 years old.  

The actor told The Daily Beast that opera training focused on “control and manipulation of the breath,” which explains how he overcame his stutter after one year. 

Miller dropped out of high school when he was 16.

He attended the Hudson School in Hoboken, New Jersey, but left to pursue acting. Around the same time, Miller starred in the 2008 drama “Afterschool” and then landed a recurring role on the show “Californication.” 

See the rest of the story at INSIDER
Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/fantastic-beasts-ezra-miller-facts-2018-11

Mark Zuckerberg’s spectacular failure of leadership shows why some Facebook investors are desperate to fire him

Mark Zuckerberg

  • The New York Times’ exposé on Facebook’s crisis management exposes a spectacular failure in leadership from CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  • The report suggests he was at best uninterested in some of the scandals that engulfed his company and at worst complicit in exacerbating them.
  • It’s red meat to powerful investors who want to oust Zuckerberg as chairman.
  • Stepping down as chairman would allow him to acknowledge his failings, throw a bone to Facebook’s critics, and still maintain control of the firm he built.

If you haven’t read The New York Times’ blockbuster 6,000-word opus on how Facebook has dealt with a sequence of scandals, it’s a worthwhile investment of your time.

Based on interviews with 50 people, it is rich with devastating anecdotes and mini-scandals. In its own right, the black-ops mission to cast George Soros as the puppet master behind an anti-Facebook movement is startling and disturbing.

But overall, the impression I took away was one of a spectacular failure in leadership. And in this sense, all roads lead to Facebook’s CEO and chairman, Mark Zuckerberg.

The Times portrays Zuckerberg as, at best, uninterested in some of the existential issues that have threatened Facebook over the past three years and, at worst, even complicit in exacerbating them.

On the lack of interest, the report said Zuckerberg, and his right-hand woman, the chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, were “distracted by personal projects” as Facebook was dragged into danger.

As evidence of Russian meddling mounted last year, the report said, Zuckerberg was on a “listening tour.” It also said he preferred to focus on “broader technology issues,” leaving the politics to Sandberg.

sheryl sandberg facebook coo

In Zuckerberg’s defense, Facebook on Thursday said he and Sandberg were “deeply involved in the fight against false news and information operations on Facebook.”

And as far as making things worse, well there’s an anecdote about his misjudging the anger against his social network in a clumsy conversation with Republican Rep. Greg Walden.

But something else stood out, and it speaks volumes about the way Zuckerberg deals with crises. In the heat of the Cambridge Analytica data debacle, Facebook was criticized by Apple CEO Tim Cook. Instead of taking it on the chin, The Times said, Zuckerberg was riled.

“Mr. Cook’s criticisms infuriated Mr. Zuckerberg, who later ordered his management team to use only Android phones — arguing that the operating system had far more users than Apple’s,” The Times said.

It smacks of petulance at a time when Facebook needed reasoned responsibility. (Facebook said in response to the Times report that it had “long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android.”)

Zuckerberg’s failures are red meat for furious investors

All of this is red meat to the growing cabal of angry investors who want Zuckerberg gone as chairman.

Business Insider has spoken several times with activist shareholders, with holdings worth more than $3 billion. They believe Zuckerberg’s feet need to held to the flames by an independent chairman.

Read more: These investors control $3 billion of Facebook stock — and they want to take Zuckerberg down

“He is not accountable to anyone, not the board or the shareholders, which is a bad corporate-governance practice,” one told me. “He’s his own boss, and it has clearly not been working.”

A proposal to oust him as chairman was put forward last year. Analysis has shown that it was supported by 51% of independent investors at the annual shareholder meeting. There is now a fresh proposal to split Zuckerberg’s dual role that will be voted on at next year’s shareholder meeting. It is already gathering support.

Erskine Bowles

Facebook has consistently brushed off these demands. It has said an independent chairman would create “uncertainty, confusion, and inefficiency.” This is despite this governance mechanism functioning pretty smoothly at other tech companies, including Apple, Twitter, and Microsoft.

And there’s one element of The Times’ story that underlines the value of independent oversight. It features the board member Erskine Bowles, the chair of Facebook’s audit committee, conducting a foul-mouthed grilling of management on how the company allowed itself to become a tool for Russian interference.

Zuckerberg and Sandberg were stunned into action.

It’s not as if Zuckerberg is blind to Facebook’s failings. He accepts that the buck stops with him. “I designed the platform, so if someone’s going to get fired for this, it should be me,” he told Recode earlier this year.

Stepping down as chairman would allow him to acknowledge his failings, throw a bone to angry shareholders and Facebook critics, and yet still keep control of the $40 billion company he created in his Harvard dorm room.

