The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Facebook, Nvidia, Apple, Twitter and Alphabet

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – August 29, 2017 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Facebook (NASDAQ:  FB – Free Report ), Nvidia (NASDAQ:  NVDA – Free Report ), Apple (NASDAQ:  AAPL – Free Report ), Twitter (NYSE:  TWTR   – Free Report )and Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:  GOOGL – Free Report ).

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Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

If Silicon Valley Were ‘Game of Thrones’ Characters

Last night, the seventh-season finale of the Emmy-winning hit show Game of Thrones premiered on  HBO. “Game of Thrones,” which is based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels, has grown into one of the world’s most popular TV dramas, and the internet is buzzing after yet another dramatic episode.

As viewers continue to digest the latest twists, social media platforms and fan forums are rife with speculation, theories, and show-related memes. There will likely be a long layoff between last night’s finale and the eighth-and final-season’s debut, so you can expect this hypothesizing to continue for some time.

One of the most remarkable accomplishments of Games of Thrones , perhaps even more impressive than its 38 Primetime Emmy Awards, has been its ability to transcend television and consume our everyday lives. In our modern world built on technology and instant gratification, it’s worth noting that a slow-moving epic set in a Middle Ages-like world has taken over our pop culture conversations.

At this point, it’s safe to assume that even those who don’t watch the show could recognize its main characters and discuss its basic plotlines. That kind of popularity allows us to have a little fun today-hence the title you see above.

In an effort to connect the Game of Thrones universe with our world of investing and finance, we’ve decided to draw some comparisons between the show’s most important figures and our very-real Silicon Valley tech companies-the companies that represent some of the world’s most iconic brands.

WARNING: Spoilers Ahead !

For all of the Game of Thrones fans and investors out there, here’s our definitive guide to Silicon Valley tech giants, if they were Game of Thrones characters:

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB – Free Report ) – Jon Snow

Young, handsome, and outrageously popular, Jon Snow has been through quite a bit of hardship over the past seven seasons, including being betrayed by his followers and subsequently stabbed multiple times.

Facebook has hardly faced any challenges that are akin to being revived from the dead, but Mark Zuckerberg and company have proven to be consistent winners with a taste for greatness-just like Jon Snow. Even in their darkest hours, the North can trust Jon Snow’s leadership. Given its consistent penchant for growth and strong forward direction, it feels like tech-focused investors can trust Facebook too.

Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA – Free Report ) – Daenerys Targaryen

Impressive growth thus far. A future with the potential for even more growth. A cult-like following. An arsenal with a diverse lineup of weapons. It’s pretty obvious that the Mother of Dragons and Nvidia-an investor-favorite graphics chip maker with a strong foothold in gaming, autonomous cars, and AI-have plenty in common.

Even more interestingly, Nvidia is currently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Daenerys has assembled the largest (living) army in Westeros and commands two full-sized dragons-weaponry that has made her many people’s odds-on favorite to take the Iron Throne.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL – Free Report ) – Cersei Lannister

Love her or hate her, Cersei Lannister has emerged as one of the show’s most badass characters. A fierce ruler who will do anything to protect her family, Cersei has been in a primary position of power for the majority of the seven seasons-a level of dominance that is akin to Apple’s reign over the tech industry.

Of course, Cersei can be relatively cruel, and I am by no means suggesting that Apple is an evil company. However, one cannot deny the glaring similarity between Apple and Cersei, as their names alone strike fear in those who dare challenge them.

Twitter (NYSE: TWTR   – Free Report ) – Varys

Ok, time for a break from the seriousness. Varys, also known as the Master of Whisperers, is always clambering about what the “little birds” are telling him. The guy must spend a heck of a lot of time on Twitter.

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL – Free Report ) – Bran Stark/The Three-Eyed Raven

This one is also a pretty simple one. Bran Stark, who has recently transformed into the all-knowing Three-Eyed Raven, can see basically everything that has happened/is happening in the past and present.

Just ask any college student approaching the deadline for their research paper-they’ll say similar things about Google’s unending knowledge. On top of this, Alphabet’s other projects, such as YouTube and Waymo, underscore its diverse portfolio and further proove its “know-it-all” status.

Uber – The Night King

Perhaps I’m being a bit too harsh on Uber here. After all, I am comparing the ride-hailing giant to the show’s number one bad guy. But there’s actually quite a few solid comparisons to be made.

