mark zuckerberg

Tim Bradshaw

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla have made their biggest charitable donation yet, giving Facebook stock worth $500m to a Silicon Valley foundation. Read more

Short-term investors need not apply. That’s the key message in a newly released video Facebook produced for its investor road show, which is expected to begin next week.

The highly-produced video stars Facebook’s top executives, explaining the technical details of the platform with fast-paced cinematography, and describing its advertising model with guest appearances from Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and American Express.

But the most pointed message to investors comes toward the end from David Ebersman, Facebook’s chief financial officer: we want investors who believe in our mission and are excited about our long-term potential. Read more

This week, Facebook’s much-anticipated IPO filing gave a glimpse into the company’s financials and the thinking of its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg.

For many commentators, the filing raised questions about whether Facebook can continue this pace of accelerated growth. Read more

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg. Getty Images.

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer for Facebook, said US education and immigration policy were to blame for the fierce battle Silicon Valley technology companies were fighting over engineers.

American universities should be “stapling a visa to every high-tech diploma” it issues to non-US students, Ms Sandberg said, rather than send foreign students back to their home countries to build companies that will compete with US ones. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Airbnb, the online service that helps homeowners rent out their houses to holidaymakers, is to strengthen its safety and security guidelines after a customer’s house was vandalised and ransacked by a renter, Techcrunch reports. A statement from chief executive Brian Chesky says the company, which hit a billion-dollar valuation in a recent fundraising, will now beef up its customer support, client education and safety functions. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • In an attempt to stem online piracy, Universal and Sony Music, two of Britain’s biggest record labels, are to make their new singles available for sale on the day they first hit the airwaves, PaidContent reports. The music companies hope that by being able to buy songs immediately,  impatient music lovers will stop copying songs from radio broadcasts online.
  • TechCrunch reports on findings by Asmyco, the Helsinki-based app developer and industry analysis advisory firm, that more than 60 Apps have been downloaded for every iOS device sold -  up from 10 Apps downloaded for every iPhone/iPod touch in 2008.

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Tim Bradshaw

“Mark Zuckerberg” and “vacation” aren’t phrases that most people would normally associate.

The Facebook founder is known for working long hours; a two-month “lockdown” over the summer kept developers in the office for extended periods while new products – such as Mail – were created.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that when Mr Zuckerberg takes holiday to China, it isn’t all temple visits and cocktailsRead more

David Gelles

Facebook is tangling with regulators around the world these days, and the company’s porous privacy settings have not escaped the ire of officials in Washington, DC.

So in an effort to cope with what is sure to be more international scrutiny, Facebook has hired a White House official to work with its policy team inside the Beltway.

Marne Levine, currently chief of staff at the White House National Economic Council, will join the world’s largest social network as vice president of global public policy. In her new role, she will help build and manage policy teams in Asia, the Americas and Europe. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Last time Facebook met a UK government minister, it was enduring tabloid hell after a 17-year-old girl was murdered by a man she met through the social network.

Today saw what seems to have been a much more amicable meeting.

Mark Zuckerberg, who began his trip to Europe yesterday at a London Facebook “hackathon”, this morning met with David Cameron, the prime minister, and Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for culture and media. Read more

David Gelles

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has just penned an editorial for the Washington Post, answering his critics and announcing that changes are on the way.

Mr Zuckerberg writes of two substantive changes coming soon — drastically simplified privacy settings, and an easy way to opt-out of third party services such as the recently launched Instant Personalisation feature. These changes are in line with what we reported on Saturday, when we revealed plans for Facebook’s “master control.”

Mr Zuckerberg, who has been criticised for not being more forthcoming in recent weeks, took responsibility for his company’s overreach. “The biggest message we have heard recently is that people want easier control over their information,” he wrote. “Simply put, many of you thought our controls were too complex. Our intention was to give you lots of granular controls; but that may not have been what many of you wanted. We just missed the mark.” Read more

David Gelles

That didn’t take long. It was just in mid-September that Facebook said it had reached 300m users (and was cashflow positive, to boot).

Now comes news that the social networking behemoth has added another 50m users just in time for the holidays. With 350m users, Facebook is now firmly entrenched as the fourth-largest property on the web (after Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, respectively).

Having achieved this massive scale, Facebook is contending with a new host of challenges. Read more

Silicon Valley’s commitment to shareholder democracy – or to public shareholder democracy as opposed to the influence wielded by venture capital firms – does not seem to be strong.

The news that Facebook has established a dual-class share structure, converting its existing shareholders to Class B stock carrying 10 times the voting rights of Class A shares, suggests that (despite its denials) Facebook is readying itself for an initial public offering.

It is also falling in line with Google, which created a dual-class share structure for its IPO in 2004, which also gave 10 times the voting power to some shareholders. Eric Schmidt, the company’s chief executive, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin, its co-founders, control the majority voting rights as a result. Read more

  • Speculation about Facebook‘s finances has once again been swirling, but chief executive Mark Zuckerberg at least provided a bit of clarity. Over the weekend VentureBeat said Facebook was about to close a $150m round to buy out shares from hundreds of employees. Then TechCrunch chimed in with a report that the company turned down a $200m term sheet that valued the company at $8bn because the investors wanted a board seat. Facebook is notoriously tight-lipped, but today Mr Zuckerberg said that his company is in no immediate need of capital, and that he does hope to take Facebook public, but not for a couple of years.
  • Could the worst be over? Hewlett-Packard said that stronger than expected Chinese and US consumer markets helped it beat Wall Street profit projections for the second quarter, and the world’s leading personal computer company by revenue struck a note of cautious optimism on the economy as a whole.

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David Gelles

Responding to concerns that it was invading users’ privacy and taking ownership of their content, Facebook will let its members choose what terms of service govern the popular social networking site.

Starting today, users will have a week to vote between two sets of documents: a revised version of the terms of use released in February that incorporates user feedback and clarifies language about Facebook’s relationship to content posted on the site, or the existing terms of use that still include controversial language. Read more