It might also help achieve the ultimate aim of making Facebook a better, safer place for its 2 billion users.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: NYU professor says Facebook should pay taxes for making us less productive

Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/mark-zuckerberg-leadership-failures-set-to-anger-facebook-investors-2018-11

This is the first thing you should do with a new pair of Apple AirPods (AAPL)

apple airpods

AirPods are one of Apple’s most popular new products in years — in urban areas, the wireless white headphones can be seen adorning the lobes of all manner of commuters and pedestrians. 

That’s why it’s surprising that so many people don’t know about one of the handiest AirPods tricks. Because the AirPods are wireless, you don’t get the same remote with play/pause, track forward and track reverse buttons as you do with wired headphones.

If you miss the remote, you can program your AirPods to react to a double-tap. So to pause the current song, or to move to the next song, all you have to do is tap on the AirPod in your ear twice with your finger.

AirPods come with the default setting for a double tap set to activate Siri. So if you want to change it to a more useful command, you’ll need to fiddle with settings on your iPhone.

Here’s how you do it: 

To change AirPods settings, you need to go to Settings > Bluetooth and pick your AirPods from the list.

However, your AirPods need to be connected to your device. That means the lid needs to be up or the ‘pods need to be in your ears.

Once they’re paired, tap on the blue “I” icon on the right side. That will bring you to a menu from which you can change the double-tap behavior.

I prefer to have the right AirPod pause the song when I double tap, and have the right AirPod go to the next track. 

See the rest of the story at INSIDER
Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/handy-apple-airpods-double-tap-shortcut-2018-11

Tesla just had the worst year in its history, but now it’s starting to look like the best tech company in the world (TSLA)

elon musk

  • Tesla is a hybrid of tech company and car company — and with various scandals roiling the tech sector, Tesla seems like a tech company that’s at least trying to do good.
  • Tesla endured its own self-manufactured travails over the summer.
  • But with companies such as Facebook coming under fire, Tesla can pitch a better story about its mission.

Tesla likes to think of itself as a disruptive, Silicon Valley technology company. That’s far from accurate. Despite over-the-air software updates to its vehicles and a factory in the Bay Area, Tesla is fundamentally a carmaker. 

It is, however, the most techie of car companies, and that’s actually something of a major advantage now in Silicon Valley. Because, regrettably, the true tech companies are starting to look very, very bad.

Facebook, now reeling from a devastating New York Times investigation into the social network’s leadership through numerous crises, no longer appears to be making the world more free and open. 

Google is mixed up with the military-industrial-digital complex, and Amazon’s HQ2 civic reality show has been greeted with blowback after the online retailer ended up splitting the spoils between the Washington, DC area and New York City — two locations it might have chosen anyway, without months of free press for the effort and incentives from New York state.

Twitter … ah, well, Twitter. If you like your online semi-pro wrestling to be 24/7 and no-holds-barred, you know which bird to watch.

mark zuckerberg

Tesla’s excellent timing

And that’s just the major Internet 2.0 players. Apple still destroyed the music business, and although Microsoft isn’t the powerhouse it once was, it’s still with us and not necessarily beloved. The former model of tech misconduct, Uber, has to be delighted with Facebook now taking much of the heat. 

Tesla certainly endured a summer of discontent, what with its troubled Model 3 launch and CEO Elon Musk’s failed go-private scheme and subsequent SEC action and fines. But the company snapped its season of self-inflicted bad luck in time to turn a rare profit in the third quarter. As it turns out, the timing was excellent, given the impending tech-industry meltdown.

At base, Tesla makes stuff in the pursuit of a noble mission: to deal with a global climate catastrophe by freeing humanity from a dependence on fossil fuels. Apart from the media’s coverage of Musk’s Twitter feed, there’s almost zero commitment to advertising, the business that defines Facebook and Google.

Travis Kalanick

Not killing other industries, and manufacturing in the USA

Unlike Amazon, Tesla isn’t obliterating legacy industries. And of course, Tesla designs and builds its cars in California, while Apple designs its devices in the Golden State, but assembles them in China.

Obviously, Tesla will in the future make cars in China, but for now, it looks like a kinda-sorta tech company that isn’t doing anything notably evil. 

I realize I’m overgeneralizing about the entire tech sector — there are obviously some decent companies and some solid people, although many of the more solid folks, such as Kevin Systrom, have run away from Facebook, perhaps as a decency preserving strategy.

That said, if you’re looking for a Silicon Valley company that’s trying to do the right thing and stands out as a result, Tesla is it. Will the company take advantage of this? That remains to be seen. But it would be justified in doing so.