For one, the Night King’s raw power and destructive ability is certainly similar to Uber’s devastation of the traditional taxi industry. Also, the Night King and his White Walkers have assembled a massive army, making his strength similar to the horde of Uber drivers out on the roads. Finally, after its latest round of internal and public relations disasters, Uber has actually emerged as Silicon Valley’s villain this year.

So what do you think? Have we nailed this list, or do you totally disagree? Let me know on Twitter, @ Ryan_McQueeney !

Want more stock market analysis from this author? Make sure to follow @ Ryan_McQueeney on Twitter!

More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone!

It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 27 billion devices in just 3 years, creating a $1.7 trillion market.

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Strong Stocks that Should Be in the News

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Xbox One’s Twitter App Now Lets You See Your Timeline While Watching Videos

The Twitter app for Xbox One has received an update and the application now allows users to see their own timeline while watching videos. Apart from this, the app now supports 360-degree live videos as well and allows users to watch two live streams at the same time as well. Separately, Microsoft is now planning to ease up the banning system on Xbox Live.

First talking about the Twitter app for Xbox, earlier users could see the top comments about a particular video while watching it, with “Multi-timeline viewing” feature, users will be able to see their timeline as well as a wide range of commentary from a variety of accounts, as per the update log. Apart from this, users will now be able to see two live streams with picture-in-picture mode at the same time and have the option to toggle between the two.

With ‘Global live video selection’ feature, users can click at any place from the globe and get to see the live videos from that region with their app. Engadget points out in its report that the company has further added the option to stream 360-degree live videos to the app with latest update as well.

Finally coming to the Xbox Live banning system, Microsoft’s Xbox vice president Mike Ybarra has explained in a Battle.net forum post that the company will be changing the Xbox Live reputation system to improve user experience. In his post, Ybarra said that on the basis of the feedback from players from different multiplayer games, including competitive ones like Overwatch, the company is going to change the way reports affect players’ ability to join and play multiplayer games.

“In short, we’ll change it so that it will have no impact on a player’s ability to join and play multiplayer. It could still impact a reported player’s (this takes many reports over time, not just a few) ability to communicate with non-friends in multiplayer games, but it won’t prevent them from playing,” Ybarra said. The changes are expected to be made later this month.

Abandoned blogs, multiple Twitter accounts, and Facebook pages – Paula Writes

Okay, so first things first: the new blog – as, in this one. By the time that I got the thing set up – and I can barely remember now what the specific technical issues were – well, let’s just say that I lost some of the initial enthusiasm. The result has been – a lack of actual blog posts.

I moved from Blogger to WordPress, but even then, I set up a hosted site, rather than self-hosted. For now, I’m just going to go with it. I also know that it isn’t regarded as “professional” not to have your own domain, but I have to be confident that I’m going to stay with this site, before I can justify any sort of expenditure, especially on my very limited budget.

One question that people sometimes ask is why I have set up so many blogs, over the years – and why I abandon blogs and set up new ones, instead of simply staying with one, and shifting the focus somewhat. There is no clear answer to that, except that it’s so easy to start again, and I feel refreshed and set free from previous attempts. However, this time, I really do hope to settle in one place. I’m not going to make too many “rules” about what subjects to cover, at least not initially. If I’m posting at all, that will be progress, and I don’t want to create further obstacles for myself.

Right, now the issue of multiple Twitter accounts. My main and original Twitter account is at: twitter.com/paulapuddephatt, and this is the one that I currently use. My secondary page – twitter.com/writingpaula – was supposed to be a “writing only” page, which I didn’t “spam” with music posts and the like. The truth is that I try not to spam any of my social media pages with my favourite music videos, or anything else, nowadays. I try, and I think that I mostly succeed – and I still share music videos, in moderation, because it’s a part of who I am. It doesn’t really work for me to divide myself into different “parts” on Twitter, and I forget to update the second account. That said, some of the followers on there don’t follow my primary page, and to deactivate altogether feels drastic – so we’ll see. One additional reason why I set up the page was so that I could post to Twitter without posting to my Facebook profile page, but I removed the Twitter to Facebook connection, in any case, last year.

I had to take some time out from Facebook, for various personal reasons, and seriously considered leaving, but ultimately, stayed with it, and am finally making regular posts on my poetry page, Vibrant Darkness: facebook.com/paulapoems, with a little help from scheduling. I have just launched an author page on Facebook, too – facebook.com/paulaperceptions – where I hope to focus more upon the fiction side of writing.

I hope that this is clear. Thank you to everyone who has supported me in my journey, and who continue to do so. I deeply appreciate it.

