[PHOTO - Mark Zuckerberg. FILE PHOTO]

SAN FRANCISCO, SEPTEMBER 12, 2012 (INQUIRER) Associated Press - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t enjoyed seeing his company’s stock get pummeled on Wall Street this summer, but he is relishing the opportunity to prove his critics wrong.

“I would rather be in a cycle where people underestimate us because I’d rather be underestimated,” Zuckerberg said Tuesday. “I think it gives us the latitude to go out and make some big bets.”

Zuckerberg, 28, made his remarks before a standing-room-only audience at a tech conference in San Francisco in his first interview since Facebook Inc.’s rocky initial public offering in May.

The social networking leader’s stock has lost nearly half its value since the IPO. More than $50 billion has been lopped off Facebook’s market value as the company’s shares have fallen from $38 to Tuesday’s closing price of $19.43.

No one has lost as much as Zuckerberg, who has seen the value of his Facebook holdings fall about more than $9 billion. That while hearing more skeptics second-guess his ability to lead the company that he founded eight years ago in his Harvard University dorm room.

Since speaking during Facebook’s first earnings conference call as a public company nearly seven weeks ago, Zuckerberg has remained largely out of the spotlight.

Wearing a gray T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, Zuckerberg looked at ease through his half-hour appearance. He smiled frequently and even chuckled a few times before a San Francisco audience composed largely of fellow geeks who, like him, tend to enjoy talking about computer coding and building cool products instead of discussing revenue growth and business strategies.

Yet Zuckerberg clearly was aiming many of his remarks at investors. He emphasized that Facebook cared about making money as well as pursuing his mission to make the world a “more open and connected place.” He also repeated his belief that the company would figure out numerous ways to profit from the growing number of its 955 million worldwide users who visit is online hangout through mobile applications instead of Web browsers on desktop computers.

Zuckerberg said the performance of Facebook’s stock “has obviously been disappointing,” but he said it’s a great time to “double down” on the company’s future.

“I think it is really easy to for folks to underestimate how really fundamentally good mobile is for us,” Zuckerberg told his interviewer, former blogger turned venture capitalist Michal Arrington, at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference.

Zuckerberg shouldered some of the blame for the misperceptions about Facebook’s mobile prospects, saying he made a mistake by initially relying on a computer coding called HTML 5 so the company’s applications could run on a multitude of different mobile operating systems without making a lot of changes. That resulted in sub-par experiences for many users, Zuckerberg acknowledged, prompting Facebook to use more customization tools to account for the differences in the software that run different devices such as the iPhone and Android phones.

Some investors evidently liked what Zuckerberg had to say. Facebook shares gained 66 cents, or 3.4 percent in Tuesday’s extended trading after he took the stage.

The ubiquity of smartphones has created problems for Facebook and other advertising-dependent Internet companies because the smaller screens on those devices have less space to show commercial messages around the main content.

One way Facebook will address that challenge is by inserting more ads into the mobile news feeds that highlight status updates and photos shared by users’ friends and families, according to Zuckerberg. He once again tried to shoot down recurring speculation that Facebook is developing its own smartphone like Apple and Google Inc.

“It is so clearly the wrong strategy for us,” Zuckerberg said. “It doesn’t move the needle for us.”

But that doesn’t mean Zuckerberg doesn’t appreciate the power and allure of a sleek smartphone. He said he even used one to write a lengthy manifesto about his vision for Facebook that was included in the company’s IPO documents.

Zuckerberg indicated Facebook is likely to intensify its rivalry with Google Inc. by developing more ways to search on its website. As it is, Facebook already processes about 1 billion search requests a day, Zuckerberg said, “and we basically are not even trying.”

That laid-back attitude toward search will eventually change, Zuckerberg said, although he wouldn’t provide specifics. A more robust search engine “would be one obvious, interesting thing for us to do in the future,” he said.

