Feb 6, 2018

Report: Facebook hired pollster to track Zuck's reputation

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook hired a pollster specifically to track CEO Mark Zuckerberg's perception around the globe, according to a report by The Verge.

Why it matters: It underscores how invested Facebook is in the image of its founder as he becomes its chief defenders against charges that the social platform is being manipulated to the detriment of its users.

Details: Tavis McGinn applied for the job last Spring, without knowing that it was a political market research job.

  • McGinn says he conducted research on different aspects of how the company, its CEO and its COO Sheryl Sandberg are perceived.
  • “It was a very unusual role,” McGinn tells The Verge. "It’s very advanced research.”

Smart take from The Verge's Casey Newton: "Facebook is not unique among tech companies in conducting surveys to gauge perceptions about its brand ... But it is unusual for a company to have a staff person charged exclusively with monitoring perceptions of its CEO full time."

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Japan to close schools through late March to control coronavirus outbreak

A couple takes photos in front of the Olympic rings in Tokyo. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday that the government will ask elementary, middle and high schools around the country to close until late March as an attempt to contain its novel coronavirus outbreak, AP reports.

Why it matters: The government's decision — impacting 12.8 million students across 34,847 schools — comes as concerns mount about the spread of the virus in Japan, which has 189 confirmed cases and hundreds more abroad the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeper: The latest coronavirus updates

What the coronavirus means for Trump's presidency

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A poor response to the coronavirus could be politically devastating for President Trump, and so far his administration has given the strong impression that it’s still scrambling as the risk of a pandemic mounts.

Why it matters: There’s only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if the disease get worse in the months ahead, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.

Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

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