 

Do you find yourself checking Facebook or surfing your Twitter feed several times a day (or every hour, or more)?  – Jsworld

Social media can keep you connected and relieve boredom — but it can also make you feel addicted, depressed, or distracted from other important things.

It’s a good idea to give some thought to how you use it and how it affects you. People also sometimes wonder: Could using social media harm my mental health?

Every day, 63 percent of Americans log into at least one social media site, often logging in multiple times a day, according to a recent Pew Research Centersurvey.

Part of what makes social media so appealing, says clinical psychologist Scott Bea, PsyD, is that it offers you positive reinforcement when other users “like,” comment on or share your posts, updates or photos.

While social media use does offer positive reinforcement, it has a dark side, too. So it’s important to acknowledge the downside and take steps to control it so that it doesn’t start to control you.

Here are five things to watch out for — ways in which social media can sometimes have a negative impact on people’s mental health.

1. Social media use can cause feelings of diminished self-worth

On social media, people tend to show off only the best parts or moments of their lives.

Dr. Bea says this tendency gives others an unrealistic view of what life is really like and makes some people feel that their life isn’t as good. Over time, the result of constantly comparing your life to some else’s can sometimes lead to diminished self-worth.

2. Social media can cause anxiety

The real-time nature of social media sites compels many users to check in on an ongoing basis — because they fear missing out on what others are posting or doing. Studies show that fear of missing out (FOMO) can sometimes increase feelings of dissatisfaction and anxiety.

“Checking behavior is designed to reduce anxiety, but it actually ends up driving it,” says Dr. Bea. “People check in to reassure themselves, but reassurance can be like a drug with a short half-life.”

3. Social media can make it harder to fall asleep

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh studied the social media habits of about 1,700 adults between the ages of 19 and 32. They found that those who used social media frequently were three times more likely than others to have trouble falling asleep.

According to Dr. Bea, a lack of sleep can cause many issues, including errors in judgment, anxiety, depression and diminished states of general health.

4. Using social media can bring out jealousy

When people post pictures of their nice vacations and possessions, it sometimes evokes feelings of envy or jealousy in others. These feelings, which can range from rage to humiliation, also sometimes lead to a decreased sense of self-worth.

Again, we may feel like our lives don’t measure up in comparison, but we forget that we’re only seeing the good things in other people’s lives — they are less likely to post about problems or bad news on social media.

5. Social media can glamorize bad behavior

Social media can sometimes glamorize the use of drugs, alcohol and reckless behavior, Dr. Bea says.

The risk here is highest for younger people because the pre-frontal cortex — the front part of the brain responsible for decision-making — isn’t fully developed until age 25, making those younger than 25 more likely enticed by bad behavior they see on their social media feeds.

Set limits, take breaks — or find another way to pass the time

If you are spending more time on social media sites than you like, think about how you can take control. Dr. Bea admits it can often be hard to break the cycle. He suggests putting yourself on a schedule of sorts. Try only checking in at specific time intervals and for only a specific amount of time each day.

“If you feel the negatives of social media use outweigh the positives or find that you can’t limit your use, stopping altogether may be best,” he says.

You can also try to reach out to friends and family and get together in person instead of online. Meet for lunch, take a walk together or just sit and chat — it can do wonders for your mental health.

Saw this post on twitter and felt I should share it to the world; because its true what effect Social Media has caused in our generation of I want to know what its all about.

Will love you guys to place your comments on this topic Social medi,  perhaps you are helping someone by doing that..  You can share personal stories on how you overcame it and have a specific time for leisure.. Once again good night guys 👬…  Love you all 

Facebook Watch is a threat to Twitter, not YouTube.

Facebook Watch
Watch, a new platform for shows on Facebook.

Facebook

This week, Facebook began rolling out a new hub for online video, called Watch. The feature, which will show up as a separate tab from the news feed in the Facebook app, will encourage users to subscribe to their favorite shows, see what their friends are watching, and find new shows that might match their interests.

The feature drew immediate comparisons to Google’s YouTube, and it does look awfully familiar. BuzzFeed’s Alex Kantrowitz described it as “more similar to YouTube than any other major video platform in existence today.” As with YouTube, there will be some shows produced professionally by corporate partners—including one live MLB game per week—but the company says the focus will be on videos uploaded by Facebook users. That makes it quite different from the likes of Netflix and fits Facebook’s self-conception as a platform rather than a media company.

