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A photo below, courtesy of Cris Moffitt, shows a sliver of the thousands of bikes at the yard in North Carolina. Keaks (Kirsten Korosec) has been working on a big(ish) story about JUMP for the last week. Meanwhile, we noticed Superpedestrian, the startup that makes self-diagnosing electric scooters, has teamed up with Zagster.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. scaled back deliveries and adjusted routes in cities including Chicago and Los Angeles, Apple kept some outlets shut, while Target Corp. extended store closures nationwide after the death of George Floyd sparked demonstrations across the country.“We are monitoring the situation closely and in a handful of cities we adjusted routes or scaled back typical operations to ensure the safety of our teams,” an Amazon spokeswoman told Bloomberg News.Apple had reopened about 130 of its about 270 stores following the coronavirus pandemic, and most of them were closed on Sunday, the company said in a statement.Protests around the country are complicating operations for companies from Amazon, which has been one of the few consumer-facing companies to generate new business during the pandemic, to Target, which still retains a heavy bricks-and-mortar presence.Based in Minneapolis where Floyd died in police custody, Target had already closed 32 stores in the area. On Sunday, it said it was closing dozens more around the nation, at least temporarily.“We are a community in pain,” Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell said in a statement shortly after Floyd’s death. “That pain is not unique to the Twin Cities -- it extends across America.”In Chicago and Los Angeles, Amazon delivery drivers received messages Saturday night that said: “If you are currently out delivering packages, stop immediately and return home. If you have not completed your route, please return undelivered packages to the pick-up location whenever you’re able to do so.”Amazon was “in close contact with local officials and will continue to monitor the protests,” and would only re-open delivery stations when it’s safe and will plan delivery routes by monitoring demonstrations in every zip code, according to messages reviewed by Bloomberg.(Adds Apple from first paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
This is forcing data center operators to upgrade their capacities and capabilities to handle the increased load. Chinese giant Alibaba recently announced that it will spend $28 billion to bolster its data center infrastructure over the next three years in preparation for a post-COVID-19 world. Market research firm TechNavio estimates that spending on data center construction could increase at an annual rate of 10% through 2024.
For years, Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) has burned billions in cash to fund its giant appetite for new content. Below are some quotes from Netflix bears. "[Netflix] will probably grow total paid subs 15% in 2020, vs. 20% in 2019.
It goes without saying that two of the very best companies in the world are Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL), the parent company of Google. In fact, Google and Amazon ranked Nos. Amazon and Alphabet tend to compete more and more with each other as time marches on, but each company still has a dominant market share of their respective core businesses: e-commerce for Amazon; digital advertising for Google.
President Donald Trump’s increasingly heated feud with Twitter may be good for social media impressions, but may not be legally enforceable, according to experts.
Three Buffett stocks, in particular, are trouncing Berkshire in 2020. While the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt many companies, Amazon's business has thrived. The impact of the global novel coronavirus outbreak has turned Amazon's business upside down -- mostly in a good way.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As the coronavirus forced the western world into lockdown in March, humans were confronted with a moral test. Drawing on centuries of philosophical thought that produced the world’s competing modern value systems, each person had to decide which measures were justified to limit the medical and economic carnage. There was plenty of possibility for discord.Initially, people and leaders coalesced around a version of the biblical philosophy of the “golden rule” — that we should not do to others what we wouldn’t want done to ourselves. That was the basis for asking everyone to make personal and economic sacrifices to limit the death and suffering of the weakest and oldest. Governments of the left and the right made that choice, strongly supported by religious leaders up to and including the Pope.At the time, I wrote, “We are all Rawlsians now,” invoking the Harvard philosopher John Rawls who 50 years ago put a version of the golden rule at the heart of his influential theory of justice.I was wrong. Now the brief weeks of Rawlsian unity have given way to a bitter factional and cultural battle, with rival moral principles hurled like metaphysical grenades. Different countries have taken antithetical approaches while the U.S. has split itself almost into two nations, divided between those who wear masks and those who do not.