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FAANG Report: Facebook accused of misleading brands; Google to charge fees in Europe

Netflix criticizes EU over content requirements; Apple running after 'scammy' apps; Amazon hiring data scientist for benefits department
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Facebook sued for its ad metrics

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) was accused of misleading brands by overestimating the amount of time people spent watching videos on the platform, a report by The Verge said.

Some small advertisers had sued the platform over the skewed figures and the plaintiffs this week said in a new filing that they had uncovered evidence showing Facebook knew about the miscalculated metrics all the way back in January 2015.

“Facebook’s internal efforts behind the scenes reflect a company mentality of reckless indifference toward the accuracy of its metrics,” the filing read.

A Facebook official said it was "false" to suggest the company tried to hide the issues from advertisers.

Facebook stock was off 0.13% to $158.57 in early trade on Wednesday.

READ: Netflix plans to spend US$1bln to bolster content production in Europe, FT says

Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) criticized the European Union over a content quota for streaming services, a report by The Verge said.

Netflix, which reported standout results on Tuesday, acknowledged that catering to a specific audience encouraged more regional original programming for international audiences, but suggested that enforcing quotas on a streaming service could have unwanted negative effects.

“We’d prefer to focus on making our service great for our members, which would include producing local content, rather than on satisfying quotas, but we anticipate that a regional content quota which approximates the region’s share of our global membership will only marginally reduce member satisfaction,” the report reads.

“Nonetheless, quotas, regardless of market size, can negatively impact both the customer experience and creativity. We believe a more effective way for a country to support strong local content is to directly incentivize local content creators, independent of distribution channel.”

Netflix shares were up 6.5% to $368.95.

Alphabet Inc's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has announced that smartphone manufacturers will no longer have free access to popular apps on Android, a report by the Independent said. 

The licensing fee charge for the Play Store and other Google apps follows a $5 billion fine dealt to the search giant by the European Commission for antitrust violations this year.

Android phones and tablets have all come pre-installed with Google's search engine and Chrome browser, a move that European lawmakers deemed illegal. Starting on October 29, all new Android devices launched in Europe will be subject to the new licensing charges, the report said.

Google shares fell 1.29% to $1,106.85.

READ: UK's High Court blocks suit against Google for collecting data from millions of iPhone users

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) is seemingly cracking down on so-called 'scammy' apps after several reports of questioning pricing tactics that dupe users into expensive subscriptions, a report by Apple Insider said.

Unscrupulous app makers are using a "dark pattern," intentionally deceptive user interface elements, and other strategies designed to confuse or trick customers into starting convertible trial subscriptions.

The methods appear effective, as some "scammy" apps hover in the upper echelons of Apple's Top Grossing apps list despite offering limited, or in some cases duplicative, utility, the report said.

Apple shares shed 0.9% to $220.16.

The health benefits department of Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) is looking to add a data scientist to study why health care costs keep rising while employees are not getting healthier, a report by CNBC said.

It's still uncommon to hire technologists and data scientists into the benefits departments of companies. But that's starting to change, with companies such as Amazon leading the charge.

Worker health-care costs have continued to escalate in recent years, but health outcomes aren't improving. Data scientists could dig into the numbers and figure out what's going wrong, the report said.

Amazon stock slipped 0.08%  to $1,181.50.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on [email protected]

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