Facebook’s video products already challenge YouTube in some respects. The news feed algorithm helps individual videos go viral on a scale that is harder for YouTube videos to achieve. While YouTube creators were irked early on by Facebook’s permissive attitude toward “freebooting,” the company has taken steps to address their concerns and even lure them away. Watch should make Facebook more viable as a destination for video, as opposed to just a place where people encounter video interspersed with news stories and updates from their friends.

Facebook’s video platform has at least one natural advantage over YouTube: the social network’s ability to connect you with friends and others who are watching the same thing. In a post announcing Watch, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote: “Watching a show doesn’t have to be passive. It can be a chance to share an experience and bring people together who care about the same things.” Banal as that sounds, he might well be right that the ability to see what your friends are watching, and to form social groups around certain shows, will be Watch’s main selling point.

Still, it’s hard to imagine Watch posing a serious threat to YouTube anytime soon. The history of social media teaches us that people generally spend most of their time in an app’s main feed, with relatively few taking the trouble to regularly toggle to different tabs. (Snapchat may be helping to change that, at least for younger users.) Getting people to think “Facebook” instead of “YouTube” when they want to watch videos will take a lot of work.

But there’s another company that should be very worried about Watch: Twitter. The company has struggled to compete for advertising money with Google and Facebook, because it can’t match the scale of either their audience or their data. It has also had a hard time finding ad formats that work well on its platform, where people are constantly scanning and scrolling.

Throughout its difficulties, one of Twitter’s few big selling points to advertisers has been its ability to connect them with people who are watching and discussing a specific show or video in real time . It has sought, in other words, to become the dominant “second screen” where people interact around what they’re watching on TV. Increasingly, it’s turning to live video—including professional sports broadcasts—to unify the second screen with the original content.

Viewed through this lens, Watch isn’t just a YouTube rival. It’s Facebook’s answer to Twitter’s big bet on the future. And while Facebook isn’t big enough to beat Google through sheer scale, it has already shown it can do just that to smaller rivals, including Twitter. Its live video platform, Facebook Live, was viewed by many as a shameless ripoff of Twitter’s Periscope when it launched. But it quickly gained traction, because Facebook simply has far more users, giving it a broader base of both video creators and viewers.

Facebook Watch may look a lot more like YouTube than it looks like Twitter. But when it comes to the competition for online advertising money, it represents a bigger blow to Twitter’s ambitions than it does to Google’s. Twitter helped to pioneer the follower model, the hashtag, real-time public chat, and live video—all of which Facebook has since copied. Now Facebook wants to usurp Twitter’s role as a hub for online socialization around video and TV. Its content today may be uploaded mostly by amateur users, but if the model works, it won’t hesitate to partner with more and more professional producers of video content.

For TV fans who use Facebook but not Twitter, that’s great news. For Twitter—not so much.

EU increases pressure on Facebook, Google and Twitter over user terms

By Julia Fioretti

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union authorities have increased pressure on Facebook, Google and Twitter to amend their user terms to bring them in line with EU law after proposals submitted by the tech giants were considered insufficient.

The European Commission and consumer protection authorities in the bloc wrote to the three companies in June, asking them to improve their proposed changes to user terms by the end of September, according to letters sent to the companies and seen by Reuters on Monday.

The authorities have the power to issue fines if the companies fail to comply.

Representatives of Facebook and Twitter did not respond immediately to emailed requests for comment and a Google spokesman declined to make immediate comment.

The authorities’ concerns center mainly on procedures the social media companies proposed to set up for the removal of illegal content on their websites, terms limiting their liability and terms allowing them unilaterally to remove content posted by users.

The U.S. trio were given until July 20 to submit new proposals, which need to be implemented by the end of September, the letters said.

A person familiar with the matter said that two of the companies had submitted amended proposals, while a third had asked for more time, declining to specify which one.

The companies had first proposed changes to their terms and conditions in March to assuage the regulators’ concerns in March. The sticking points were terms such as those that forced European consumers to seek redress in California, where the companies are based, instead of the consumer’s home country.

U.S. technology companies have faced tight scrutiny in Europe for the way they do business, from privacy issues to how quickly they remove illegal or threatening content.

The authorities and the Commission asked the companies to provide more detail on the timeframe and deadlines they would apply to dealing with notifications of content deemed illegal under consumer law, as well as dedicating a page or email address to notifications from consumer authorities.

In addition, the bodies are pressing for a procedure whereby consumers would be notified before their content is removed or given an opportunity to challenge it.

In the case of Alphabet’s Google unit, the concerns were about its social network Google+.

(Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Editing by David Goodman)

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Twitter Says It’s Punishing 10x More Trolls, Abusive Users

Twitter has spent the past several months stepping up its efforts to curb instances of online abuse and harassment on the social media service. On Thursday, the company released new internal data showing some of the progress it’s made in cutting down on some users’ bad behavior.

Twitter said it is “taking action” against 10 times more abusive accounts than it was at the same time last year, which means the company is levying account suspensions—or, limiting users’ ability to use the service—on “thousands more abusive accounts” per day. Twitter also said it has removed twice as many repeat offenders—users who create new accounts after receiving a suspension—over the past four months.

Perhaps more notable is that Twitter claims it is “driving change in behavior” among users who have been punished for abusive actions on the service in the past. The company said it’s seen a 25% dip in abuse reports for accounts that were previously disciplined, and 65% of users who have been disciplined do not repeat their abusive actions. Twitter added that its new quality filter—which allows users to mute certain keywords and filter out notifications from bot accounts—has led to the company seeing a 40% drop in the number of blocks issued by accounts that have received an “@mention” from accounts that don’t follow them.

“While there is still much work to be done, people are experiencing significantly less abuse on Twitter today than they were six months ago,” Ed Ho, Twitter’s consumer product and engineering general manager, wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

Over the past year, Twitter has debuted new features meant to reduce the prevalence of online vitriol on the social media service, including using an algorithm to detect abusive behavior before it is reported so that Twitter can reduce the visibility of such posts and take action against the perpetrators. That’s part of Twitter’s efforts to temporarily limit the functionality of offending users’ accounts, and the company says it also explains its reasoning to users who it disciplines in the hopes of preventing further harassment.

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Twitter has often boasted about its commitment to the principles of free speech, sometimes leading to criticism from those who felt the company was more interested in tolerating all forms of speech than in trying to ensure a harassment-free experience for its users.

The presence of harassment on Twitter especially came under the spotlight during last year’s presidential election, as political divides seem to have resulted in an uptick in vitriol and abuse on the service. There have even been calls for Twitter to ban the account of President Donald Trump, an avid Tweeter who has been accused of promoting violence and abuse with some of his posts on the site. (This week, Twitter told Recode that the company holds the president to the same standards as other users. Twitter’s vice president of Trust and Safety, Del Harvey, said: “The rules are the rules, we enforce them the same way for everybody.”)

Meanwhile, the ability to effectively police abusive behavior could prove essential to the company’s financial health, as Twitter needs to show regular, significant user growth in order to appease investors who are concerned that the company is lagging behind social media rivals like Facebook and Instagram. Twitter’s shares received a boost earlier this year when the company reported its biggest quarterly increase in monthly users since 2015, but the company needs to keep repeating that success, and maintaining a positive (and abuse-free) user experience is one piece of the puzzle (along with streaming video).

MPs to haul Twitter and Facebook chiefs in to explain their lack of action against trolls

WEB GIANTS FACE ROASTING

The news comes after The Sun revealed Twitter refused to investigate lies on its site against Tory MP Byron Davies that may have led to him losing his seat

TWITTER and Facebook chiefs will be ordered to face MPs to explain their lack of action against trolls who heaped abuse on election candidates.

Lord Bew, the independent peer appointed by the PM to investigate, will demand the social media giants set out in a parliamentary hearing how they will crack down on bullying and intimidation.

Twitter and Facebook chiefs will be ordered to face MPs to explain their lack of action against trolls who heaped abuse on election candidates

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Twitter and Facebook chiefs will be ordered to face MPs to explain their lack of action against trolls who heaped abuse on election candidates

It comes after The Sun revealed Twitter refused to investigate lies on its site against Tory MP Byron Davies that may have led to him losing his seat.

Prime Minister Theresa May will today lead a Commons debate on how to defeat abuse and intimidation of candidates.

She has admitted she was shocked by the number of Tory MPs who contacted her about intimidation during the election and has pledged firm action.

Lord Bew warned British politics is at a “dangerous moment” and said threats could deter people from running for office.

He said: “We have to talk to Facebook and Twitter. We have to explore every possible avenue and see if anything can be done.”

He added: “In most cases, political violence emerges from a context — and the context is of extremist language.”

Lord Bew, the independent peer appointed by the PM to investigate, will demand the social media giants set out in a parliamentary hearing how they will crack down on bullying and intimidation

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Lord Bew, the independent peer appointed by the PM to investigate, will demand the social media giants set out in a parliamentary hearing how they will crack down on bullying and intimidation

 


Labour MP Diane Abbott gets trolled on live TV