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›  Facebook Reportedly In Talks To Produce Original TV-Quality Shows

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc. is in talks with Hollywood studios about producing scripted, TV-quality shows, with an aim of launching original programming by late summer, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

The social networking giant has indicated that it was willing to commit to production budgets as high as $3 million per episode, in meetings with Hollywood talent agencies, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. 

Facebook is hoping to target audiences from ages 13 to 34, with a focus on the 17 to 30 range. The company has already lined up “Strangers”, a relationship drama, and a game show, “Last State Standing”, the report said.

Facebook could not be immediately reached for comment.

The company is expected to release episodes in a traditional manner, instead of dropping an entire season in one go like Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., WSJ reported.

The company is also willing to share its viewership data with Hollywood, the report said.

Apple Inc. hired co-presidents of Sony Pictures Television, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, earlier this month, to lead its video-programming efforts.

Apple began its long-awaited move into original television series last week, with a reality show called “Planet of the Apps”, an unscripted show about developers trying to interest celebrity mentors with a 60-second pitch on an escalator.

The company’s future programming plans include an adaptation of comedian James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” segment from his CBS Corp. show that will begin airing in August.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  Google Search Is Doing Irreparable Harm To Muslims

Google asks its employees to “Do the right thing.” At least, that’s what its revised 2015 motto states in an upgrade from the original company maxim, “Don’t be evil.

But when a user searches Google for information on Islam, the results often link to propaganda, anti-Muslim hate and outright lies. The algorithm for the world’s largest search engine is definitely not doing the right thing ? especially when it comes to the first page of results, where most users stop their searches.

Basic searches for words like “Muslim” and “Islam” return reasonable results with links to reputable sites. But more specific terms, like “sharia,” “jihad” or “taqiyya” ? often co-opted by white supremacists ? return links to Islamophobic sites filled with misinformation.

The same thing happens with the autofill function. If a user types in “does islam,” the first suggestion that pops up to complete the query is “does islam permit terrorism.” Another egregious example occurs when a user inputs “do muslim.” The autofill results include “do muslim women need saving.”

There are endless possibilities for misinformation, and the consequences are disturbing.

“Ninety percent of people don’t make it past the first page,” Heidi Beirich, a project director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, told HuffPost. “It’s miseducating millions, if not billions of people on many subjects.”

Indeed, there is a distinct correlation between anti-Muslim searches and anti-Muslim hate crimes, according to researchers.

The result? At the extreme end of the spectrum, white supremacists commit heinous acts of violence, like in Portland, Oregon and Tulsa, Oklahoma. But more commonly and perhaps more nefariously, such searches normalize a culture of fear, leading to the harassment of hijab-wearing teenagers and 7-Eleven store clerks.  

But Omar Suleiman, a Muslim American imam from Dallas and founder of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, has a plan to take on Google.

Suleiman and his team have been publishing reports on controversial topics in Islam ? like jihad ? in the hopes of influencing the search algorithm. His goal is to flood the search results with accurate information on Islam.

Suleiman, 30, realized a few years ago that there was a dire need for factual information during the rise of the self-described Islamic State, when he noticed how right-wing groups were equating ISIS’s language with the beliefs of the world’s entire Muslim population.

One of Suleiman’s most popular reports is on the Islamic idea of taqiyya, a term Islamophobes and white supremacists have appropriated and exploited to accuse Muslims of lying to non-Muslims for a sinister objective like taking over the world.

Suleiman explains in the report that taqiyya is actually a centuries-old concept that permits a Muslim to conceal his or her faith when under the threat of persecution. What was once more commonly applied by the minority Shia sect of Islam in the face of persecution, taqiyya is rarely, if not ever, applicable to modern-day American Muslims, regardless of sect.

Because it is an Arabic word, Islamophobes use the word “taqiyya” solely to instill fear, Suleiman told HuffPost. It’s a foreign-sounding word from a religion that’s perceived as foreign, and it sends “chills down the spines of well-meaning but woefully misinformed patriotic Americans wary of those turban-wearing bearded foreigners, right? What could possibly go wrong?” Suleiman wrote in the report.

The Yaqeen Institute has also published reports on honor killings, stoning and jihad, all topics Islamophobes constantly twist to degrade Islam and Muslims.   

But taking on the internet is not easy, and may not even be possible.

Suleiman’s report on taqiyya doesn’t come up until the second page of Google search. The first link that appears on the first page, an article from meforum.org, may appear legitimate, but the Middle East Forum is actually an Islamophobic “think tank” and website that “promotes American interests in the Middle East and protects Western values from Middle Eastern threats.” TheReligionOfPeace.com and Billionbibles.org are other anti-Muslim websites whose articles appear on the first page.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented a similar ? and arguably worse ? problem when users search for the term “sharia.”

Factual content about Islam “in basic searches often gets choked off by anti-Muslim propaganda,” writes Alex Amend, digital media director at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

However, there is precedent for Google to make a change. The company removed the “are Jews evil” autofill suggestion late last year, and apologized for mistakenly tagging African-Americans as “gorillas” in the search feature of the Google photos app.

“We’re appalled and genuinely sorry that this happened,” a company spokeswoman said at the time. “There is still clearly a lot of work to do with automatic image labeling, and we’re looking at how we can prevent these types of mistakes from happening in the future.”

Earlier this year, YouTube, which is owned by Google, announced a new set of policies that target offensive content that doesn’t necessarily violate the company’s guidelines. The policy includes burying the videos and not attaching them to any advertising. Videos that promote the subjugation of religions or races without outright inciting violence, such as by targeting Islam, would be covered by this policy.

Google announced in a blog post in April, that they were going to “surface more high-quality content from the web,” and offer users the opportunity to report inappropriate content. But with tens of thousands of pages “coming online every minute of every day,” the post read, clearly they are facing an uphill battle. 

Beirich says Google’s actions so far are not enough.

