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Facebook removes accounts spreading military propaganda in Myanmar

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Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg

Matt McClain | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook said it removed numerous pages and accounts linked to the Myanmar military that were being used to spread propaganda to approximately 1.35 million people, the company’s latest effort to crack down on the spread of misinformation across its network.

“We want to make it more difficult for people to manipulate our platform in Myanmar and will continue to investigate and take action on this behavior,” Facebook said in a blog post on Monday. The company said it removed 13 pages and 10 accounts that were “engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook in Myanmar.”

Facebook has been plagued by abusive activity over the last couple of years, as groups exploit the social network to spread propaganda, abusive content and false information, often in an effort to influence elections or stir up hate between different cultural groups.

In Myanmar, Facebook was used as part of a campaign that targeted the country’s Muslim Rohingya minority group, according to a report Monday by the New York Times, which cites unnamed “former military officials, researchers and civilian officials in the country.” The campaign included the creation of Facebook accounts and entertainment, beauty and informational pages that were used to push incendiary comments and posts.

Facebook announced in August that it wanted to prevent organizations and individuals in Myanmar from using its services to commit or enable serious human rights abuses in the country. At the time, the company said it was removing 18 Facebook accounts, 52 pages and one Instagram account that reached nearly 12 million people.

Beyond Myanmar, the company has been busy removing pages and accounts that abuse its community guidelines and policies. Last week, for example, Facebook said it had taken down 559 pages and 251 accounts that were being used to spam users with clickbait posts.

WATCH: Facebook says security breach affected 30 million accounts



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Global stock market sell-off not an isolated event

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A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the United States, Dec. 4, 2018. 

Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the United States, Dec. 4, 2018. 

The latest wave of heavy selling in financial markets is a clear sign of things to come, according to a new report from the world’s oldest international financial organization.

The Bank of International Settlements (BIS), an umbrella group for the world’s central banks, warned on Sunday that a normalization of monetary policy is likely to trigger a flurry of sharp sell-offs over the coming months.

“The market tensions we saw during this quarter were not an isolated event,” Claudio Borio, head of the monetary and economic department at the BIS, said in the report.

“Monetary policy normalization was bound to be challenging, especially in light of trade tensions and political uncertainty,” Borio added.



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Fed is missing critical inflation trend, economic forecaster worries

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A veteran economic forecaster is worried the Federal Reserve and Wall Street are looking at inflation all wrong.

According to Economic Cycle Research Institute co-founder Lakshman Achuthan, they’re largely missing a critical economic trend that shows inflation is in a downturn.

“Inflation is cyclical, and I don’t think everybody really understands that — in particular, the Fed and a lot of market participants,” he said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” “They’re looking at the level of inflation, and it’s generally up there around near target. But what’s really important is the direction.”

Achuthan highlighted a chart as evidence the inflation cycle is rolling over. He believes it could have market-moving consequences because it could affect the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy.

“This is just a couple years of inflation cycles here,” he said. “We have PPI growth now and CPI growth both sitting at around 10 and 11 month lows. It’s not simply about oil. The peak in these things happened back in July.”

Achuthan, a self-proclaimed former super bull, has been bearish this year. On “Trading Nation” last April, he turned sour on economic growth because leading indicators were pointing to a slowdown that was picking up momentum.

For Achuthan to become bullish again, he said two things need to happen: The Fed must become more aware of the inflation downturn and leading growth indicators must turn up. The Fed meets on Tuesday and Wednesday to decide whether to raise rates for the fourth time this year.

“With inflation ticking lower, they should consider stopping. But fixated on a 49-year low in the jobless rate and a 9 ½-year high in wage growth, it’s not clear that they will stop just yet,” Achuthan told CNBC by email.



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Harvard professor Roland Fryer faces reports of sexual harassment

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Harvard University professor Roland Fryer speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Sept. 25, 2008.

Ramin Talaie | Corbis Historical | Getty Images

Harvard University professor Roland Fryer speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Sept. 25, 2008.

A prominent Harvard University economics professor is being investigated for sexual harassment, according to a new report.

Roland G. Fryer Jr., a 2011 MacArthur “Genius” fellowship recipient, is the one of the latest powerful men to get flagged amid the #MeToo movement, which took hold last year. More than 200 men have lost their jobs or major roles as a result, the New York Times said in October.

A Harvard investigator found that Fryer was involved in “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” with four women who worked at Fryer’s research lab, the New York Times reported on Friday. The investigator learned that one person who made an accusation about Fryer took disability leave in response to Fryer’s behavior, according to the report.

Allegations about Fryer came to light earlier this year but Friday’s New York Times article provides new details.

One woman who worked in the lab reportedly said that Fryer regularly made inappropriate comments about women, but that his reputation for being vindictive made it difficult for people to speak up. And two women told the investigator they disapproved of how Fryer had put his crotch in the face of a woman at the lab by placing his foot on her desk, the article said.

Read the full article here.



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