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Staying in touch with Facebook – Phuket Investor

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Staying in touch with Facebook – Phuket Investor | The Thaiger

PHUKET: One of the main things I like about Facebook is that I can stay in touch with my family and friends all via one platform. Before I had to keep emailing, making phone calls and writing the occasional letter to and from the US. Now with Facebook, I don’t have to do that anymore. I’m able to share my life here in Thailand and be able to see the events in the lives of those closest to me.

All of this has led me to wonder if now is the time to buy Facebook stock since I use it every day.

Last year when the company went public, I had clients calling me asking if they should buy. I told them that I never buy stock on the IPO because there’s too much risk. Boy was I right. The stock came public at US$38, popped to $45 and then started a gradual decline to a low of $17.55. The stock is currently trading around $26 and my investment radar is on high alert.

Facebook has the largest database of user’s personal data in the world. Users have shared with Facebook data that no other site has. How many sites have the user’s birthday, employment, likes, employment and education? The company is an aggregator of user information. The question that has been on investor minds is how can the company capitalize on all that information and justify a huge market cap.

To capitalize on all this info-rmation, the company has launched Graph Search, Facebook’s challenge to Google. With Graph Search, users can search and find anything that’s been shared on the site within one’s own network. You can find people, places, photos and the likes of your friends.

Facebook’s strategy is have the user search Facebook before they turn to Google.

With Graph Search, businesses can pay to have their rankings higher than competitors the same way they do with Google search. Since the user’s information is localized, businesses can target the user and provide the nearest location for the customer to purchase. In comparing the two companies, Google last year had $50 billion in revenues versus Facebook’s $5bn. If Facebook can capture just 5% of Google’s search business, revenue will increase by 50%.

One of the ways Facebook is seeking to monetize this data is through the use of the Facebook Gift Card. This is a potential game changer in the growing gift card industry. Facebook users can search a user’s likes and then purchase a gift card tailored to their interests. This eliminates the hassle of figuring out what to get someone for their birthday or an occasion. So far the program is only available for the Olive Garden, Jamba Juice, Target and Sephora. Look for many more companies to join the program as Facebook grows the business.

One of the key acquisitions that Facebook has made is Instagram. Instagram has been a growth phenomenon. When Facebook purchased Instagram for $1bn, Instagram had 27 million users. Almost one year later, Instagram has over 100mn users. Instagram has 90mn active monthly users that upload 40mn photos per day. Users make more than 1000 comments per second and over 8,500 likes per second.

If you compare the growth of Instagram to that of Facebook, you’ll find that Instagram is growing at a much faster rate than Facebook did.

It took Facebook four and a half years to reach 100mn users. Instagram reached this milestone in only two and a half years.

Making this feat even more impressive is the fact that the photo-sharing application is limited to iPhone and Android devices.

The immense popularity of Instagram is being led by teenagers. Teenagers are typically at the forefront of the latest and greatest. They were the first ones to get on Facebook and then their parents and grandparents followed.

Now they’re spending more time on Instagram and their parents and grandparents are likely to follow as well.

Some of the smartest investors in the world have been recently buying Facebook stock. Among those buying are former Fidelity Magellan star manager, Jeffrey Vinik and billionaire Leon Cooperman. Last quarter the number of funds owning Facebook stock increased from 48 to 67. The buying interest in the stock by the big funds is a positive sign for long-term holders of Facebook stock.

I have been watching the stock since the company went public 10 months ago. The stock got a little ahead of itself when it hit $32 last month but now Facebook has consolidated nicely and technically looks very good. This pullback appears to be a good spot for long-term buyers to get in the stock.

Don Freeman is president of Freeman Capital Management, a Registered Investment Advisor with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), based in Phuket, Thailand. He has over 15 years experience and provides personal financial planning and wealth management to expatriates. Specializing in UK and US pension transfers. Call 089-970-5795 or email: freemancapital@gmail.com.

Keep checking the Gazette’s business pages for the latest local and national business news updates affecting Phuket and Thailand. Alternatively, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter.

— Don Freeman

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Thailand

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Maya Taylor

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Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

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Central Thailand

Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers

Maya Taylor

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Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

An airline executive has been arrested in the central province of Samut Songkhram, after complaints from150 employees that they had not been paid. Chawengsak Noiprasan, who had a court warrant issued against him in October, was taken to Don Muang police station from a property in the Bang Khan Take sub-district. He is a board member of Siam Air Transport.

The airline began operations in October 2014 with services out of Don Mueang to Hong Kong, using 2 Boeing 737-300s. 2 Boeing 737-800s were added to its fleet in late 2015. It expanded by adding Zhengzhou and Guangzhou in China to its network in early 2015. In late 2015, the airline launched flights to Macau and Singapore. In 2017, the airline ceased all operations.

But according to an article in the Bangkok Post, the carrier operates a number of scheduled and charter flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. The Post reports that, as Chawengsak signs the company’s legal paperwork, all legal matters concerning the airline fall to him.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau says the executive has admitted to ignoring a 30 day notice issued by the labour inspector and ordering the payment of wages to 150 workers. It’s understood he is also wanted in relation to 7 other cases.

The authorities sought Chawengsak’s arrest following complaints from employees who say they haven’t received their wages for 2 months. It’s understood the airline had previously deferred salary payments for over 8 months. 150 workers filed an official complaint with Don Mueang police and also approached media outlets, asking them to pressure the airline into paying the money owed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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