 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What would happen if Elon Musk left Tesla

Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/tesla-is-making-a-big-comeback-after-a-terrible-year-2018-11

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg isn’t accountable to anyone, so it’s time Congress took away the source of his power (FB)

facebook ceo mark zuckerberg

  • Facebook’s string of scandals over the last several years have highlighted the poor job Mark Zuckerberg has done running the company — and his lack of accountability.
  • The social networking giant’s stock structure gives Zuckerberg near-absolute control over it, because the shares he holds get far more votes than those held by ordinary investors.
  • Facebook is one of a growing number of companies that have such structures, which help to insulate insiders from outside investors and the public at large.
  • Many investors have been agitating against such structures, but little can or has been done to bar them at already public companies such as Facebook.
  • Congress can and should address the problem.

No matter how poor a job Mark Zuckerberg has done lately running Facebook, he’s almost certainly not going anywhere, because he’s effectively his own boss.

But with a small change to the nation’s securities laws, Congress could weaken his grip on the company and potentially introduce some public accountability — not only to the social media giant, but to dozens of other companies besides.

Accountability is sorely needed at Facebook, given all the scandals and fiascos the company has been embroiled in for much of the last two years. Zuckerberg and his top executives repeatedly failed to anticipate those problems then reacted poorly to them once they came to light.

Just this week, for example, The New York Times reported that Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, his top lieutenant and COO, repeatedly downplayed in public what the company had found out about the Russian-link propaganda campaign conducted on Facebook during the 2016 election. Also, amid rising criticism of the company this year, Facebook embarked on a public relations campaign to hit back at its critics, including by using the anti-Semitic chestnut of of linking them to Jewish financier George Soros.

Zuckerberg and Sandberg have denied that they tried to hide what they knew about the Russia investigation. They’ve also denied knowing about the PR campaign that was conducted on its behalf.

Facebook’s scandals have illustrated Zuckerberg’s shortcomings

The Times report alone might have led to the ouster of top executives at another company. But it focuses only on a handful of the myriad of missteps Facebook has made under Zuckerberg and his team of late. Other notable fiascos include the leak of millions of users’ personal data to Cambridge Analytica, the more recent hacking attack that compromised some 30 million accounts, and the use of its service to incite violence in Myanmar against the Rohingya people and to spread fake news and hate speech.

christopher wylie cambridge analyticaTaken together, the scandals have shown vividly that while Facebook under Zuckerberg’s leadership was hell-bent on growth, it massively underinvested in, or simply gave short shrift to, concerns such as privacy, security, and the ability of malicious actors to hijack its service. He and his team have been scrambling ever since to address such problems. In the process, Facebook’s user growth has slowed, its costs have gone up, and its stock price has slumped.

Those things alone would likely have upset investors and had them agitating for a management shakeup. But each new scandal that’s arisen has highlighted Zuckerberg’s chief shortcoming as a leader. However technically proficient he may and visionary from a product perspective, he’s consistently seemed to be asleep at the switch when major problems were brewing on Facebook’s service. Whether because he was unable, unwilling, unavailable, or just unimaginative, he’s repeatedly failed to foresee and head off problems before they arose.

Take the Soros smear. Zuckerberg on Thursday said he’d been unaware until he read it in The Times the day before either about the attempt to link Facebook’s critics to Soros or that Facebook had hired the public relations firm that led the effort. You’d think the CEO of a company would be well informed about a major PR effort being conducted on his company’s behalf, particularly if it was planning to do something so controversial. But apparently not Zuck.

Read this: Heads ought to roll at Facebook over the Soros smear — starting with Zuck’s

Zuckerberg’s stock means he has all the power

It’s no wonder, then, that investors have repeatedly shown they are indeed unhappy with Zuckerberg’s leadership. Last year, a majority of independent shareholders of Facebook voted in favor of a proposal that would have required it to replace him as chairman with someone who had no ties to him or the company. A similar proposal is slated to be up for a shareholder vote again next year. Meanwhile, the company has seen numerous shareholder resolutions in recent years that have sought to take away some of Zuckerberg’s power and to provide more outside oversight the company.

Evan SpiegelThose efforts have all failed for one simple reason: under Facebook’s corporate bylaws, Zuckerberg is something like an absolute monarch. He doesn’t have to step down or cede any of his power or submit to anyone else’s oversight unless he chooses to do so. And so far, he’s chosen to maintain his complete grip on power.