“Quarantine is when you restrict movement of sick people. Tyranny is when you restrict the movement of healthy people,” Meshawn Maddock, an unmasked protester in Michigan proclaimed to Fox News.Masks, which were not at first recommended by the public-health authorities in the U.S., have created the deepest fault line. “Mask-shaming” started as a tactic by government-supporting mask-wearers. Early in the lockdowns, Jorge Elorza, a law professor who serves as the Democratic mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, encouraged people to speak up if they saw someone in public without a face mask. “You should socially shame them, so they fall in line,” he said.Meanwhile in Texas, chat-show host Brenden Dilley donned a Trump 2020 cap and took to Twitter to explain why he was not wearing a mask. “Better to be dead than a dork,” he said, throwing in some F-bombs for emphasis. “Yes, I mean that literally. I’d rather die than look like an idiot right now, you weakling.”It took North Dakota’s Republican governor Doug Burgum to remind citizens tearfully that those wearing masks might be doing so to protect a loved one who was vulnerable.What has gone wrong? What has the virus revealed about the moral principles that motivate us? The story can be told with the aid of an allegory, a novel by Steven Lukes, a British political philosopher who now teaches at New York University, called "The Curious Enlightenment of Professor Caritat."Professor Caritat’s JourneyLukes’s allegory is simple but devastatingly effective. Professor Caritat is an expert in enlightenment philosophy in the country of Militaria, which emphasizes order above all else, and sounds like contemporary China. He is imprisoned for his subversive beliefs. Members of the opposition spring him from jail and send him on a trek through the neighboring countries of Utilitaria, Communitaria and Libertaria in search of the best way to run society. Everybody knows that they hate the military government, but what should they replace it with?These countries follow three great schools of moral thought:Utilitarians, following the Victorian reformer Jeremy Bentham, who believe in pursuing the greatest good for the greatest number, even if such an approach may bring harm to some. Communitarians, who believe that the sense of moral duty is rooted in a sense of community, and look for a concept of “common good.” Libertarians, who believe that individual freedom is paramount, and therefore resist attempts at paternalism or coercion. In Lukes’s words, “Each of these countries takes one of these ideas to an extreme to the exclusion of the others, and each one is a dystopia.”In Utilitaria, which is gleaming and prosperous, the elderly are routinely put to a humane death. Abortion is legal but decided on by the government, which rules whether any given birth would aid the general happiness.In Communitaria, everyone is divided into narrow camps, and it is almost impossible to do or say anything without causing offense (which will be punished as a crime).In Libertaria, which calls the contemporary U.S. to mind, citizens are left alone, which means that many are left to sleep on the street, city centers are full of sleaze, and a few rich people benefit from gambling.It is a brilliant tour of moral thought, and Lukes told me the book was most influenced by Isaiah Berlin, the 20th-century British philosopher and essayist. Both Berlin and Rawls were present at the lectures in which Lukes first told the fables of the different countries that would become the novel.“The book is really about pluralism: Is there an irreducible conflict between these values?” Lukes said. “Rawls is an attempt to somehow bring them together to give an overarching theory that somehow encompasses everything. You could contrast that with Berlin’s position that these are irreducible conflicts that aren’t going to be resolved, because that’s what life is. Instead you just have to choose what your ultimate values are.”By the end of Lukes’s allegory, Professor Caritat has come around to the Berlin point of view: The conflicts between these competing moral systems can’t be resolved.And looking at the real-life allegory acting itself out in the U.S., Berlin again seems to have been proven right. We are not arriving at a position of moral coherence, but instead confront moral conflict. How did this happen?Rawlsian PhantomsIt’s evident now that those early days of Rawlsian unity were an illusion. Yes, the calls for sacrifice to protect the elderly certainly sounded as though motivated by the golden rule. But in the months since, the scandal of those abandoned to die in nursing homes on both sides of the Atlantic has only grown.Moreover, getting people to sacrifice in the name of the golden rule requires trust in governments to make sure that those sacrifices are not wasted. In many places, that doesn’t exist. The deepening inequality across the western world would have been anathema to Rawls. In the U.S., long-standing casualties of inequality such as African-Americans and Native