Facebook Sued by the IRS for $9B in Unpaid Taxes

THEVERGE – Feb 19 – Facebook is facing a lawsuit from the US Internal Revenue Service, which claims the social network owes $9B in unpaid taxes. The lawsuit went to trial in a San Francisco court on Tuesday, and the crux of the case is a 2010 deal between Facebook and an Irish subsidiary it uses to shuffle money around internationally. The IRS alleges Facebook undervalued the intellectual property it sold to the subsidiary, thereby dodging billions in taxes. In 2016, the EU ordered Apple to pay $15.4B in back taxes to Ireland after ruling that Apple had received illegal tax benefits from the country.

by Jay Peters
See full article at The Verge


Plenty of Fish Announces Industry’s First Member Advisory Council

PR NEWSWIRE – Feb 20 – Dating app Plenty of Fish is launching an advisory council comprised of real users. The Plenty of Fish team is for U.S. members who are passionate about sharing ideas and providing their insights on dating and the online dating experience. Members will receive early access to new products and features to test and inform product updates and will attend planning meetings with fellow members and POF executives.

See full article at PR Newswire

See the top news on POF


OkCupid India: We Facilitate 25K Coffee Dates Per Week

EXCHANGE4MEDIA – Feb 20 – „In India, OkCupid has over a million users and we facilitate 25K coffee dates per week,“ said Shruti Gupta, Brand Manager. Asked how important is India market in the global scenario, she said, „Unlike the markets in the west where dating is a norm, the concept is still in its nascent stages in India. However, social acceptability around dating is definitely increasing. India has one of the youngest populations in the world with over a third of its population (400M is born after 1982)“.

by Anjali Thakur
See full article at Exchange4Media

See the top news on OkCupid


Hinge CEO Justin McLeod: „5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a CEO“

THRIVE GLOBAL – Feb 20 – Justin grew up in Louisville, KY. After a few years in consulting, he attended Harvard Business School, then founded Hinge in 2011.

  • It’s not the idea that counts. It’s the people and the market. What really drove our success was the group of smart, creative, loyal, gritty people I recruited, and the fact we were in an undervalued market.
  • Be a coach, not a commander. I had to learn to stop directing people, and start coaching them, setting clear objectives, then asking how I can help them get there and show I believe they can!
  • Focus on the customer, not the competition.
  • Spend less time debating, more time experimenting. Survey, prototype, test.
  • Routines and rules are the key to sanity. Daily yoga, meditation, and journaling (to zoom out and get perspective), and a weekly date with myself (usually ecstatic dance) and a date with my wife. Kate and I have a deal where neither of us spend time on our computers or devices from 8pm to 8am – every day!

My vision is for Hinge to not just be a dating platform, but a trusted expert that guides our members through the process of connecting with the person best for them. Hinge Labs is launching at the beginning of 2020 to address this.

by Carly Martinetti
See full article at Thrive Global

See the top news on Hinge


Snopes Retort to OPW Pulling Post About Firefly/Noosphere/Cupid

OPW – Feb 20 – Yesterday we received a take-down request for our sharing of this The Verge article (which quoted this Snopes article) with the threat of a lawsuit. Inaccurate! stated the take-down request. A few hours later I got this email from the investigative journalist and former NASA employee Alex Kasprak, author of the original Snopes article. – Mark Brooks

I noticed you published Noosphere Ventures‘ lackluster response to my detailed two year investigation regarding Max Polyakov’s apparent current involvement in online dating. For the record, the claims made in their „statement“ that you have republished refute absolutely nothing in my reporting, including these crucial facts:

  • Together Networks maintains the website (and many others) we specifically caught using photos without their owner’s consent to get people to signup for subscription packages. Together Networks USA’s current company director, according to the State of California, is the Head of HR for Noosphere Ventures and personal assistant to Max Polyakov and/or Mark Watt.
  • Together Networks USA has the same corporate address as Noosphere Ventures.
  • Both principle partners of Noosphere Ventures – Max Polyakov and Mark Watt – were once if not currently shareholders in the BVI-registered shell company Phoenix Holdings Limited, which owns the bulk of the past Cupid plc catalog.
  • The fact that Max Polyakov resigned his directorship of Cupid plc in 2012 is wholly irrelevant to the issue at hand since it is public knowledge he purchased many if not most of these websites back through his firm Grendall Investments Limited in 2014.
  • The company „which may or may not have a similar previous name“ to „Firefly Aerospace“ was „Firefly Aerospace UK.“ The director of that company (now Arosky Services Limited), Laura Edison, served as the legal counsel for the former Cupid and current Polyakov-associated website named Uniform Dating in a recent legal dispute. Edison was a contracted general counsel to Noosphere Ventures – according to her own Linkedin profile – until we asked her about it. That item was removed from her profile following our request for comment.

Mr. Polyakov and Mr. Watt may have an intimidating legal team and PR staff, but that does not mean they can pay for their own version of reality.

Alex Kasprak