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Facebook to Hire Banking Expert to Run its Digital Coin Libra

Sensing a multi-billion dollar opportunity to improve the cross-border payments system

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Facebook's vice president of messaging products and a key figure behind 'Libra' digital currency project. Pixabay

Facebook is looking to hire a seasoned executive to run its digital coin ‘Libra’ project who has the know-how of the complex government and central banking system.

According to David Marcus, Facebook’s vice president of messaging products and a key figure behind ‘Libra’ digital currency project, someone with experience in government and central banking would be a great choice to oversee the currency.

“We need someone who knows how economies tend to work, who understands how to operate in a very complex, decentralized governance type of environment,” Marcus told The Information on Friday.

Sensing a multi-billion dollar opportunity to improve the cross-border payments system, Facebook has announced to launch its own digital coin called ‘Libra’ next year.\

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Facebook is looking to hire a seasoned executive to run its digital coin ‘Libra’ project. Pixabay

“We need someone who has the gravitas to be able to carry the message on behalf of all the members — the 100 members and more of the association when this thing goes live — rather than have each and every one of us have piecemeal conversations left and right with all of the different governments and regulators that this whole network will be subject to,” Marcus elaborated.

The new digital wallet for ‘Libra’ currency would be available in Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and as a stand-alone app in 2020.

Facebook has tied up with 27 organisations around the world to start the non-profit Libra Association to create the new currency.

Marcus denied reports that banks have rejected Facebook’s invitation to join the Libra Association.

Also Read- Northern India Registers Critical Fall in Groundwater Levels

“We have had conversations with banks. We still have conversations with banks. And my expectation is that by the time this thing launches next year you will have banks that are going to be members of this,” Marcus was quoted as saying.

According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “In addition to our efforts, many other companies will build their own services using Libra — from payment companies like Mastercard, PayPal, PayU, Stripe and Visa, to popular services like Booking, eBay, Farfetch, Lyft, Spotify and Ubera.

“A number of leading venture firms are also joining to help drive innovation on the Libra network. We’re hoping to have over 100 co-founding members of the Libra Association by the time the network launches next year,” Zuckerberg said.

Facebook currently generates 99 per cent of its revenue from advertisements and digital currency would help it reach billions of users across products — aiming to create another stable revenue stream and make cryptocurrecny-based payments mainstream. (IANS)

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Facebook, Google Performing an Assault on the Right to Privacy

In a statement given to The Verge, a Google spokesperson said the company is working to give people more control over their data

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The Facebook mobile app on an Android smartphone. Wikimedia Commons

Facebook and Google which offer services to billions of people without asking them to pay a financial fee are performing an assault on the right to privacy on an unprecedented scale, a stinging Amnesty International report said on Thursday, stressing that both companies need to change their business models which are threatening basic human rights.

The abuse of privacy that is core to Facebook and Google’s surveillance-based business model is starkly demonstrated by the companies’ long history of privacy scandals.

“Despite the companies’ assurances over their commitment to privacy, it is difficult not to see these numerous privacy infringements as part of the normal functioning of their business, rather than aberrations,” said the report that came out on Thursday.

Google and Facebook’s total revenues come almost entirely from advertising, at 84 percent and 98 percent respectively.

Their information is so attractive to advertisers that the two companies are often described as having a “duopoly” over the market in online advertising.

“But it isn’t ‘just ads’: the information in their data vaults – as well as the computational insights that Google and Facebook derive from that data,  is of intense interest to a host of actors, from companies who set insurance rates to law enforcement agencies,” said the NGO.

While Facebook agreed to pay a $5 billion fine to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over privacy violations in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the European Union’s antitrust regulators have fined Google 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for abusing its dominance in the online search market by blocking rivals.

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Huawei smartphones are seen in front of the displayed Google Play logo in this illustration picture, May 20, 2019. VOA

In fresh trouble for Google, 50 US Attorneys General probing its anti-trust market practices have decided to expand the investigation into the tech giant’s Android and Search businesses.

According to the Amnesty report, the surveillance-based business model of Google and Facebook has thrived from a largely hands-off approach to the regulation of the technology industry in key countries such as the US, the companies’ home state.

“But despite the real value of the services they provide, Google and Facebook’s platforms come at a systemic cost. The companies’ surveillance-based business model forces people to make a Faustian bargain, whereby they are only able to enjoy their human rights online by submitting to a system predicated on human rights abuse,” the report noted.

This isn’t the internet people signed up for. Citizens today are paying for the Facebook and Google services with their intimate personal data.

After collecting this data, Google and Facebook use it to analyze people, aggregate them into groups, and to make predictions about their interests, characteristics, and ultimately behavior – primarily so they can use these insights to generate advertising revenue.

“This surveillance machinery reaches well beyond the Google search bar or the Facebook platform itself. People are tracked across the web, through the apps on their phones, and in the physical world as well, as they go about their day-to-day affairs,” said the Amnesty report.

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An iPhone displays the app for Facebook in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019. VOA

In another example of infringing on users’ privacy, Google’s partnership with US healthcare organization Ascension over health data collection of millions of Americans through its “Project Nightingale” has also triggered a federal probe.

According to the NGO report, the companies’ use of algorithmic systems to create and infer detailed profiles on people interferes with “our ability to shape our own identities within a private sphere”.

“Advertisers were the original beneficiaries of these insights, but once created, the companies’ data vaults served as an irresistible temptation for governments as well.”

Ultimately, said the report, it is now evident that the era of self-regulation in the tech sector is coming to an end and further state-based regulation will be necessary.

Also Read: The Reasons of Investing in Luxury Watches

In its reply, Facebook disagreed with it’s business model being “surveillance-based.”

“It is important to note that no one is obliged to sign up for Facebook. Facebook’s business model is not, as your summary suggests, driven by the collection of data about people. Like many other online companies, Facebook is supported through the sale of advertising,” the social networking platform said in a letter which is part of the Amnesty report.

In a statement given to The Verge, a Google spokesperson said the company is working to give people more control over their data. (IANS)