“Google’s algorithm is seriously flawed and it’s a scary thing, because millions of people around the world are using it,” she said. “It’s a fundamental problem with how search works.”

We are teaching [people] reasons to hate black people, Jews, Muslims and [other] minorities.
Heidi Beirich, project director for the Southern Poverty Law Center

Beirich points to the case of white supremacist Dylann Roof, who went “from being someone who was not raised in a racist home to someone so steeped in white supremacist propaganda that he murdered nine African-Americans during a Bible study.”

“We are teaching [people] reasons to hate black people, Jews, Muslims and [other] minorities,” Beirich said.

The SPLC has brought its concerns to Google, but says it has yet to see substantial action.

A Google spokeswoman told HuffPost she had “nothing to add” when asked about the harmful search results. 

Despite the odds stacked against Suleiman, he is hopeful. He is also aware that Yaqeen has nothing close to the $57 million network fueling Islamophobia, both online and offline, in the United States.

“The prize of Islamophobes is the hearts and minds of people,” Suleiman said. “What we need to continue to do is to discredit these people and their agendas.”

America does not do a good job of tracking incidents of hate and bias. We need your help to create a database of such incidents across the country, so we all know what’s going on. Tell us your story.


This story has been updated to include information about how to report inappropriate content to Google.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  Weekend Roundup: Spotlight On The Apprentice

It is where Donald Trump’s reality-TV persona from “The Apprentice” meets his presidency that he can make the most significant difference for the “left behind” constituencies that voted for him. Last week, President Trump issued an executive order calling for the doubling of funding for apprenticeship grants in the United States ? a key area, like infrastructure, where a consensus can be built across America’s divided politics.

In an interview with The WorldPost this week, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers makes Trump’s case: “We don’t do anything for people who don’t go to college. They are left to either sink or swim, and mostly they sink. I’m thinking here of the kind of vocational apprentice arrangements that Germany has implemented successfully.” Summers also argues for international economic policies that benefit the average person more than the global corporations, such as closing tax loopholes and shutting down tax havens as a priority over securing intellectual property protection for pharmaceutical companies. “Right now,” he says, “when we discuss the global economy, we mainly talk about things that improve ‘competitiveness’ and are painful to the regular worker.”

Alongside greater investment in public higher education, on-the-job vocational training is essential to creating workforce opportunities not only in a global economy, but, more importantly, when faced with the perpetual disruptions of digital capitalism. As economist Laura Tyson points out, “about 80 percent of the loss in U.S. manufacturing jobs over the last three decades was a result of labor-saving and productivity-enhancing technological change, with trade coming a distant second.” Constantly adjusting to an ever-shifting recomposition of the knowledge-driven innovation economy is only possible if skills remain aligned to the needs of employers.

Brookings Institution policy analyst Mark Muro thinks the president managed to get the big things right with his executive order. “In noting that a four-year college degree isn’t for everyone,” Muro writes, “he spoke reasonably about the potential of paid, hands-on workplace experiences that train workers and link them to employers. In addition, Trump rightly underscored the need for industry — rather than the government — to play the largest role in structuring those experiences.” Tamar Jacoby, president of Opportunity America, a Washington-based nonprofit working to promote economic mobility, concurs that industry, not government, knows best what skills they need. “After more than two years of unlikely promises — to restore coal mining, end offshoring and recreate the manufacturing jobs of a bygone era,” writes Jacoby, “the president is finally focusing on a solution that could make a difference for the working-class voters who elected him: skills.” 

Writing from Munich on her way to an international gathering on apprenticeships, Jobs for the Future’s Nancy Hoffman emphasizes that the most successful programs “combine structured learning in a workplace with credit-bearing community college course-taking so that a student arrives at completion of the apprenticeship not just with job-related skills, but with a useable transferable credential as well.” Joshua Pearce, who heads Michigan Tech’s Open Sustainability Technology Lab, completes the picture. “A relatively minor investment in retraining,” he says, “would allow the majority of coal workers to switch to solar-related positions.”

But not everyone is completely on board. McKinsey & Company’s Mona Mourshed offers a cautious note: only around 30 percent of youth employment programs have proven effective, according to World Bank estimates. “The hallmarks of an effective program,” she writes, “are employer engagement, a practice-based curriculum, student support services and a commitment to measuring results post-program.”

Stanford University economist Eric Hanushek is even more skeptical that the U.S. can replicate the successful German model of apprenticeship, because failing K-12 schools in America are not providing young people entering the workforce with the requisite cognitive skills to effectively prepare them for an uncertain future.

Bolstering vocational apprenticeship programs in the U.S. is imperative to enabling non-college-educated Americans to find work in a continually churning economy. But, clearly, much work will have to be done to realize that imperative itself.

Other highlights in The WorldPost this week:



EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Co-Founder and Executive Advisor to the Berggruen Institute, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Executive Editor of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Alex Gardels and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors of The WorldPost. Suzanne Gaber is the Editorial Assistant of The WorldPost. Rosa O’Hara is the Social Editor of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is News Director at HuffPost, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s news coverage. Nick Robins-Early and Jesselyn Cook are World Reporters.

EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media), Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).


CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.

The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as theAdvisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei KudrinPascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon MuskPierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel RoubiniNicolas SarkozyEric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter SchwartzAmartya SenJeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry SummersWu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail and Zheng Bijian.

From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony BlairJacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar IssingMario MontiRobert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.


The WorldPost is a global media bridge that seeks to connect the world and connect the dots. Gathering together top editors and first person contributors from all corners of the planet, we aspire to be the one publication where the whole world meets.

We not only deliver breaking news from the best sources with original reportage on the ground and user-generated content; we bring the best minds and most authoritative as well as fresh and new voices together to make sense of events from a global perspective looking around, not a national perspective looking out.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  A Fan Painted Mark Zuckerberg's Face On Her Nails, And Here's What Happened Next

Mark Zuckerberg is a famous dude and, as fans do with anyone who is famous, they like to show their appreciation in ... inventive ways.

