Facebook has recently been under fire for their “Sponsored Stories” feature, and the class-action lawsuit which was set to settle the matter 2 months ago has now been revised after a judge expressed his concern with the last deal made.
The new deal made with Facebook by the class-action attorneys penalizes the company for its wrongdoing, and redirects the funds to a noble cause. Facebook will be paying out up to $10 for each user who filed a complaint and found their face on one of Facebook’s “Sponsored Stories” listings. Most of the collected money will be pooled and given to charity – a much better deal than the original, which was set to pay ten million US dollars to attorneys and ten million to involved organizations.
The “Sponsored Stories” Issue Explained
The class-action lawsuit arose from Facebook’s “Sponsored Stories” feature- a feature which displays certain profiles as endorsers/sponsors of certain pages once they like the page. These sponsored stories were shown not only on Facebook feeds, but also on external websites which have Facebook pages; if you recently liked a page on Facebook there’s a good chance your face was displayed as a sponsor for that page. Attorneys argue that users were not given enough fore-warning that their “Likes” would be shared, and their inability to opt-out of the feature made it impermissible.
In response to the class-action lawsuit Facebook has agreed to give adult profiles the ability to control how their profile pictures are used by the company. They don’t however give adults the option to completely opt-out of the feature; only children will be given the option to completely opt-out.
BP (British Petroleum), one of the largest global oil-producers, has announced today their intention to sell yet another US asset – their Texas City refinery. The deal consists of $600 million in up-front cash, $1.2 billion to cover the costs of the refinery’s inventory, and up to an additional $700 million, pending future performance by the refinery.
BP has been slowly selling its U.S. assets since the 2010 oil spill, which caused close to $21 billion in liabilities for the company. BP had set to raise $38 billion to cover the costs of the spill. The sales of both their Gulf of Mexico assets (sold in August for $5.6 billion) and Texas City assets have helped tremendously in meeting the capital goals set out in 2010 – in total it has raised $35 billion since 2010, just shy of their $38 billion goal.
The Buyer – Marathon Petroleum
Alongside their purchase of BP’s Texas City refinery, Marathon Petroleum has been heavily investing in US assets buying several natural gas pipelines as well as a number of marketing terminals in the last year. Pending the performance of its recent acquisitions the company could very possibly emerge as a big-time player in the U.S. oil industry in the next coming years.
What’s Next for BP?
The oil giant has continuously stated their dedication to US Oil. BP’s global refining and marketing chief Lain Conn commented saying the recent sales of their Texas City and Gulf of Mexico assets were a consolidation effort to further focus on and improve their remaining 3 refineries.
More Eurozone Turmoil – Spanish Banks On the Brink of Failure
The global recession of 2008 has shown little mercy, plunging all of Europe into one of the worst financial crises to date. Continuing well into 2012 the crisis in Europe has claimed yet another victim – Spain. A recent audit of Spanish banks has revealed the severity of the fiscal problems Spain is facing. The report announced Spanish banks would require nearly 60bn Euros to continue operating – as if the 100 Euro bailout requested by Spain some three months ago wasn’t enough.
The news of Spain’s worsening financial situation comes as little surprise, and is one of many expected failures in the Eurozone. Beginning in December of 2011 the European Banking Authority (EBA) began raising capital to cushion the economic blow of banking crises, and has been able to raise 114.7bn Euros since then – most of the money aiding Spanish banks is expected to come from the ECB (European Central Bank). Admittedly the audit reported a worst-case scenario; Spanish banks are expected to raise capital through their own means, although options are limited due to low demand by investors, caused by the deteriorating Spanish economy.
Additionally, in an effort to quickly quell the worsening turmoil in the Eurozone the European Banking Authority has begun implementation of new regulations, which will require banks to maintain enough capital “to be able to absorb unexpected losses and to support a smooth convergence,” a big step in the right direction, minimizing risk and future bank failures.
The Spanish government sees the future loans as a huge step forward in establishing trust and confidence in the country’s banking sector – which does hold some truth. However, taking into account Spain’s frightening 25% unemployment (which is expected to rise as high as 27%) and dwindling tax revenues the future doesn’t look all that bright, and a future bailout for Spain would come as no surprise.
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