Americans turned out to be particularly susceptible to the virus, so the pandemic began to reinforce existing feelings of injustice.Other than in countries where the state could rely on its ability to coerce people, like China, lockdowns worked most effectively under governments perceived to be trustworthy and efficient, like Germany or Norway. In Norway, people believed that enforced self-isolation would pay off. In the U.S., public-health failures blazed a trail of skepticism.When governments are perceived to be unfair or inconsistent, Rawlsian discipline breaks down. Exhibit A is the remarkable story of Dominic Cummings, the Svengali-like political adviser to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Britain has a strong tradition of accepting authority, and the population had complied with a strict lockdown with minimal protest — until it was revealed that Cummings had broken the lockdown rules to drive 260 miles with his wife and child when he thought the family might have contracted Covid-19. It led to an outcry, especially as Johnson refused to dismiss him, claiming that Cummings had been concerned for his family and was entitled to use his discretion (opening the way for many more Britons to stop social distancing), and Cummings refused to apologize.For the many Britons who had gone without funerals or visits to elderly parents, this was a fatal philosophical blow. If Cummings had broken the golden rule, and the government had supported him, there was no reason why they should follow. The ministers defending Cummings were “telling the nation that Dom’s only crime was loving his family too much — and so implicitly telling every Briton who obeyed the rules that they loved their family too little,” the columnist Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian.A final problem for self-sacrifice a la Rawls was that people felt that governments were asking too much, stretching the golden rule too far. Ashley Radcliffe, a stay-at-home mother from the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Woods put it this way in an interview with the Detroit Free Press:The restrictions are too much. People want to work. They want their lives back. In the first couple weeks I was like, 'We're all staying in.' And we all did. Then that kind of wore off. She has restarted neighborhood play dates for her 5-year-old son. Liberty? Which Kind?Resisting authority is one thing. Fighting for liberty is another. Much depends upon exactly what liberty means, and Isaiah Berlin framed that moral debate. In a famous 1959 essay called "Two Concepts of Liberty," Berlin suggested that libertarians practiced either “positive” liberty, which entails the active freedom to do something, or “negative” liberty, which is freedom from interference. His point was that these two kinds of liberty are different. The U.S. Constitution is rooted in negative liberty, the freedom to be left alone. But the protesters who entered the Michigan capitol in Lansing with assault rifles in April and May were plainly pursuing positive liberty. Berlin, who was born in Latvia in 1909 when it was part of the Russian empire, believed that opened doors to totalitarianism.What, in any case, do the protesters want? A mandatory lockdown clearly violates any definition of liberty, but can this really be said of requiring people to wear a mask when entering a shop? In one incident, a man was caught on video demanding the right to enter a Costco unmasked “because I woke up in a free country.” In Albany, Minnesota, chanting protesters tried to pull the mask off a reporter, asserting their positive liberty to violate his negative liberty. Various people have been caught on camera deliberately coughing or spitting on people asking them to put on a mask.Libertarians often face criticism that they are justifying selfishness, and disregard for others. Such incidents confirm the stereotype and embarrass many libertarians. Resistance against incursions by an untrustworthy state does not justify violence against people who wear masks, or even going maskless in public. As Lukes put it: “You are putting other people in danger and you are putting yourself in danger. If liberty just means no restraint on something we might want to do, there are obvious deprivations of liberty that are totally justified. Like driving drunk.”Positive liberty also violates many American conservatives’ respect for their community and its norms, even if they share an instinctive distrust of over-reaching governments. Gary Adkisson, publisher of the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, wrote of how he would arrive dirty from work in the fields at a store with a “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service” sign: There were rarely any other shoppers there, but my grandfather or uncles would not let us go inside shirtless or shoeless. It didn’t matter that no one else was there, or that the shirts were no cleaner than our skin, or that we would take them off as soon as we left. We wore them because that’s what the proprietor required. It was a matter of respect.Opposition to lockdowns and masks is led by libertarians, but — much as Berlin