One particular fan of the Zuck, Wendy Caudle, decided to really nail down her love for the Facebook founder. On Thursday, Zuckerberg shared her manicured hand on his Instagram that features the Facebook logo, the “heart” and “like” reactions, and, naturally, Zuck’s likeness.

Whether he was more enamored or surprised by the gesture isn’t known, but he definitely liked it enough to share:

A post shared by Mark Zuckerberg (@zuck) on

The image is accompanied by a caption that indicates this is the first time Zuck’s seen something like this and the hashtag #fcs2017.

Caudle told HuffPost she was “not just necessarily a fan of Zuck,” but rather “thrilled and honored” that she was in attendance at the Facebook Group Summit in Chicago (which is what the #fcs2017 denotes). Caudle said she was chosen to represent her nail group, “The REAL Nail Addicts,” at the summit.

“I did the nails to commemorate such a historic event, and I was painting his portrait before we ever heard he was a keynote speaker,” she said.

Caudle added that it took her about 30 hours to do the nails.

A post shared by Mark Zuckerberg (@zuck) on

We hope Wendy gets a whole lotta likes on their Facebook posts. She’s earned it.

This post has been updated to include quotes from Caudle.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  The Coolest Job You Probably Didn't Even Know Existed

We spend a lot of time each day looking at, tweeting, and texting emoji, but few of us get paid to do so. Keith Broni, on the other hand, makes his living doing just that.

Last December, London-based translation company Today Translations put out a call for an “emoji translator.” The job listing made news, partly because of its novelty — it’s believed to be the first role of its kind — and partly because it just sounds like so much fun. Who doesn’t want to spend their day looking at emoji?

Today Translations received over 500 applications, and the interview process took five months, but Broni emerged as the winning candidate. You can’t major in emoji translation (at least, not yet), but Broni’s educational background does complement the role. The Irishman graduated from University College London with a Master’s degree in business psychology. His dissertation, which was entitled using only emoji, looked at the ways that consumer behavior can influence how we perceive emoji in combination with various brand names.

Broni’s passion for emoji — a job requirement, obviously — is so strong that he organized Europe’s first Emoji Spelling Bee, in which contestants were given a limited amount of time to convert a phrase into emoji. When Today Translations posted the job, multiple friends sent Broni the listing, recognizing that it was a natural fit for a man whose days were already defined by hearts, smileys, and thumbs-up icons.

The interview process began with a short emoji test, asking applicants to decipher the meanings of some emoji combinations, as well as write a few sentences exclusively in emoji. The test was followed by a phone interview and then a presentation on what a handbook for using emoji might look like.

The job, as fun as it might seem, is far more complicated than it sounds. “The hardest things I’ve had to translate are ones where the intention is for it to be highly universal,” Broni explains during a phone interview with Refinery29. Even though emoji are often referred to as the new universal language, meanings can vary widely from one culture to the next. Take the thumbs up emoji.

“It’s very popular in the West, and is the ubiquitous Facebook icon, but in the Middle East it’s equivalent to an offense, like giving someone the middle finger,” Broni says.

The same goes for the A-Okay hand gesture, which Broni says can be very offensive in Latin America. Even the basic happy face isn’t so basic. In China, Broni says it’s often used to convey that you’re finished, or done with a conversation.

Even though emoji are often referred to as the new universal language, meanings can vary widely from one culture to the next.

Another element that complicates emoji interpretation is which device you’re using to view the icons. Since smartphone makers such as Samsung and Apple are allowed to design their own, system-appropriate renditions of the characters, how they appear can differ if you’re using one type of phone to send an emoji to a friend with another type of phone. On Samsung phones, for example, Broni says that the rolling eyes emoji looks slightly hopeful, while the smirking face looks more “meh” and less flirty than it does on iOS. Let this be a word to the wise: You might want to rethink texting an emoji after a first date, given the potential for some major misinterpretation.

Broni’s job is create an etiquette guide breaking down not only the meanings of individual emoji in different cultures, but also the meanings of strings of emoji together and emoji variations across devices. It’s a monumental task and one that, if done incorrectly, has the potential to incite social outrage.

The introduction of new emoji every year means Broni will need to constantly update any guide he creates. “I’m most fascinated to see how they impact the usage trends of preexisting emoji,” Broni says of the upcoming release of Emoji 5.0. “Will mind-blown become the new emoji synonym for wow instead of the current mouth wide open emoji?”

The new emoji are already available on Twitter, but we’ll likely need to wait until they come to iPhones this fall to understand how they’re used more broadly. [Insert angry face emoji here.]

Unfortunately, Today Translations hasn’t put out a call for another emoji translator yet. Still, you might want to start prepping now should the opportunity arise again. In the meantime, you should probably avoid inserting emoji into upcoming job applications. Though Broni says the icons have become acceptable as their popularity grows, they’re still rarely deemed appropriate in formal communications. Best to stick with the tried and true guidelines and save the (IRL) smiley face for your in-person interview.

By: Madeline Buxton

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  Verizon New York 2016 Annual Report Reveals Massive Financial Cross-Subsidies. State Investigation Heats Up; FCC?s Deformed Accounting Rules To Blame

The Verizon NY 2016 Annual Report was released at the end of May, 2017 and the IRREGULATORS just put out an analysis: “Follow the Money: Financial Analysis and Implications.” (It part of our ongoing series, Fixing Telecom.)

At the core of this, Verizon NY is still the state-based telecommunications utility serving the majority of New York State. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the holding company, Verizon Communications. Meanwhile, AT&T California or AT&T Illinois, (controlled by AT&T) or Verizon Massachusetts or Verizon Pennsylvania are also state-based utilities.

