Facebook: Zuckerberg’s audition & The Cambridge Analytica Scandal
The Fact: Tuesday 10th of April, Mark Zuckerberg faced off US Senate’s Judiciary and Commerce Committees to address several allegations regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal surrounding Facebook. The leader of social media has allegedly been involved in recent data breaches of more than 87 million users recuperated by Cambridge Analytica, a company specialized in politic influence which was part of the “Leave.EU” movement during the Brexit Campaign and worked for Trump during the 2016 US elections.
The Debate: The controversy over protection of private information began since the very creation of Facebook, but the growth of the company which is now a gold mine of information for politics has put a whole new dimension over the debate. In a House of Cards lookalike scenario, people are showing concern and suspicions over some possible manipulation made by politic candidate, government and lobbyists on the population, especially in the US. The recent accusations implicating Cambridge Analytica have materialized these concerns into reality.
The Audition: Mark Zuckerberg looked quite confident during the audition, which was qualified of an illusion by many analysts because of its format. Indeed, every senator of each commission only had 4 minutes to ask questions and make his way through the CEO’s answers which were often punctuated by a redundant “I don’t have sufficient information for this question right now, but I’ll have my team follow up on you with the information we have”. Besides that, Zuckerberg clearly stated a public mea culpa, but it did not seem to convince his audience.
Financial Consequences: If the audition has raised concern for the public, in the meantime it boosted the market. At the end of the day, Facebook had registered a raise of 1,75% to 160,70 USD alongside other social media like Twitter or Snapchat which raised from 0,5% to 1,8%. Most of Wall Street’s financial experts still indicated to buy and showed confidence in the Silicon Valley-based company. On the other hand, a change of regulation could seriously affect advertising revenues which is one of the main source of income for social media, but the lack of will from political figures and the intensity of the lobby from technological companies should prevent any serious restriction. Still, Facebook should stay aware and concerned about this scandal. Since the beginning of the controversy in March, the company lost 13,5% of its stock-exchange valuation.
By Timothée Rouger.
The Trade War between the US and China in brief
Basically, a trade war is a back-and-forth battle between two countries. One imposes tariffs on certain imports in order to reduce the imports and the other respond by putting tariffs also.
In the case of China and the United States, Trump started by putting tariffs of 25% on 50 to 60 billion on Chinese exports to US in order to protect the United States aluminum and steel industry. Because, according to him, the Chinese economy has the advantages of an emerging country which is unfair for the US economy. In response to that, the Chinese government imposed tariffs on some US product. Both sides are escalating threats of new sanctions on each other.
The response of the stock market was immediate. The fear of a trade war has impacted the prices on the market. The stock of US oil fell 2,3% as China is the second largest country where the US oil is exported.
Trump recently tweeted that the tariffs on the vehicles (25%) made by China since many years was unfair comparing to the US ones (2,5%). In order to appease the tensions, the Chinese president made a speech saying that he didn’t want a trade war and is going to decrease significantly the tariffs on the vehicles but also on some other products. A first step that has also appeased the market. Major indexes in Hong Kong and United States gained more than 1,5% after the speech.
By Louiz Domoutschieva
The use of chemical weapons in Syria
On the 7th April 2018, the Syrian army of Bachar El-Assad used (again) chemical weapons against rebels and citizens in the Eastern Ghouta. More precisely in the city of Douma which has already been struck by such attacks in 2013.
The fights started in January 2018 and were extremely violent because of the numbers of citizens impacted. The paroxysm was attained during the night of last Saturday when a helicopter of the Syrian army dropped a chemical weapon on the city. Many rebels and citizens were hidden in underground in results of past bombings and hence were in poor ventilated places.
The consequence was terrible as many NGO showed. Human Rights Watch, the Syrian American Medical Society and the “White-Helmets” denounced the attack by publishing videos of dead bodies with eye’s burning and white foam in the mouth. Many victims suffered from breathing difficulties and babies could suffer from long term diseases.
Despite many talks and discussions about a possible progressive disengagement in the region, the Syrian government is still continuing its violent reconquest in rebel’s stronghold region with a logistic and politic support from its allies (Iran and Russia). To respond to this attack, the USA, UK and France launched an air-strike against the Syrian regime during Friday night. This response has been judged as unfair, unpolitical and unjustified by the Syrian regime.
The Syrian case is actually becoming much more than just a revolution or a civil war. It is a conflict where every actor tries to prove their power, their supremacy and their legitimacy to rule international conflicts. Unfortunately, international authorities still fail to enforce laws and diplomacy in Syria and, actually, in so many cases.
While an economic war is rising on one side of the earth, a flashback to a cold war is actually happening on the other side.
By Samuel Chaineau