might have predicted — self-isolation also runs afoul of communitarian and utilitarian ideals. Communitarians, on the right as well as the left, sense that lockdowns violate traditions and harm the community. Asa Hutchinson, the Republican governor of Arkansas, was articulating a communitarian spirit when he said on a Sunday talk show: “We take the virus very seriously. It’s a risk. It causes death. But you can’t cloister yourself at home. That is just contrary to the American spirit.”And of course there is the powerful utilitarian argument that lockdowns are wrecking the economy. That can be attacked as preferring profit to people, but record unemployment numbers suggest a real risk of a mental health crisis that could counterbalance the public-health benefits of reducing the Covid-19 death toll. In Italy, where the disease swamped hospitals for a time, doctors resorted to utilitarian rationing of care.None of the great schools of philosophy appears to have been deemed adequate on its own for the great test posed by the pandemic. Principles and TribesIf no version of moral philosophy has triumphed, what ideas are left standing? Is rhetorical allegiance to principles, such as the golden rule, liberty or the “American way,” just a cover for tribalism? As the virus has so far hit the geographical regions where one tribe of Americans lives, while mostly sparing the other, principles tend to rationalize behavior instead of guiding it. For people in the densely populated cities of the Acela corridor, who tend to be politically liberal, wearing masks and following government instructions seems like a good idea. For the more sparsely populated states in the middle of the country, whose citizens are philosophically more inclined to distrust the government, it is different.“People can vote or take political positions for a whole variety of motives,” said Lukes. “But nevertheless, when it comes to justifying their ideas they reach out for principles. Whether those principles are truly important to them is different.”And that is what has happened. Governments, with some exceptions, couldn’t persuade their people that they were really following the golden rule and treating everyone with equal respect. They also failed to prove that it was worth doing so. Protesters lost their patience, and misused the notion of liberty as a cudgel against lockdowns, while also bringing valid utilitarian, communitarian and libertarian criticisms into the fray. All may claim to be motivated by principle. But in the U.S., at least, people seem to be taking refuge in tribes, and joining those with whom they already share grievances.At this point, it looks as though Isaiah Berlin has been proven right.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.John Authers is a senior editor for markets. Before Bloomberg, he spent 29 years with the Financial Times, where he was head of the Lex Column and chief markets commentator. He is the author of “The Fearful Rise of Markets” and other books.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The company does not expect to need additional staff for the undertaking, Twitter spokeswoman Liz Kelley said on Saturday. Fact-checking groups said they welcomed Twitter's new approach, which adds a "get the facts" tag linking to more information, but said they hoped the company would more clearly lay out its methodology and reasoning. On Friday, Chief Executive Jack Dorsey acknowledged the criticism, saying he agreed fact-checking "should be open source and thus verifiable by everyone."
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Like so many Americans, I didn’t get much sleep Friday night. All night long, I kept refreshing my Twitter feed, watching and re-watching the videos of the rioting that took place in cities nationwide in reaction to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier in the week.I saw a New York police officer throwing a young protester to the ground, calling her a vile name as he did; a police car going up in flames in Dallas; an assault on the CNN building in Atlanta; a police officer in Louisville, Kentucky, shooting a pepper-spray ball at a camera operator. And on and on.My feelings watching the riots unfold weren’t much different from most people’s: horror, revulsion and a powerful sadness that this is what it had come to, perhaps inevitably, three and a half years into the presidency of Donald Trump. I recalled watching the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968. I thought about Ferguson, Missouri, and about the way so many police forces across the country seem to operate with impunity. I thought about that appalling tweet the president sent earlier on Friday: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”And I thought about one other thing: Philadelphia in late September 1918. The U.S. had entered World War I the year before, and the city had planned an enormous parade — It would stretch two miles — to raise money for the war effort. The 1918 pandemic, which would eventually kill an estimated 675,000 Americans, was in its early stages, just beginning to jump from military bases, where it began, to the broader population.Several