Online witches, Giants trolling on Instagram and Facebook’s Simpsons slip-up

News and notes from San Francisco’s tech world

This week Facebook was scolded by its Oversight Board — an independent committee of professors, lawyers and activists — for not being “fully forthcoming” on the process the social media giant used to ban President Trump.

On a much less serious note in the back of the board’s 77-page Transparency Report was an item on a post that Facebook removed believing it to be an endorsement of a hate group, then restored realizing it was something quite different. “The content is an image of Ralph Wiggum, a character from the American TV show ‘The Simpsons.’ He is depicted saying ‘I am a Proud Boy!’ and apparently urinating in his pants,” the report says. Facebook, it seems, removed the post believing it was promoting the far-right group the Proud Boys who were linked to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Upon further review Facebook found “the content does not praise, support, or represent the Proud Boys”…

Speaking of Facebook, we should mention something nice that the much-under-fire company is doing down on the Peninsula early next month — opening a new campus of community centers near its headquarters in Menlo Park. Facebook pitched the idea to the city back in 2019, and it’s now almost ready to open. The City of Menlo Park estimated the company’s contribution thusly: “Staff estimates the value of the offer at approximately $40 million.” Even for Facebook, that’s real money. No wonder Menlo Park’s term sheet calls the Menlo Park Community Campus “an exciting opportunity for the community for generations to come”…

With Halloween on the way we would be remiss as a three-dot tech column if we failed to point out the impressive online presence of The City’s witches. Yelp ranks local witchcraft businesses and organizations in its “Best witchcraft in San Francisco” listing. Meetup.com has many groups listed, including one cleverly called Eye of Newt that nobly aspires to be an “unbiased place for the community that is steadfast and trustworthy.” And you can order Elf Queen incense and many other items online from the elegant Sword and Rose shop in Hayes Valley which is “hidden — behind a courtyard consecrated to Asherah”…

Among the most likable postscripts to the Giants’ season was this Instagram post from pitcher Logan Webb who emerged as a star this season: “Lucky to call myself a San Fransisco (sic) Giant. Love every single person in that clubhouse and can’t wait to see what the future holds for this special organization.”

(We’ll forgive him for misspelling the name of our fair city. The guy was money this year.) But the best thing about the post is the comment from fellow Giants pitcher Kevin Gausman, who vied with Webb to be the team’s ace hurler. Noting the gigantic batting helmet that Webb peared out from under this year, Gausman asked: “Can we pls get you a helmet that fits??? #maybenextyr.” That helmet does look just a tad large…

Interesting job posting over at the tallest office building west of Chicago. The job opening is for Marc Benioff’s next right-hand person. “The Chief of Staff, Office of the CEO, will be responsible for managing the office of Marc Benioff,” a posting that went up this week on Salesforce’s careers site reads. Would that include hanging out with Marc while he pals around with U2 and Madonna’s manager Guy Oseary, Black Eyed Peas founder will.i.am, and Japanese rock star and composer Yoshiki — as happened this week according to a buddy selfie pic in Marc’s Twitter feed?

You can take the company out of the Bay Area, but you can’t take the Bay Area out of the company. Big tech companies Google, Facebook, Twitter and Lyft told Protocol this week that they are sticking to requirements that employees be vaccinated against COVID-19, despite Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s new state executive order banning any “entity in Texas” from requiring vaccinations. LOL. Greg, any California governor could have told you that Big Tech was going to overrule Big Texas anytime it wants to…

And the award for the most lit litigation in all of tech goes to SEC v. Ripple, a case that could create precedent in the cryptocurrency world. Ripple, which is based in the Financial District, has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to handle 29,947 separate requests for admission (legal paperwork items). The SEC basically said to the judge: Your honor, this is way too much homework. “If a single SEC attorney spent an average of only 5 minutes reading and answering each request, without breaks or sleep, it would require nearly 104 days to respond,” the commission said in a letter. Boy that is a lot of paperwork, federal agency that makes everyone else fill out a lot of paperwork. Pot, kettle…

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