When Companies Get Swept Into the Facebook Mythology

You’ve probably heard by now that the SEC is considering a lawsuit against Netflix for a post it published on its Facebook page in June. CEO Reed Hastings shared that the video-streaming platform saw more than 1 billion streams the previous month, and as a result, its stock rose 6.2%.

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The SEC is displeased. According to securities law, companies must share information in a “non-exclusionary method,” like in a press release or a newswire. The SEC wants all investors to have access to the same information—a fair point, if you ask me—and admonishes that Netflix did not file an 8-K or issue a press release in conjunction with the CEO’s status update.

This speaks to a broader problem with life in 2012, outside the micro world of video streaming and company profits: there is a pervasive atmosphere of over-share, promulgated by Facebook and his cousin Twitter, and companies and CEOs need to know where the line is. Perhaps, in fact, we all do.

The ease of sharing on Facebook and Twitter coincides with an overall loss of privacy—which, granted, we all give up easily and without thought, completely ignoring the battle for personal privacy that courts have fought on our behalf for decades—and with no one reminding us when to curtail that sharing, we keep on hitting those “like” and “comment” buttons.

Netflix isn’t the first company to throw some stats up on Facebook, and it certainly won’t be the last. But companies need to not buy into the Facebook mythology that the social network has successfully concocted and spun into all of our brains. We don’t have to share our thoughts on daily happenings, our commentary on sports and politics and our families. We, surprisingly, do not have to post photos of every gathering we go to with our friends.

Facebook has done an incredulous job as a brand, getting us to believe we must log on to feed off its life-giving energy and survive our daily routine.

Regardless, we’ve gotten used to sharing and liking and tweeting our pants off. So what happens when Netflix gets sued for getting caught with its pants down?

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Sandy Recovery: Don’t Cut Taxes Now, Governor Christie

Check out my opinion piece on our NYU class’s online publication, Sandy Recovery. I discuss why it’s a bad idea for Governor Chris Christie to cut taxes in NJ at this critical junction.

Also, follow the publication on Twitter! @sandyrecovery12

Sandy Recovery

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Governor Christie should keep fiscally conservative policies in mind to help New Jersey rebuild.

By Sonya Chudgar

When Governor Chris Christie and budget officials in New Jersey sit down to assess Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the state budget, they should keep one point in mind: fiscal conservatism helped Louisiana beat Katrina.

This has little to do with politics. And it might sound contradictory at first.

You don’t need me to tell you that many New Jersey storefronts are still powerless, people homeless, employees jobless, denizens restless and communities faithless.

You might ask how financial conservatism will bring defunct businesses and shattered communities back to life.

Firstly, remember that conservatism does not necessarily mean moderation or opposition to change. It means calculation and deliberation. And if New Jersey follows the example set by Louisiana in 2006, conservatism will not tighten the reigns on the state…

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All the Election Day Coverage You Need

I’m super proud to introduce Election Day 2012, the NYU Business and Economic reporting class’s election day coverage. This online publication looks at several angles of today’s election, from small business and policy to Hurricane Sandy’s effects and unemployment.

As deputy editor of this publication, I was able to help my classmates by giving advice and feedback on their story pitches and edit the stories as they came in. My classmates were on the ground in all five boroughs of New York City, filing stories throughout the day. Their hard work paid off; the Election Day 2012 publication came out in terrific form, and has garnered more than 2,000 hits to date, including about 1,600 on the days surrounding Election Day.

When Your Credit Card Company Discriminates Against You

American Express announced Monday that it plans to reimburse $85 million to approximately 250,000 customers, according to the New York Times, for multiple violations. The company will also pay $27.5 million in fines to regulators.

The penalties come as a result of accusations, “that the company violated federal law in its marketing, billing and debt collection practices,” reports the NYT. A Business Insider article detailed how American Express was called out on multiple misbehaviors, including:

  • Age discrimination—the system intentionally disregarded applicants older than 35 for a period of time.
  • Violated the Credit CARD Act‘s rules on late fees by billing late fees based on a percentage of the debt owed
  • Failing to follow through on $300 promised to customers in the Blue Sky credit card program
  • Asking customers to overpay debt payments: “Consumers were wrongly told that if they paid off the old debt, the payment would be reported to credit bureaus and could improve their credit scores. In fact, American Express was not reporting the payments and the debts were so old that even if they had tried to report them, many of the payments would not have appeared on these consumers’ credit reports or affected their credit scores.”

Refunds to customers will materialize in March 2013.

What will be the fall out from this? Will American Express users switch to a new credit card company? What’s more, the $112.5 million fine seems rather lax. How much money do you think American Express scammed customers out of or didn’t cough up when it promised to?

With many banking institutions still feeling the heat from the public over the 2008 financial crisis (re: Occupy Wall Street), a credit card company denying customers their rights does not feel like the proper way for citizens to restore their faith in the country’s institutions or business leaders.