doctors urged the city to cancel the parade because the hundreds of thousands of onlookers it would attract would surely cause the virus to spread widely. John M. Barry, in “The Great Influenza,”(1) describes what happened in the city after the parade:On October 1, the third day after the parade, the epidemic killed more than one hundred people — 117 — in a single day. That number would double, triple, quadruple, sextuple. Soon the daily death toll from influenza alone would exceed the city’ average weekly death toll from all causes — all illnesses, all accidents, all criminal acts combined.On Friday night, the current pandemic seemed to be forgotten. Most police officers either wore face shields or masks, but most protesters did not. They crowded together, stumbled over one another as they ran from the police, engaged in shoving matches and more, ignoring weeks of warnings about the importance of social distancing.In the heat of the moment, it’s understandable, I suppose, that angry protesters would forget that we are in the midst of a pandemic. But the consequence is likely to be severe. In many of the cities where the rioting took place, it had begun to seem as if the worst was behind them, with the number of hospitalizations and deaths declining steadily. There is no question that adherence to social-distancing guidelines, the use of masks, regular hand-washing and the cancellation of professional sports and other events that draw crowds have played a huge role in getting the pandemic under some semblance of control.Over the next two weeks, as those infected during the riots show symptoms — and spread the virus to others — those gains are likely to be reversed. People have a right to be angry about Floyd’s needless death. But an upsurge in Covid-19 deaths is likely to be a result of the riots. It may not be as bad as Philadelphia in 1918, but it’s not going to be good.I spent a good portion of last week reading papers by economists that attempted to calculate how the country can reopen in a way that would maximize economic activity while minimizing Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths. Although the papers didn’t necessarily agree on the best way to proceed, they collectively offered hope — that we were far enough along that we could start calculating the best way to get back on our feet. Now, after the riots, those papers may have been wasted effort.I’ve seen suggestions on Twitter that the lockdown was part of the reason the riots took place. “When the only party youth is permitted to attend is a riot, we shouldn’t act surprised when they all show up,” read one tweet. I’m no fan of full-fledged lockdowns, but I don’t think that had much to do with the riots.But I do think Trump’s lack of leadership since the beginning of the pandemic played a role. His refusal to wear a mask or insist on social distancing at his press conferences; his urging red states to reopen well before it was safe; his support of the armed citizens in Michigan who invaded the statehouse because they didn’t want to have their “freedom” curtailed — they all sent a message that he viewed the measures being urged by scientists as examples of “political correctness.” A real leader would have reinforced the message that measures aimed at tamping down a killer virus, however inconvenient, were in the best interest of everyone.Without that reinforcement from a trusted leader, it’s been all too easy for angry protesters to forget that we are still in the middle of a pandemic and that people who don’t take precautions can still die. Some surely will in the coming weeks.(1) The full title is: “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.”This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Joe Nocera is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He has written business columns for Esquire, GQ and the New York Times, and is the former editorial director of Fortune. His latest project is the Bloomberg-Wondery podcast "The Shrink Next Door."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Online sales have exploded during the coronavirus pandemic, as consumers try to stay home more. Online sales at Walmart, Target, and Best Buy in the first quarter increased by 74%, 141%, and 155%, respectively. Meanwhile, the 800-pound gorilla that is Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) continued its steady march, growing global online sales by 24% (Amazon's fiscal quarter ends a month before the other retailers mentioned).
HBO Max made its official entrance into the streaming wars on Wednesday — and its day-one performance highlights how consumers are embracing the new platform.
Twitter (TWTR) reported earnings 30 days ago. What's next for the stock? We take a look at earnings estimates for some clues.
Instagram is going to share some revenue with users. The move could generate billions in revenue for the Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) subsidiary and put it in greater competition with Alphabet's (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) YouTube for both talent and ad sales. For reference, YouTube generated $15 billion in gross revenue last year.
