The Washington Post

The Circuit: Facebook takes privacy questions, FCC commissioners take office, Yahoo’s Thompson out

Facebook talks privacy: Facebook took to its live broadcast site Monday to answer questions about changes to the social network’s privacy policy. Facebook privacy head Erin Egan took live questions from users about changes to the network’s data use policy and other questions, such as how to download information from their profiles.

Ahead of the company’s initial public offering, expected this week, Facebook is taking pains to address privacy — one of the most pressing issues it faces going into its market debut.

FCC commissioners take office: The Federal Communications Commission has two new commissioners Monday after chairman Julius Genachowski swore in Republican commissioner Ajit Pai and Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

Both were confirmed by the Senate last week after their nominations were held up by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who was demanding documents on the agency’s dealings with LightSquared.

Rosenworcel and Pai are listed as witnesses slated to testify in this week’s Senate Commerce committee hearing on oversight of the FCC.

LightSquared: LightSquared is expected to declare bankruptcy “imminently,” according to unnamed sources speaking to Reuters about the matter. The company has been struggling to regain its footing since the FCC said it was reconsidering a waiver that would have allowed the company to build out its broadband network. Tests found that the satellite-based portion of the network would interfere with global positioning satellites.

According to the report, LightSquared’s leading investor, Harbinger Capital, and Chief Executive Philip Falcone have until 5 p.m. to find a deal to avoid default on a $1.6 billion loan.

Yahoo chief executive steps down: Yahoo chief executive Scott Thompson resigned Sunday amid ongoing questions about his academic credentials. His decision follows more than a week of controversy that leaves Yahoo with a new interim chief executive, three new board members from Yahoo’s largest outside investor, a new board chairman and a serious public image problem.

In a statement, Yahoo said that the company’s global media head, Ross Levinsohn, would take over as interim chief executive for the firm. The company also appointed Fred Amoroso, who joined the board in March, as chairman. Three others joined the board as well, all nominees from the technology firm’s largest outside investor, Third Point. These include Third Point Chief Executive Daniel Loeb.

The resignation and appointments are part of a settlement Yahoo made with Third Point and Loeb, who has been waging a proxy battle with the company and was the first to levy accusations against Thompson.

Hi-tech vs. no-tech: As educators and parents around the country grapple with the proper place for technology in the classroom, two Washington area private schools, separated only by a 20-minute drive, are taking radically different approaches.

The Washington Post profiled two schools — Washington Waldorf School and the Flint Hill School — that have approached technology from very different angles, with Flint Hill keeping its students plugged into iPads and laptops while Waldorf opts to require students to hand-write papers until high school.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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