Alongside this, there was an ‘evidentiary hearing’ planned for June 26th, 2017 as part of an investigation of the quality of service of Verizon New York’s wireline networks, but also of its business practices. However, as of this writing it appears Verizon has decided it might be time to discuss a settlement. One would suspect the plan is to shut down these proceedings before they get out of hand and to stop further ‘discovery’. Click to read the documents filed. (Some of the issues brought up in this investigation stem from one of our earlier reports published in 2012.)

Based on what we uncovered over the last five years, every state and every city in the US should be demanding answers and calling for investigations of the Verizon, AT&T and CenturyLink incumbent state utilities that control the copper and fiber optic wires (even the wires to the cell sites). Moreover, the FCC needs to be taken to court as its accounting rules are the cause of massive financial cross-subsidies that have been going on for over a decade, and the FCC’s plans are to erase the rules instead of fix them.

Follow the Money: The Primary Findings

  • Verizon NY’s financials have been manipulated to make local service/the copper wires look unprofitable.

  • Verizon customers received multiple rate increases based on “massive deployment of fiber optics” and ‘losses’.

  • The ‘losses’ were not caused by the local service/wireline business, but through various means.

  • Local Service is paying the majority of all expenses. For example, Local Service is paying 60% of the Corporate Operations expenses.

  • At the same time, Verizon subsidiaries, like Verizon Wireless, are only paying a fraction of the expenses to use the networks.

  • Instead of upgrading the cities or even maintaining the existing infrastructure, in NY a large part of the utility capex was diverted to build out the wireless business.

  • At the same time, “Special Access” services (renamed “Business Data Services”) have a 50+ profit margin, even though they are using the exact same wires as Local Service.

  • Local phone customers in New York, especially low income families and rural areas, all paid extra—about $1,500 and counting, for these cross-subsidies.

  • At issue is not just the ‘landlines’ or the wired network but the impacts on all services and companies that use the wires, from competitors offering service to the cost of wireless service.

And, let us stress that while these companies have tried very hard to remove or deny the fact that they are utilities, (like water or electricity), the truth is that these companies control the wires—not only the copper wires but also the fiber optic wires that are used for FiOS or are the wires that go to the cell sites to offer cell phone service or are used for ‘hot spots’. And these are also the wires used for services that are supposed to offer competition to the cable provider or to make sure that there is phone service available so that someone can call E911 in an emergency.

Putting this in Perspective

The Verizon NY 2016 Annual Report is part of and must be seen in light of what is happening throughout the US and at the FCC. First, New York is the only state we found that requires the incumbents to do an annual report, though some states keep the info and require a FOIA request to obtain it. The FCC has never audited these financial books, even though they are making rules that directly impact customers, cities, etc.

FCC’s Corrupted Cost Accounting Rules are to Blame for the Cross-Subsidies.

Worse, the FCC’s accounting rules have caused much of this overcharging as they are set to reflect the expenses based on the year 2000, 17 years ago. In 2001, the FCC ‘froze’ the allocation of costs so that every year, regardless of the revenues, the expenses would be applied as if it was the year 2000. This has made Local Service look unprofitable on paper and has placed the majority of expenses into Local Service. Local Service was 65% of the revenues in 2000 and paid 65% of the expense; in 2016 it is only 23% of the revenues but pays 56% of the expenses. This also had the effect of cross-subsidizing all of the other lines of business in multiple ways as Local Service customers are paying the expenses that should be paid by the other Verizon subsidiaries.

For the excruciating details of this accounting boondoggle see our reports: “The Hartman Memorandum” and “The History & Rules of Setting Phone Rates in America”.

FCC Actions

This current FCC is oblivious to the actual markets, financial data or the public interest, it would seem. In fact, the FCC has multiple proceedings underway or recently decided. The FCC’s plan includes:

  • “Shut Off the Copper” — The FCC has a group of proceedings to remove all obligations or regulations and is planning on giving the incumbent phone companies, including Verizon New York, the right to ‘shut off the copper’ as a federal law, preempting state laws.

  • “Business Data Services” (also known as “Special Access”) Deregulation These services use the same wires that are used for phone service. The FCC has ruled that the incumbents can shut off various classes of these services or not have to rent them at reasonable rates to competitors including the wireless companies. (Sprint and Windstream have already filed an appeal.)

  • Erasing the FCC’s Accounting Rules — The FCC has multiple current proceedings, some already decided, to erase all obligations, such requiring the use of the Uniform System of Accounting (USOA). The FCC has also extended the ‘freeze’ on how the expenses are allocated until 2018 so it can finish removing all rules instead of fixing them, thus immortalizing the harms.

  • “IP Transition” — Rarely mentioned anymore, this is actually a plan to shut off the copper and claim that the ‘old’, “Title II” services should be replaced with new services, even though they use the exact same wires. The other part of the plan is to force customers onto wireless.

  • Net Neutrality, Title II, Privacy — The FCC has decided to kill off Net Neutrality and restrict privacy by letting these few companies control the wires as they see fit, public be damned.

The IRREGULATORS filed in some of these current FCC proceedings.

State Actions: Besides the current investigation in New York:

  • The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission just required Verizon to fix parts of the copper infrastructure in some areas where the company has not deployed FiOS, fiber to the home.

  • The Illinois State legislature voted to remove the obligations of the incumbent telephone companies to offer service or repair the existing service.

With all of these activities one thing is abundantly clear; most of the regulators and politicians have no idea about the actual revenues, expenses and cross-subsidies that are in play. And it is clear that the FCC has never examined the actual impacts of their own distorted accounting rules, but is removing the rules and obligations without basic facts, with the outcome—help the phone companies and harm customers. In fact, the FCC’s ‘shut off the copper’ proceeding never uses the word “utility” in context to the access lines in service, or even mentions how many total lines are in service.

Examining the Financials

Here are two exhibits detailing the revenues and expenses taken directly from the Verizon New York 2016 Annual Report. (Read “Follow the Money” report for details and caveats.)

