How does one control speech in the public forum without encroaching upon fundamental freedoms?
“On Social Media, a Battle Is Brewing Between Bots and Trolls,” The Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2018 B7. Blocking some speech and some speakers would be bad if the government did it. But is it better if private companies do it, especially when they have pervasive power over the communications streams currently in use?
There’s battle brewing, indeed. Are the Facebooks and Googles of the world mere utilities getting paid solely for carrying content from all comers, with no power (or financial interest?) over the content they carry, or are they publishers with some accountability? If the technology tools they use to screen out the “bad” stuff (terrorists, for example) also screen out unpopular (to someone) speech, who pays damages?
If a company is quasi-governmental, shouldn’t it be subject to quasi-constitutional limitations?
This seems to me to be Governance, Compliance, and Information.
Filed under Access, Accuracy, Communications, Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Data quality, Duty, Governance, Government, Internal controls, Third parties
“Read This Extremely Important, Totally Incomprehensible, Completely Convoluted Information About Your Broker!” The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2018 B1. Confusion over required SEC disclosures.
A four-page summary. But will people read it? Will most people read more than 4 bullet points? Unless, of course, there’s a prize.
What value is disclosure if it is in language that the average person won’t read or won’t understand if he/she does?
Governance or Information? And a pinch of Compliance?
Filed under Accuracy, Communications, Controls, Corporation, Data quality, Duty, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Investor relations, Third parties, Value
“Vanguard Messes Up Messages To Clients,” The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2018 B10. Money manager with over $5 trillion in assets under management sends text messages to clients that the money manager had processed loans against their 401(k) accounts. But the customers hadn’t requested the loans.
Imagine the customer reaction.
How important is it to get your client communications right the first time? Are you in the trust business? Is claiming a “systems issue” enough?
Filed under Accuracy, Communications, Controls, Corporation, Data quality, Duty, Duty of Care, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Investor relations
Sometimes, I select stories just for the headline I can write over it.
“Temple Is Probed Over Online MBA Marketing,” The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2018 B5. University accused of deceptive marketing to prospective MBA students.
What is the lesson here? School may have tweaked some test data to improve the school’s ranking. Did non-students learn more than students?
Dean lost his job. The school’s reputation takes a hit. US News & World Report it told the school can’t verify its information. Maybe the ex-Dean can be the subject of a case study in the Ethics curriculum. Or a Compliance course, if the school has one.
Filed under Accuracy, Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Culture, Data quality, Duty, Employees, Governance, Information, Internal controls, To report
“Theranos Settle Investor Suit As Firm Runs Low on Funds,” The Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2018 B3. Investors alleged Theranos had defrauded them by making false statements about the company’s technology.
This joins the long (and growing) list of people suing for harm caused by this company. Are the directors in the dock? The CEO and former president are.
False statements are information, in a sense. The is the kind of basic, bog standard stock fraud that led to the creation of the SEC.
Who’s going to get the last drop of blood out of this stone?
Filed under Board, Communications, Compliance, Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Culture, Data quality, Definition, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Employees, Governance, Inform shareholders, Information, Internal controls, Investor relations, Oversight, Oversight, Protect information assets
“FCC Proposes Revamp Of Online Documents,” The Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2018 A3. Proposed revision to process for receiving public comments after fake comments filed in the net neutrality discussion.
How does the government restrict our ability to lie to the government where the payment of money or the issuance of a license is not at issue? Is filing comments under someone else’s name not protected speech? Or is it fraud? Yes it’s false, but is it fraud, if all you’re trying to do is sway a regulator’s position? Is this the same as falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater?
I’m not in favor of submitting comments under a false name or names. But can the government protect this when people are attempting to petition their elected representatives?
I file this as a restriction on the ability of government to govern all behavior (therefore Governance) and under Information (does it matter that it’s fake?). Maybe Compliance, seeing as the Constitution applies.
“Blockchain Helps Track Web Ads,” The Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2018 B4. Technology used to determine whether “views” are by humans or bots, and where the advertising dollars are going.
How do you track how much of your sales price you actually receive? For online ad publishers, Blockchain may help. Also helps the advertisers.
More information is good. Accurate information, even gooder.