Google is already trying to maintain its dominance of its Internet search engine with an alternative social network called Plus that it launched last year largely to gain more insights about its users’ preferences.

Zuckerberg has signaled his faith in Facebook’s stock by pledging not to sell any of his more than 503 million shares for at least another year, even as some of the company’s early investors and employees reduce their holdings.

Tuesday gave him an opportunity to deliver a reminder that Facebook has overcome past adversity when changes to its website’s design and privacy policies provoked strident objections from users who threatened to abandon the social network. Facebook overcame those protests to keep on growing.

“Facebook has not been an uncontroversial company,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s not like this is the first up and down we have ever had.”

Banking in the age of Facebook, social media By Doris C. Dumlao Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—With over 27 million Filipinos hooked to the world’s largest social networking platform Facebook, could this be an effective channel to promote financial literacy?

Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands thinks so and has thus grabbed an opportunity to reach out to people who may otherwise be intimated to go to a physical branch to discuss concerns about savings, investments or borrowing.

Southeast Asia’s oldest bank handpicked a few of its FB-savvy bankers aged between 25 and 52 from various departments to form a social networking team to answer queries and provide online financial advice. They are not nameless faces but are real BPI bankers tasked to interact with Facebook users, even if they are not existing BPI clients.

Thus was launched the BPI Bankers Online app, envisioned to lead more Filipinos—especially the young people who are typically upstart savers and investors—to financial wellness.

“With the bank’s 161 years of serving the Filipinos, BPI remains true to its commitment to keep up with the changing needs of our clients. We’ve made banking transactions easy through our 24/7 banking and now we go beyond the transactions to make it easy for customers to understand and have a meaningful connection with us as their bank,” says BPI senior vice president and integrated marketing head Marie Josephine Ocampo.


INSIDE TRACK: BPI launches Bankers Online Facebook app

The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has launched its newest game-changing innovation called BPI Bankers Online, an app that promises to make getting financial advice easier for Filipino Facebook users.

BPI seeks to help improve financial literacy in the country by reaching out to the more than 27 million Filipinos on Facebook.

The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has launched its newest game-changing innovation called BPI Bankers Online, an app that promises to make getting financial advice easier for Filipino Facebook users. BPI seeks to help improve financial literacy in the country by reaching out
to the more than 27 million Filipinos on

[PHOTO -The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has launched its newest innovation called BPI Bankers Online, an app that promises to make getting financial advice easier for Filipino Facebook users. Photo shows (from left) Donald Patrick Lim, managing director of MRM Worldwide; Carmencita Gozar, BPI VP and Brand BPI division head; Virginia Brocka, Brand BPI digital marketing head; Josephine Ocampo, BPI SVP and chief marketing officer; and RJ Ledesma. FROM PHILSTAR]

Although already one of the country’s largest banks with the widest retail customer base of 5.4 million, Ocampo says that many of these are “single-product” clients or those whose banking knowhow is limited to deposit placement.

“There’s really room to deepen their appreciation for planning for their future,” Ocampo says.

The potential for widening client base via FB is also exponential as the online interactions are seen leading to the acquisition of new bank clients as no money transactions will go through FB. Sooner or later, the clients will have to go to a branch.

“We have seen that the use of social media has become an integral part of Filipinos’ everyday lives; we are in fact among the top users in the world. Launching this app, we envision that BPI Bankers Online will democratize expert financial advice and lead Filipinos to financial wellness with BPI as their adviser and partner. We have made ourselves available to Facebook, not just to listen but also to give advice to help you reach your financial goals,” says Carmencita Gozar, BPI vice president and brand BPI division head.

By taking this route, Gozar says BPI has developed a channel that’s neither bound by time nor physical limitations, unlike traditional marketing activities.

“They are coming from different parts of the bank, giving them well-rounded experience to be able to answer anybody’s question. They are dedicated: they are at home sometimes and they answer questions,” she says.