Technically, what empowers Zuckerberg is Facebook’s stock structure. The company has two classes of shares — Class A, which is mostly held by everyday investors; and Class B, which is mostly held by Zuckerberg. Each Class B share comes with 10 times more votes than each Class A share. What that means is that even though Zuckerberg owns or controls about 15% of Facebook’s total outstanding shares, he gets about 60% of its votes.

That means that just by himself he can vote down any shareholder proposal, nominate anyone he wants to Facebook’s board of directors, and pretty much run the company as he sees fit.

Zuckerberg is one of a growing number of executives — many of them in the tech sector — who are insulated from investors and the public by their companies’ multi-class stock structures or by outsized voting rights. Others in that group are Snap CEO Evan Spiegel and Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.

Investors are unhappy with dual-class structures

Many investors are getting fed up with such arrangements and for good reasons. Not only do they get little to no control over the companies they own, but research indicates that shares of companies with such stock structures underperform their peers over the long run.

Institutional investors have started to pressure individual companies such as Facebook to eliminate or agree to sunset their dual-class stock structures. They’ve also started to press exchanges and index funds to bar companies with such stock arrangements.

Natasha Lamb, Managing Partner, Director of Equity Research & Shareholder Engagement, Arjuna Capital, an activist investment fund.They’ve had some success. A growing portion of newly public companies that have dual-class structures have sunset provisions that will end them over a period of some years. S&P Dow Jones Indices announced that going forward it will not include any additional companies in the S&P 500 or related indices that have dual-class stock structures. And FTSE Russell announced that to be listed on its indices, companies must have shares worth at least 5% of the companies’ voting rights held by outsiders or trading freely.

But none of these developments address the problem at Facebook or other companies that have refused to end or sunset their dual-class stock structures. King Zuck has simply refused to give up power, regardless of the pressure that outsider investors have tried to place on him.

Meanwhile, the S&P Dow Jones grandfathered in companies with dual-stock structures that are already included in its indices. And should the exchanges make a move to bar such companies, they too will likely give a pass to companies that are already listed.

It’s time for Congress to step in

Thirty years ago, as the number of companies with dual-class structures started to tick up, the Securities and Exchange Commission tried to force the stock exchanges to bar the practice among their listed companies. Unfortunately an appeals court struck down the rule less than two years after the SEC approved it, clearing the way for Facebook, Google, and other companies to go public with dual-class structures. The appeals court’s reasoning was that Congress hadn’t explicitly given the SEC the authority to force the exchanges to mandate companies have particular stock structures.

It’s long past time for Congress to correct that oversight. It ought to either ban dual-class stock structures among public companies outright, or make clear that the SEC can do so itself.

Doing so wouldn’t just help shareholders get a handle on Facebook. It would help make the company — and its tech peers that similarly insulate their insiders — more accountable to the public at large.

For the good of society, that accountability is long overdue.

Now read:

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NOW WATCH: A Maldives resort serves up a luxurious lunch — in the ocean!

Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/congress-should-ban-facebooks-dual-class-stock-structure-2018-11

These are the 7 best Black Friday gaming deals you’ll find in stores

best buy black friday

Black Friday is fast approaching and it’s the season for holiday deals on video games.

As the current generation of consoles reaches the end of its life span, now is a great time to invest in an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 for cheap and start building a library of great games.

This year seems to have surprisingly few exclusive deals, with gaming products from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo carrying nearly identical discounts across major retailers. We scrubbed early Black Friday ads from Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Newegg and more to find the most essential video game deals for the holiday.

PlayStation 4 Slim with “Marvel’s Spider-Man” – $200

The PlayStation 4 is the most popular video game console on the market and Sony is offering the slim redesigned model with the year’s most popular PS4 exclusive. “Marvel’s Spider-Man” broke sales records with a massive launch in September and the PlayStation 4 recently reached 500 million unites sold worldwide.

$100 off PlayStation VR Bundles

The PlayStation VR is one of the most well-received virtual reality headsets, and it’s reached its lowest price point so far. There are a few PSVR bundles out there offering different games, but I’d recommend the “Astrobot: Rescue Mission” and Moss” bundle pictured above. Both games came out this year and offer a wonderfully immersive VR experience. Keep in mind that the headset must be hooked up to a PlayStation 4 to work.

Xbox One S Minecraft Creators Bundle – $200

While the Xbox One is a bit behind the PlayStation 4 in sales, it’s still one of the best home-theater devices on the market. Unlike the standard PS4, the Xbox One S offers 4K playback and added compatibility with smart home devices and cable boxes.

If you’re looking for added power, the Xbox One X is actually stronger than the premium PlayStation 4 Pro, and will also be on sale for $399, a $100 discount.

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Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/black-friday-2018-the-7-best-gaming-deals-2018-11