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PR Blotter


December 3, 2013

JPMorgan Chase’s invite to Twitter users to participate in a Q-and-A session with its vice chairman on Nov. 14 received a deluge of angry and sarcastic remarks about the Wall Street bank’s business practices — a backlash that prompted the company to cancel its “#AskJPM” event.

As Al Jazeera America reported, JPMorgan has been embroiled in a series of recent scandals, including accusations of manipulating electricity prices in Texas, a $920 million settlement over losses caused by its trader dubbed the “London Whale,” and the bank’s tentative $13 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over mortgage policies.

Responding to JPMorgan’s invitation on Twitter, people reportedly used epithets like “scumbags” and “criminals,” and asked biting rhetorical questions. “What section of the poor & disenfranchised have you yet to exploit for profit?” tweeted Alexis Goldstein, communications director for The Other 98%, a nonprofit organization that advocates alternative economic policies.

Despite the range of official accusations, JPMorgan apparently was unprepared for the storm of public anger. “Tomorrow’s Q&A is cancelled,” the bank’s Twitter feed read. “Bad Idea. Back to the drawing board.”


In a preliminary ruling, the Food and Drug Administration has suggested that artificial trans fat is unsafe for eating.

As AdAge reported on Nov. 8, some fast-food companies and makers of processed food began eliminating trans fat after a 2006 labeling requirement, but the FDA’s latest action could push holdouts, including some brands of microwaveable popcorn and frozen pizzas, to change their formulas.

The ruling makes a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not “generally recognized as safe” for use in food.

Consumption of trans fat in the United States has declined during the last two decades, but “current intake remains a significant public health concern,” FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg said in a statement. “Further reduction in the amount of trans fat in the American diet could prevent an additional 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease.”


Facebook users don’t go to the site looking for news, but they often find it there anyway, says a survey that Pew Research Center released on Oct. 24.

The research found that 78 percent of Facebook users encounter news links while visiting the social network for other reasons.

The survey suggests that Facebook provides news to some people who might not get it otherwise. “If it wasn’t for Facebook news,” one respondent said, “I’d probably never really know what’s going on in the world because I don’t have time to keep up with the news on a bunch of different locations.”

Adults ages 18 to 29, who, as a group, are less engaged than their elders are with news on other platforms, account for about a third of Facebook news consumers, roughly the same level as older age groups who access news on the site.


As fewer consumers bother to open emails pitching daily deals, and fewer still actually bite on the offers, daily-deal giants Groupon and LivingSocial are looking for other ways to snag sales. As Time magazine reported on Nov. 13, Groupon posted wider-than-expected losses in the third quarter.

One reason for the company’s struggles is a change made by Google’s Gmail last summer, in which marketing offers are now segregated in a “Promotions” folder, rather than appearing in the user’s main inbox. As a result, people with Gmail accounts have been less likely to open, let alone book, those daily offers.

But even before the Gmail change, the daily-deal model appeared to be fading as the novelty wore off and interest waned among consumers and small businesses alike. Groupon, the company that brought daily deals to the mainstream, now plans on broadening its sales strategies to include deals that are available to anyone who visits its website and can be purchased for more than one day.


More than half of U.S. Internet users post photos or videos online, says a new survey by the Pew Research Center.

Photos and videos have become an integral part of the online social experience, with people creating their own or sharing images and videos they find online, according to the survey of 1,000 adults conducted in early October.

Fifty-four percent of adult Internet users say they post photos or videos online that they themselves have created — a group that Pew calls “creators.”

Forty-seven percent of Internet users are “curators” who find photos or videos online and then repost them on sites designed for sharing images with large numbers of people.

Both groups have grown in size since last year, and forty percent of Internet users are in both categories, the survey finds. Together, 62 percent of Internet users have participated in at least one of these creating or curating activities.

The near-ubiquity of cellphone ownership and rapid rise of smartphones have made it easy for people to share images and videos online.



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