Monthly Archives: May 2019

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg ‘survives’ leadership vote

Mark ZuckerbergImage copyright EPA

An attempt to make Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg step down as the company’s chairman has failed.

At the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday, shareholders had the opportunity to vote on Mr Zuckerberg’s leadership.

Mr Zuckerberg is both Facebook’s chief executive and the chairman of its board of directors.

He controls about 60% of the voting power and would only have lost if he voted against himself.

Some investors have called for him to step down as chairman as they believe this would help him focus on running the company.

One of those investors is Trillium Asset Management, which owns Facebook shares worth about $7m (£5.5m).

“If he can focus on being the CEO, and let somebody else focus on being independent board chair, that would be a much better situation,” Jonas Kron, senior vice-president at Trillium, told the BBC ahead of the vote.

He said Mr Zuckerberg could take inspiration from Google’s Larry Page and Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who are company founders but not chairman of the board.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A small group of demonstrators gathered outside the AGM venue

Despite more than a year of privacy and data protection scandals, Facebook has exceeded estimates for revenue growth and continues to add new members.

At the annual general meeting, Mr Zuckerberg declined to answer a shareholder question about why he would not appoint an independent chairman of the board.

He repeated his view that regulators should set the rules around privacy and content for Facebook to follow.

A small number of demonstrators appeared outside the AGM, arguing that Facebook did not protect its users, particularly people from minority groups. Counter-demonstrators argued that Facebook “censored conservative voices”.

According to the Reuters news agency, some shareholders at the AGM said Facebook was a “hostile work environment” for people with conservative views. Some have asked the company to produce a diversity report reflecting its public policy positions.

‘Too much power’

Facebook’s former security chief Alex Stamos has also called for Mr Zuckerberg to step down as chief executive.

“There’s a legit[imate] argument that he has too much power,” Mr Stamos told the Collision Conference in Canada in May.

Mr Zuckerberg previously defended his leadership of Facebook.

In April, he said: “When you’re building something like Facebook, which is unprecedented in the world, there are things that you’re going to mess up.

“What I think people should hold us accountable for is if we are learning from our mistakes.”

Qualcomm has strong argument to win reversal of U.S. antitrust ruling: legal experts

A rare public call by a U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) official for one of the agency’s courtroom victories to be reversed, in a case of anticompetitive business practices by chipmaker Qualcomm Inc, charts a strong course for a judge’s ruling to be overturned on appeal, some legal experts said.

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5G: EE launches UK’s next-generation mobile network

StormzyImage copyright PA
Image caption EE launched its service with a Stormzy gig

EE has launched the UK’s first next-generation 5G mobile network, with a concert by rapper Stormzy live-streamed from a boat on the River Thames.

5G mobile networks offer faster downloads, but customers will need a new handset to take advantage.

At first, the service will only be available in limited areas of Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester.

Rival Vodafone plans to switch on its 5G service in the coming weeks.

EE’s lowest-priced deal is £54 a month plus a one-off £170 fee for a compatible handset. But this only includes 10GB of data a month, which can be used up quickly if you download lots of movies or games.

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Media captionBBC News puts 5G connectivity to the test on two phones, downloading a podcast.

Going live

On Thursday morning, BBC Breakfast had the UK’s first live news broadcast over 5G.

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Media captionWATCH: Rory’s first 5G live broadcast

Many news channels currently link several 4G connections together in order to stream video over mobile networks.

But using the 5G network, the BBC’s technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones was able to broadcast in high definition using just one Sim card.

5G is not just about faster internet speeds. It also offers lower latency than 4G connections: that means less of a delay between sending a request and getting a response.

For Rory, that meant a shorter delay between hearing a question in his earpiece and answering live on TV.

One technical hitch delayed Rory’s broadcast. Test transmissions had ploughed through the data allowance on the Sim card, so it needed a top-up before Rory could go live on BBC Breakfast.

That makes EE’s 10GB data cap on its cheapest price plan seem a little bit limiting – although EE says the data cap was reached after several days of test transmissions.

Is 5G safe?

Analysis by BBC Reality Check

Some people have questioned whether there are health risks from 5G, but experts and regulators say there is no evidence of danger.

Similar fears were expressed around earlier mobile internet and wi-fi.

More than 200 scientists appealed to the EU to halt the roll out of 5G, saying that electromagnetic fields may be harmful to humans and the environment, and could increase cancer risks.

But the EU says exposure from 5G will be far below limits set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

“There has been no evidence to suggest that electromagnetic waves from mobile phones and networks are bad for your health,” says Prof Malcolm Sperrin, Director of the Department of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.

He says a causal link between mobile phone use and cancer in humans is unproven.

5G technology is new but experts believe it poses no greater risk than earlier mobile systems.

Image copyright PA
Image caption EE launched its service from a boat on the River Thames