Verizon New York Revenues and Losses, 2016

(Note: The exhibits are excerpts and not the full accounting.)

  • $5.2 billion in revenues for wireline telecom services in just New York — The wires are still in use and the utility company is still enormous.

  • NOTE: These are not all of the revenues of Verizon in New York; it leaves out revenues from Verizon Online, Verizon Business, Verizon Long Distance or Verizon Wireless, among other Verizon affiliates that use the wireline networks.

  • $1.2 billion of revenue, 23%, are from Local Service.

  • $2.5 billion of revenue (47%), are from “Access” services (83% are “Business Data Services”).

  • 50% EBITDA for Access services. Using the exact same wires for Local Service, somehow Access services had a whopping 50% profit margin in New York, while Local Service lost money.

  • $1.1 billion in losses are shown in the 2016 financial report. The report shows that $2.1 billion dollars was claimed as losses for just Local Service.

  • $1 billion of annual losses for years. Verizon NY claims it keeps losing money (not counting accounting changes) and has been hemorrhaging one billion+ a year since at least 2009.

  • Not paying most taxes. Verizon New York uses these losses for multiple benefits, including not paying many taxes, which also helps the holding company.

Breakout of the Revenues and Expenses as a Percentage of the Total

But something is seriously amiss. If you examine the percentages of the expenses being charged to Local Service, somehow Local Service is paying the majority of expenses.

  • Local Service was charged 56% of all expenses, including Corporate Operations, Marketing and Construction and Maintenance (Plant).

  • Local Service was charged 60% of Corporate Operations, which can include the corporate jets, or the lawyers to defend rate increases or getting rid of Net Neutrality.

  • Local Service paid 44% of Construction and Maintenance (“Plant”) even though it only generated 23% of revenues.

Even the Number of Access Lines has been Manipulated.

  • 2.2 million “POTS”, plain old telephone service, copper-based Verizon NY lines are in service. These are only a fraction of the total lines, copper or fiber, in place.

  • “0” Access lines for $4 billion in revenue. The financial report supplies zero lines for either the Access services or the Nonregulated services, which include revenues from part of the FIOS services. How can $4 billion dollars in revenue have no access lines listed?

  • 7-8 million lines are potentially missing from the “landline”/access line accounting. All of the “interstate” services, like special access or FiOS, all lines rented to competitors and all ‘IP-based’ lines are not included in the NY State or FCC or Verizon accounting. I.e., the majority of Verizon NY access lines in use in 2016 have been hidden from view.

Construction Budgets Diverted to Wireless

Much of the construction budgets have been diverted to pay for the wireless networks – which has meant that the cities were not properly upgraded and maintained by the utilities.

  • 5,515 cell sites were built from 2010-2013 at a cost estimated to be $2.8 billion and charged to Verizon New York. According to Verizon’s own press statements, this came out of the wireline construction budgets.

  • $6.5-$7.5 billion in revenue was generated by Verizon Wireless, we estimate, in just New York State.

  • Only $69 million was paid to Verizon New York from “Cellco Partners” (Verizon Wireless is a D/B/A) for use of the networks and any construction – which now includes the fiber that was supposed to be used for FiOS, the Fiber to the Home service, but are now wires to the wireless antennas.

Verizon NY Estimated Overcharging and Underbilling

  • $1.4 billion was overcharged to Local Service based on revenues, in just 2016.

  • Local Service is profitable if the actual costs were properly assigned.

  • $1.2 billion of expense was not properly allocated to Access services, based on costs.

  • $1,500 per line was overcharged to local phone customers through multiple rate increases due to ‘losses’ and “massive deployment of fiber optics” (from 2006-2015).

  • Prices should have been in steep decline because of major staff cuts and cutbacks in Local Service construction expenses. However, we are told by Verizon, the FCC and State that there is plenty of competition. Isn’t competition supposed to lower prices?


By claiming Local Service loses money and that the wires are not being used, or that the networks are not profitable enough to even upgrade and maintain, Verizon has manipulated every aspect of public policy.

National Issue; Federal and State Issue

This financial shell game is a state-by-state as well as a national and federal issue as it has been happening in every state and it impacts every city, and it is based on the FCC’s deformed federal accounting rules.

This next exhibit supplies the “Corporate Operations” expense from the FCC’s 2007 “ARMIS” reports which covered the state-based telecom utilities, and it is the last available data. In this exhibit we sorted this group to detail the range of Corporation Operations expense added to the Local Service expenses.

  • Throughout America, on average, in 2007, 70+% of Corporate Operations expense had been dumped into Local Service.

  • We note that Access paid only 30% of this expense.

  • Though it varies by phone company and location, the Verizon California territory (added as part of the GTE merger, which was then sold off to Frontier) dumped a whopping 78% of the Corporate Operations expense into Local Service (intrastate) category, as did AT&T in Illinois.


The Verizon NY 2016 Annual Report reveals a massive cross-subsidy scheme that has been in play for over a decade. It also reveals that there are massive holes in the FCC?s current and proposed plans to erase the accounting rules, shut off the copper, or deregulate special access. Instead, the FCC should be investigating these issues, not attempting to cover them up by erasing the accounting rules. This will only immortalize the cross-subsidies.

The current investigation in New York has been underway for over a year, and it is being spearheaded by the Communications Workers of America, CWA.

We applaud their efforts but for us the examination of the cross-subsidies and financial hanky panky was first documented in our report in 2012, which was filed with the NY State PSC and ignored, as were the multiple updates to that research.

This new Verizon NY 2016 Annual Report shows that while a settlement in New York may curtail some egregious acts, it is not a cure, especially with the FCC?s current plans.

