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After Zuckerberg’s Congress hearing, Facebook awaits further scrutiny

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Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., listens during a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 10, 2018.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., listens during a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 10, 2018.

Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg spent two days this week facing scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers, but the social network he helped create isn’t in the clear just yet.

The firm’s billionaire co-founder told lawmakers at the two-day Congress hearing of how his own data had been compromised as a result of the data scandal haunting the company. He said the company failed to notify the Federal Trade Commission about the leak of users’ data to controversial political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica.

Now Facebook faces further scrutiny in Europe.

Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfner is due to appear before U.K. lawmakers later this month to address the ongoing data scandal enshrouding the company. Stepping in for the firm’s CEO, Schroepfner will face questions from the U.K. Digital, Media, Culture and Sport select committee, chaired by Damian Collins, on April 26.

British lawmakers still want to hear from the Facebook boss, however. After Zuckerberg declined an invitation to appear before British lawmakers, Collins, a parliamentarian from Britain’s governing Conservative Party, sent Facebook a letter insisting that Zuckerberg give evidence before the committee.

Facebook has admitted that the data of 87 million users’ profiles — even Zuckerberg’s — may have been shared without their permission to controversial political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. The social network has been letting users know whether their data was compromised since Monday.

“People will seek to clarify the converging testimonies, especially on the more technical aspects where he (Zuckerberg) was obscuring and giving evasive answers,” Paul-Olivier Dehaye, co-founder of PersonalData.IO, told CNBC in a phone interview.

Some commentators have said that U.S. politicians did not ask difficult enough questions to the Facebook CEO. That is something that could change when Schroepfner gives evidence, Dehaye said.



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Where are you expecting from corporate results?

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on July 12, 2018 in New York City.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images 

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on July 12, 2018 in New York City.

All eyes will be on corporate earnings this week as earnings season shifts into high gear.

Netflix is among the corporates that will lead the week’s earnings announcements, with the streaming giant slated to report on Monday after the market close. Also on the earnings calendar for the week are a slew of major banking and technology names, including Goldman Sachs, IBM and Microsoft.

All told, around 60 S&P 500 companies are due to report results this week.

Bank stocks declined on Friday after several large banks reported a set of mixed earnings for the second quarter: J.P. Morgan beat on both the top and bottom line while Citigroup topped profit forecasts, but missed on the revenue front.

On the whole, however, earnings growth in the second quarter is expected to come in at 20 percent, according to a FactSet poll.

All of that also comes against the backdrop of elevated trade tensions between the U.S. and China, with U.S. tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese products having taken effect earlier this month. Chinese tariffs on the same amount of U.S. goods are also currently in place.



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At Uber, New Questions Arise About Executive Behavior

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A number of Uber employees have allegedly filed complaints against Uber's chief operating officer, Barney Harford, for insensitive comments regarding women and minorities.

Vipin Kumar | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

A number of Uber employees have allegedly filed complaints against Uber’s chief operating officer, Barney Harford, for insensitive comments regarding women and minorities.

On a conference call this spring with colleagues, Mr. Harford, the company’s chief operating officer, critiqued a new ad that showed a mixed-race couple, said five people familiar with the conversation. He debated aloud how common the pairing was among the audiences that would see it. He also said he found parts of the ad’s early cut confusing, mixing up two black women in the video because they had similar hairstyles, said the people, who declined to be identified because they have signed nondisclosure agreements.

Though Mr. Harford later told colleagues that he regretted his phrasing, his comments struck many on the call as insensitive about race. They said it was part of a pattern by Mr. Harford in which he talked about women or minorities.

They said Uber employees had since filed several informal and formal complaints to the human resources department, the head of diversity and other top executives about Mr. Harford’s behavior. Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive, was also notified and has addressed the matter directly with Mr. Harford, two Uber employees said.

The conduct is surfacing as Uber has been trying to turn itself around after a tumultuous 2017. The company was rocked last year by accusations of gender discrimination and harassment in its workplace, as well as other issues, ultimately leading to the ouster of the chief executive at the time, Travis Kalanick. After Mr. Khosrowshahi replaced him last fall, Uber pledged to follow a philosophy of being kinder and gentler and to reform itself.

Mr. Harford’s behavior shows how new workplace problems continue to crop up at Uber amid scrutiny of whether its corporate culture is changing. While Mr. Khosrowshahi has made many adjustments to the company in recent months and employees have said Uber has stabilized, internal issues — particularly around diversity — persist.

Mr. Harford, 46, who has been meeting more frequently with Uber’s chief diversity officer, has committed to Mr. Khosrowshahi that he will improve his “blind spots” and undergo coaching, Uber executives said.



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Fed’s Powell says economy is in ‘good place’ but tariffs could change that

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Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, speaks during a news conference following a Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, speaks during a news conference following a Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the economy is “in a good place,” but that an escalation in tariffs between the United States and trading partners could affect that success.

“I think, frankly the United States economy is in a good place from a cyclical standpoint close to our maximum employment and stable prices target,” Powell told Marketplace in an interview published Thursday.

The U.S. economy added 213,000 jobs during the month of June, according to the government’s latest employment report that published Friday. While the strong payroll numbers beat expectations and hinted at continued tightness in the labor market, wage gains across the country remain comparatively sluggish.

The Fed Chairman’s comments also came as the U.S. seeks to ramp up pressure on China to address a prolonged trade deficit and intellectual property abuses, a phenomenon some have worried could hamper domestic or global economic growth.

The Trump administration on Tuesday released a list of 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, making good on the president’s recent threats to escalate a broadening trade war with Beijing.

“The administration says that what it’s trying to achieve is lower tariffs. So if it works out that way, then that’ll be a good thing for our economy,” he added. “If it works out other ways, so that we wind up having high tariffs on a lot of products and a lot of traded goods and services, let’s say, and that they become sustained for a long period of time, then yes, that could be be a negative for our economy.”



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