The app and these BPI advisers behind the app aim to promulgate wise money management, responsible borrowing, growing wealth and other financial concerns. In activating the app, a user will be asked to choose a banker with whom to begin a conversation. Initiating a conversation is as easy as clicking the picture of the chosen banker. The FB user can also seek an alternative opinion from another banker or set up a branch appointment.

“These are all-around advisers. We have different bankers because sometimes I can relate better to someone my age or maybe I can relate to a woman, maybe a mother,“ says Brand BPI digital marketing head Virginia Brocka.

The bankers featured in BPI’s Bankers Online App thus have their real photo and a summary of their interests and suggested topic of conversation.

The eight bankers are:

· Eunice, described as a “gadget junkie,” is an expert on money management;

· Jagr, is a “passionate pianist and conductor” and described as a “great listener and financial adviser;”

· Brian, a bowling enthusiast, is the one to talk to for solutions for borrowing needs;

· Kenneth, described as a “smart adventurer,” can act not just as a tourist guide but an adviser on building savings;

· Bess, a photoblogger, is an adviser for Pinoys abroad;

· Patrick, a football and marketing enthusiast, is the expert on banking online;

· Sherry, a “foodie,” can talk about how to build one’s nest back home; and,

Donna, a painter, is the banker for Filipinos in Europe.

Donna is actually based in BPI’s London branch and is thus accessible in European time zone. Bess and Cherry attend to the needs of Pinoys abroad but are based here so they can talk to both the overseas Pinoys and their local beneficiaries, such as on remittance matters or how to start investments.

App users must take note, however, that BPI discourages people from posting their account numbers online for security reasons. They are asked to give contact number and BPI conducts a verification but it’s a no-no to reveal account numbers online.

Donald Patrick Lim, managing director of MRM Worldwide, which is the digital and relationship marketing arm of the global advertising giant McCann Worldgroup, says BPI’s Bankers Online app is “one of the few FB apps that talks to its customers.” It’s something to be proud of that a Filipino brand is leading the way, Lim says.

But what if the volume of engagements grows by leaps and bounds and too heavy for these eight pioneering online bankers to handle?

As these online bankers have other existing tasks, Ocampo says setting up a full-time dedicated team is an option.

“The whole bank is one in really engaging the clients in whatever channel they choose,” she says.

“I think the essence of this whole activity is being connected to you. Now it’s FB but maybe 10 years for now, it will be another,” Brocka says.

Whatever medium is there, BPI will be there, she adds.

Facebook cracks down on insincere ‘Likes’ 2:57 pm | Saturday, September

SAN FRANCISCO—Facebook ramped up efforts Friday to get rid of “Likes” that aren’t from people genuinely interested in giving a virtual thumbs up to pages at the world’s leading social network.

“We have recently increased our automated efforts to remove Likes on pages that may have been gained by means that violate our Facebook terms” of service, the Facebook security team said in a blog post.

“These newly improved automated efforts will remove those Likes gained by malware, compromised accounts, deceived users or purchased bulk Likes.”

Facebook has long given members the ability to endorse pages at the social network by clicking on “Like” icons.

High numbers of Likes can give “fan count” status to pages, particularly those dedicated to brands.

“A Like that doesn’t come from someone truly interested in connecting with a page benefits no one,” Facebook said.

“This improvement will allow pages to produce ever more relevant and interesting content, and brands will see an increase in the true engagement around their content.”

Facebook expected that less than one percent of the fan count on any given page would be trimmed as a result of the crackdown on “suspicious Likes.”

Zuckerberg says no Facebook phone coming Agence France-Presse 7:07 am | Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO—Facebook is not building its own mobile phone, despite some reports to the contrary, company founder Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday.

“The phone just doesn’t make any sense,” Zuckerberg said in an interview at a San Francisco technology conference, brushing aside some reports from earlier this year.

Zuckerberg appeared at the TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2012 conference, in his first public interview since the massive public offering on May 18 that was hotly anticipated but ended up being a flop.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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