It is time that every state and every city call for and start investigations and use this as a roadmap for change. And it is time to take the FCC to court over their current and proposed plans.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  People Are Apparently Spending $400 On A Machine That Brews Tea

Welcome to 2017, the year in which your kitchen counter could very well host a fancy Keurig for making coffee, a pricey Juicero for making juice you don’t need the Juicero to make, and a new $400 device for making tea

The app-enabled Teforia Leaf claims to brew tea to perfection, as opposed to whatever pedestrian bag-dunking method you’re using. Depending on the type of its branded tea you crave, the gadget employs a series of short “microinfusions” and adjusts elements like water temperature and volume to “unlock each tea’s true character and depth of flavor,” per a description on Williams-Sonoma.com.

Gizmodo reviewer Libby Watson, a “literal British person” who drinks tea, reported the complexity of it all gave her an “existential crisis” while making her first cup. The tea, she concluded after questioning everything she ever knew about tea, was “fine.” And of course, some Twitter users were quick to chime in, critiquing the gadget as unnecessary and expensive since, you know, making decent tea really isn’t that hard. 

Teforia Leaf hit the market last week as a cheaper version of the $999 (!) Teforia Classic, which debuted in 2015. The Leaf is currently available only online via the Teforia websiteWilliams-Sonoma and Amazon, where it has mostly positive reviews for its beauty and flavors.

Its $399 price tag includes 15 “Sips,” Teforia’s answer to K-Cups, which come in “varietals” from classic Earl Grey to more adventurous “Velvet Rubies” black tea. Just plug one in, and Teforia Leaf brews your specific tea to alleged perfection with its “advanced algorithms.” 

One thing it can’t do is go in the dishwasher: “The Carafe and the Globe are not dishwasher-safe, which seems to really miss the point of being rich enough to spend $400 on a tea machine,” Watson points out. 

Wild as it sounds, the Teforia Leaf does have a benefit: Optimal brewing time and water temperature do indeed vary by tea type, and while we humans may not often take time to consult the rules, Teforia knows them by heart. 

However, that certainty comes with costs, both financial and in time spent washing the gadget. The Sips pods (between $1 and $6.50 when purchased individually) are recyclable, but you’ll need to separate them into three pieces and mail the lids back to Teforia in order to dispose of them properly.

Sounds like the regular ol’ brew-and-pour method would be easier, indeed.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  What's Next For Uber?

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick metaphorically exited a moving vehicle Tuesday night and resigned from his position atop the company.

What challenges should Uber’s next CEO expect to tackle first? We asked some experts, and one thing is clear: Whoever lands behind the wheel should expect full throttle from Day One.

Jeff Reid, a professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and the founding director of the school’s entrepreneurship initiative, said success will flow from an improved corporate culture, which could start with filling the company’s numerous senior vacancies with “people with great integrity and the right gravitas.”

“I think the first thing you’ve got to do is clean up the culture. And that means putting the right people in place,” Reid said. The right management team, and accompanying management systems, will signal to employees, customers and Uber drivers “that things are truly going to change.”

Having the right people in place starts at the very top, Evan Rawley, a professor at Columbia Business School and an expert on corporate strategy and entrepreneurship, explained to HuffPost in an email.

Uber doesn?t need a visionary anymore, they need a capable pair of hands to steer the ship.

Rawley said Uber needs a new CEO who is an outsider, with experience running a big tech company.

“Uber doesn’t need a visionary anymore, they need a capable pair of hands to steer the ship through some known challenges,” Rawley explained. Those challenges include “fixing the culture, competition with Lyft, international competition, fixing or selling off the autonomous car business, dealing with regulators, [and] managing driver relationships.”

Reid and Rawley both said Uber also needs to put serious effort into recruiting and hiring a trustworthy chief financial officer.

Uber has attracted substantial amounts of outside investment, but it’s no secret the company is burning through money and needs to get its cash flow under control.

“The biggest issue for Uber is how to generate enough cash to fund internal investments,” said Rawley. “If they have to go back to the capital markets with so much red ink flowing, the current investors will take a huge haircut on their investment.”

Rawley also suggested a new Uber leadership team may view this as an opportune time to raise prices to help increase cashflow, and to bring in an external consulting firm like McKinsey & Co. “to ‘professionalize’ the organization.” 

You have to keep the drivers happy at the same time you?re investing in technology that might replace them. That?s not an easy task.

As for self-driving cars, Reid said it makes sense for Uber to continue devoting significant resources to develop the technology. He noted a new CEO will have to focus more on the company’s drivers as well.

“You have to keep the drivers happy at the same time you’re investing in technology that might replace them. That’s not an easy task,” Reid said. “But if you stop doing the things that are clearly manipulative in relation to drivers, that’s a good first step.”

Despite substantial challenges, Reid was optimistic about Uber’s potential.

“Uber has transformed the transportation industry. If they continue to innovate and work on the core business model, then I think they should continue to be successful,” Reid said. “But the self-inflicted wounds are significant.”

The CEO role isn’t Uber’s only vacancy. Take a look at how much the company’s top leadership has crumbled in the last six months:

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  Former DHS Secretary: Russian Intrusion In The 2016 Election Is 'A Fact, Plain And Simple'

WASHINGTON ? The Obama administration’s top homeland security official warned on Wednesday that Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was far more advanced than previously reported.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson lamented that there was not enough public awareness and urgency on the issue, while defending the former administration’s reticence to publicly discuss the information in the months leading up to the election.

“In 2016, the Russian government, at the direction of Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyberattacks on our nation for the purpose of influencing our election. That is a fact, plain and simple,” Johnson said, testifying before the House Intelligence committee, which is conducting one of several investigations into Russian meddling in last year’s election.

Echoing the testimonies of other government officials, Johnson warned that Russian interference would continue, urging congressional leaders and members of President Donald Trump’s administration to prioritize cybersecurity and take steps to prevent further intrusions into U.S. elections.

Yet Trump, whose campaign is under investigation for potentially colluding with Russian officials, has maintained that reports of Russian interference were “fake news.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the nation’s top law enforcement official, testified before the Senate last week that he had never received or asked for a briefing on the issue.

