Facebook to allow lawsuits against it to be filed in plaintiffs’ own countries
Facebook told Israel’s Supreme Court last week that from the middle of July Israelis and other non-Americans would be able to file lawsuits against the company in their home countries rather than in the United States as its terms-of-use policy has so far required. The change is believed to be part of efforts to improve the company’s image as it copes with criticism of its privacy and other policies. Facebook is fighting a class action suit filed in 2016 by Israeli attorneys Amit Manor and Yuki Shemesh; the suit alleges that the company employed users’ personal posts for commercial purposes, thus violating their privacy rights. The company asked the courts to throw out the suit, but Judge Shohana Stermer of the Central District Court allowed it to proceed, and Facebook appealed to the Supreme Court. Last week Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit relayed an opinion to the court taking the same view regarding a class action suit by Israelis against Hotels.com. (Gur Megiddo)
Hapoalim backs fintech startup Lendbuzz
Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s biggest lender, is one of three groups that have invested $30 million in debt and equity in Lendbuzz, the Boston-based fintech startup said on Tuesday. The others are Israel-based Valeo Credit Fund and the U.S. lender ConnectOne Bank. Lendbuzz uses sophisticated analytical tools to assess risk and offer loans online to people without a credit history. Its first product is for car loans. “Among other things we check the applicant’s ability to repay but also his future ability to repay, for instance a student who may not earn enough now to justify a loan but whose future earnings can be predicted,” explained Kalmar. Started in 2015 by Kalmar and Dan Raviv, two Israelis, the company has raised $10 million in equity and $35 million in loans to date, most of it to finance the loans it offers. The company has no operations in Israel but plans to open one. (Eliran Rubin)
Israeli Embassy social media pages popular in China for wrong reasons
- Trump can no longer block Twitter users, but what about Netanyahu?
- A device that lets Palestinian Israelis shed their Arabic accent?
- F-35 maker Lockheed Martin to open Jerusalem preschools with Education Ministry's backing
Israel’s embassy in China ranks as the foreign mission with the most followers on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, and the reason may be because of Chinese Islamophobia, the online magazine Quartz reports. Citing research by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute on 10 foreign embassy accounts this year, Israel counted over 1.9 million subscribers to its page and had the fourth-highest number of likes per post, behind only the embassies of the U.S., Britain and Japan, countries with stronger cultural and economic ties to China. Quartz says the reason is that many Chinese see the Israeli embassy’s social media pages as an outlet for sharing Islamophobic views. It cites comments like “Israel is a beacon of humanity, support Israel’s struggle against evil sects in the Middle East” that appeared beneath a May 19 embassy post showing photos of Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market. (TheMarker Staff)