Johnson also said during his testimony that the Democratic National Committee refused the Department of Homeland Security’s attempts to help them with security precautions, after hackers obtained and released DNC emails last July.

“I recall very clearly that I was not pleased that we were not in there helping them patch this vulnerability,” he said. 

Members of the House panel repeatedly pressed Johnson on why the Obama administration was slow to go public with their reports on Russia’s role in the cyberattacks.

Johnson defended the former administration’s cautious approach, for fear of “injecting ourselves into a very heated campaign,” he said.

Without referring to Trump directly, Johnson noted that in particular, “one of the candidates, as you recall, was predicting that the election was going to be ‘rigged’ in some way.”

But Johnson said that he had raised the issue with other intelligence officials and with state election officials over several months. And when he and James Clapper, then the director of national intelligence, released a public statement about the matter on Oct. 7, Johnson said that the public and the media largely ignored it. “It did not get the attention it should have” because it came on the same day as the bombshell tape of Trump bragging about sexual assault, he said.

Much of the problem in the administration’s inadequate response was that the sophistication of the Russian interference was “unprecedented,” he said, particularly their ability to “dump information into the public space to influence the election.”   

“No one knew how far the Russians were going to go,” Johnson said, adding that “in retrospect, I should have bought a sleeping bag and camped out in front of the DNC.”

While Johnson testified that he had no evidence suggesting the Russians directly altered votes, he was still deeply concerned and had made the issue “a top priority” during his time at the DHS.

“We were pushing information out the door to everybody,” he said.

Johnson testified that throughout the early fall, he had offered cybersecurity support to state election officials, but some ignored the DHS’ warnings.

When asked for his recommendations, Johnson said that the onus was on state election officials to adopt greater cybersecurity protections and suggested grants to fund them.

Johnson’s warnings of future Russian interference echoed those of fired FBI director James Comey, who told the Senate intelligence committee earlier this month that the issue was “about as unfake as you can possibly get” — a clear reference to Trump’s claim that it was “fake news.”

Johnson on Wednesday shed light on his working relationship with Comey, describing Comey as “the cop, and I am the fireman,” referring to the FBI’s role in identifying threats and the DHS’s role in “patching vulnerabilities, detecting bad actors in the system.”

But he did criticize the delay in communication about the DNC hack between the FBI and DHS, noting that “there were glitches, instances where we did not communicate as effectively as we could have.”

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  Netflix's New Feature Is One Big 'Choose Your Own Adventure' Game

With Netflix’s cool new feature, kids are in control.

The streaming service launched “Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale” on Tuesday to introduce its new “interactive storytelling” feature. Throughout the program, which stars the feline character from the “Shrek” film series, kids will be prompted to decide where the plot should go next. For example, in “Puss in Book,” viewers can choose whether the bear characters should be “friends or foes” with Puss in Boots. 

Netflix’s next interactive storytelling program, “Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile,” will launch on July 14.

The press release for the feature pointed out the way many kids interact with shows already. With interactive storytelling, though, they have a direct impact on what they’re watching. Or as Netflix director of product innovation Carla Engelbrecht Fisher told Variety, it’s “putting viewers in the driver’s seat.”

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  Here Are Some Of The People Who Could Replace Travis Kalanick As Uber CEO

Embattled Uber founder Travis Kalanick resigned as CEO on Tuesday after five investors reportedly requested he step down. The task of finding a replacement to lead the ride-hailing giant begins now. 

I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight,” Kalanick said in a statement to The New York Times.

His departure was a long time coming. An onslaught of sexual harassment and discrimination allegations have placed Kalanick’s leadership tactics in doubt.

A group of senior executives have been running the show since Kalanick announced an indefinite leave of absence last week. But their plates are full, since Uber also needs to fill the roles of chief operating officer, chief financial officer, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of engineering.

Here are some of the people who have been floated as potential replacements for Kalanick:

Garrett Camp

He’s Uber’s co-founder and current chairman. His longstanding connection to the company would make him a pretty obvious choice.

“In a highly competitive market it is easy to become obsessed with growth, instead of taking the time to ensure you’re on the right path,” he wrote Tuesday in a Medium post. “Over the years we have neglected parts of our culture as we have focused on growth. But what matters now is that we know what needs to be changed.”

Ryan Graves

Graves was the ride-sharing app’s first CEO. Once known as the company’s “Mr. Nice Guy,” he led Uber through its first few years of success and then took a back seat when Kalanick took the reins. 

But there are also reports that Graves, too, may be asked to step down. He might be affected by Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s investigation of Uber, since he was the head of human resources when Susan Fowler, the woman who blogged about sexual harassment at the company, was employed there.

Arianna Huffington

Although only a board member since last year, HuffPost’s former editor-in-chief has taken on an outsize role in navigating the company through its myriad crises in the last few months, all the while becoming one of Kalanick’s closest confidantes.

In February, she spearheaded Holder’s investigation of workplace practices. It also certainly doesn’t hurt to have a woman acting as the public face of a company plagued with allegations of misogyny. 

Bill Gurley

Gurley is an Uber board member and partner at venture capital firm Benchmark ? one of the five investors who pushed for Kalanick’s resignation. He tweeted his appreciation for Kalanick’s accomplishments late on Tuesday and was one of the former CEO’s most trusted advisers. But he’s also been known as one of the primary actors working to clean the company up, and called for Holder’s investigation of Uber. 

Jeff Holden

Holden has been in charge of products since 2014 and is behind some of the company’s forward-looking initiatives, like UberPool and self-driving cars. Flying taxis are next on his agenda, he said earlier this year.

The CEO role isn’t Uber’s only vacancy. Take a look at how much the company’s top leadership has crumbled in the last six months: 

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  McDonald's Customers Lose Patience With Long Wait Times For Quarter Pounder

Tracy Moore grew impatient as she waited for a Quarter Pounder recently in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant in central Dallas.

The burger, made with fresh beef and billed as hotter and juicer than the original made from a frozen patty, is part of the company’s effort to serve tastier food.

But after about four minutes, it was Moore who was steamed. Like other customers who’d ordered the new Quarter Pounder at the restaurant’s drive-through, she was asked to pull into a parking space and wait.

“If it’s going to be that long every time, I won’t order it. I’d go” elsewhere, said Moore, who hits the drive-through every morning for a Coke and dines frequently at the chain.

The tradeoff between time and taste looms large for McDonald’s Corp as it works to win back business lost to rivals. The introduction of cooked-to-order, quarter-pound burgers made with fresh beef is part of the chain’s attempt to improve food quality. Announced in March, the new sandwiches are already in selected test markets and are expected to be served in all U.S. stores by mid-2018.

But the success of the initiative may well hinge on satisfying important customers like Moore: speed-minded drive-through patrons who account for 70 percent of the firm’s U.S. revenue.

An on-demand Quarter Pounder takes about a minute longer to land in a customer’s hands than does the original sandwich, according to restaurant managers and analysts, even though fresh beef fries up faster than frozen patties. That’s because grilling begins only after a patron orders. Traditional Quarter Pounders were often cooked up in batches ahead of time.

Every second counts in the fast-food business. McDonald’s drive-through speeds already lag those of some major competitors, according to one widely watched survey. McDonald’s does not share such data, but company representatives told Reuters earlier this year that service times have slowed.

Still, company executives are bullish on prospects for the popular Quarter Pounder, which accounts for about one-fourth of McDonald’s U.S. burger sales. At an investor conference last month, Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook said the changeover has created fewer complications than expected and that restaurant operators are on board.

Some industry veterans, however, are skeptical. Richard Adams, a former Southern California McDonald’s franchisee-turned-consultant, says convenience is paramount for the chain’s patrons, who may go elsewhere if speed deteriorates.

“Any time the cooking process begins after the customer orders, the service time will be slower,” Adams said.

The fresh-beef initiative comes as pressure builds on McDonald’s kitchens.

Adams says restaurant crews already are juggling trickier menu items thanks to the recent national launch of McDonald’s new “Signature Crafted” sandwich line, which allows customers to pick their own meat, buns and toppings. “Signature Crafted” quarter-pound burgers also will use fresh beef as it becomes available nationwide.

McDonald’s cooks could be further strained by the chain’s embrace of self-service kiosks and mobile ordering. The technology shaves ordering times, but can create new bottlenecks by swamping kitchens at peak hours, as companies such as Starbucks Corp have learned.


The revamped Quarter Pounder is the latest move by Easterbrook to modernize the 60-year-old chain and reverse four straight years of traffic declines.

It’s also a direct shot at Wendy’s Co, Whataburger and In-N-Out. Those fresh-burger chains are among the fast-food rivals that McDonald’s says have siphoned 500 million U.S. transactions from its stores since 2012.

Easterbrook’s introduction of all-day breakfast in October 2015 was a big hit and has helped lift sales. The company’s stock price is up more than 25 percent so far this year.

Analysts expect the fresh-beef push, along with moves to ditch artificial ingredients in popular items such as chicken nuggets, to bolster sales by addressing consumer demand for simpler, “cleaner” and fresher ingredients.

The Quarter Pounder makeover has won early support from analysts and McDonald’s franchisees in the heart of cattle country, where the product has been tested for almost two years in about 400 stores in Oklahoma and Texas.

Three Dallas-area McDonald’s managers who spoke with Reuters estimated the switch has improved their Quarter Pounder sales from 20 percent to 50 percent, albeit aided by advertising and coupons.

“We’ve been stealing customers from a Whataburger down the street,” said Edgar Meza, a manager at a McDonald’s restaurant in an upscale neighborhood in north Dallas. Officials at Texas-based Whataburger, a regional chain, declined to comment.

Some burger lovers are taking notice too.

“They’re a little juicier,” said Bob Riley, who was polishing off a Quarter Pounder at an outlet near Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood, his third McDonald’s meal of the week.

“I think Wendy’s woke them up,” he said.

Joe Jasper, a former McDonald’s executive who owns 20 restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, has been deeply involved in the effort. He described the new Quarter Pounder as “the best burger in our industry, but more importantly, (one delivered) at the speed of McDonald’s.”

Trouble is, the “speed of McDonald’s” isn’t as fast as that of many of its competitors.

The average service time at a McDonald’s drive-through last year was 208.2 seconds, according to a study published by QSR magazine, an industry publication, using data from SeeLevel HX, an Atlanta-based business intelligence firm. That’s well behind industry leader Wendy’s at 169.1 seconds, according to the survey. Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts and KFC all beat McDonald’s too.

McDonald’s narrowed the gap with Wendy’s by one-third from 2012 to 2016 by adding more drive-through lanes at some stores and by scrapping products such as “snack wraps,” tortilla-wrapped sandwiches that proved time-consuming to prepare. Still, its average drive-through service time last year was almost 20 seconds slower than it was in 2012, according to SeeLevel HX data.

[For a look at drive-through speeds, see tmsnrt.rs/2sLWMqW]

Claudia Barcenas, assistant manager at a McDonald’s off Dallas’ Central Expressway, says her counter and drive-through staff inform patrons that fresh-beef Quarter Pounders can be delayed, particularly if the sandwiches are ordered well-done.

“We have to explain that it takes a bit longer. Perhaps a minute,” Barcenas said.

Whether that’s worth it for McDonald’s customers remains to be seen as the experiment goes nationwide.

Juan Rodriguez waited on his lunch break for a fresh-beef Quarter Pounder at the drive-through of another Dallas McDonald’s outlet about nine miles from Barcenas’ store. At the three-minute mark, the 20-year-old was getting restless.

“If it’s better, I don’t mind waiting,” Rodriguez said. “But if it tastes the same, then no.”

(Editing by Marla Dickerson)

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


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