All this news is really one story. It’s about how we’re being distracted from facts and real underlying issues.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- It was a momentous week for social media. After years of trying to have it both ways, Twitter — one of the industry’s major platforms — moved to hold President Donald Trump accountable for the content in his posts under the same rules it applies to the general public. This decision to regulate some of Trump’s most controversial posts has now sparked a blacklash from the president, and spawned a new uncertain chapter for the industry.It all started on Tuesday, when Twitter Inc. added a fact-check warning label to two of president’s posts about mail-in voting. In response, Trump threatened in a set of tweets Wednesday to “strongly regulate or close” down social-media platforms. He followed up by signing an executive order late Thursday that seeks to limit some of the broad liability protection social media companies have under federal law. Undaunted, Twitter escalated the situation early Friday by putting up a notice that obscured one of the president’s posts about protests in Minneapolis, which included the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter said it violated the platform’s rules on “glorifying violence.” The back-and-forth will likely continue, but either way, this is a turning point. Historically, Twitter and Facebook have walked a fine line when regulating content on their platforms, flagging or removing the most egregious posts while turning a blind eye to some polarizing content, including potentially misleading posts from elected officials. Critics have argued social media firms are incentivized to elevate content with binary takes that spur outrage, often with misinformation, as it drives more viral engagement over nuanced discussion with context. On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported Facebook had glossed over internal research that showed its algorithms were feeding users more and more divisive content.Facebook has implemented a fact-checking program that reduces the distribution of false news, while Facebook and Twitter require the removal of hateful and threatening posts and employ algorithms to help them detect and deter the spread of misinformation by the general public. The social media firms have vigorously shuttered posts on anything that threatens physical harm, but have generally shied away from regulating posts from politicians, citing political free speech and newsworthiness factors. So the flagging of Trump’s posts marks a departure.Conspicuously, Facebook has taken a different tack than its competitor. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Fox News this week, “We have a different policy than, I think, Twitter on this,” referring to Twitter’s fact-check labels on the president’s mail-in voting posts. He added his company “shouldn't be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online.” Zuckerberg’s position to shy away from the controversy is curious, given Facebook does have an official policy to regulate anything that could promotes “voter suppression.” Clearly, there is a line there. For Twitter, led by CEO Jack Dorsey, the platform’s actions followed inflammatory tweets from the president in which he posited conspiracy theories alleging, without evidence, that cable-TV news host Joe Scarborough may be involved with a murder decades ago. Twitter’s lack of action on the conspiracy posts spurred wide criticism questioning why Trump was being held to a different standard, versus the average user. If anyone else had tweeted something similar in such a blatant manner against the rules, their account would have likely been suspended or shut down. Twitter’s terms of service clearly says: “Abuse/harassment: You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so.” It seems the added spotlight may have pushed Twitter to move this week.Will it hurt Twitter? The company’s shares have taken a hit, for sure — the stock fell 9 percent in the past three days. But Twitter has had many single days with bigger declines. Moreover, Twitter and Dorsey have endured multiple attacks from the left and right, without seeing users or advertisers flee. Now, with another presidential election just months away, they made a calculated gamble that it was time to take a stand. It will be hard to retreat from here.When the dust settles, Trump’s threats will likely be seen as political theater without any lasting ramifications for Twitter’s business. Technology companies will challenge the president’s executive order in court on the grounds he can’t unilaterally change precedent without Congressional approval. Yes, there may be additional legal fees, but the executive order’s effects aren’t imminent and it will likely get struck down by the courts in time. The irony is, if Twitter does lose its legal protections and can be sued for defamatory content generated by its users, Trump’s Twitter account would be the prime candidate for deleted posts as the company would try to protect itself from lawsuits. Of course, the last thing the president is going to want to do is give up his direct line to his nearly 80 million followers. For all his bluster, he needs Twitter and doesn’t really have the power to shut down the service.As Twitter tightens its policy, it must also make sure its senior executives are held to a higher standard in all their public conduct as well — including vetting its new leadership when they are elevated to crucial policy roles. This is important, so the company doesn’t to open itself up to criticism or perceptions of bias under the current microscope of scrutiny. But at the end of it all, this week’s shift is an important step. Twitter is doing the right thing and that counts for something.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tae Kim is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Barron's, following an earlier career as an equity analyst.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. President Donald Trump unleashed fury at Twitter Inc. this week for fact-checking him and putting a warning label on a message that seemed to invoke violence. But that anger has been channeled through his favorite medium -- Twitter itself -- which is likely to be good for the company’s business, despite Trump’s harangue.“Look at how much he uses Twitter,” said Rich Greenfield, an analyst at Lightshed Partners. “Advertisers want to be where eyeballs are, and people are turning to Twitter for this news.”For years the San Francisco-based company has been under pressure to enforce its content rules against Trump. This week, for the first time, the social network took action in two separate instances. First, it appended a fact-check label to two Trump posts that said mail-in voting would lead to fraud. Then, on Friday, Twitter added a warning filter to other tweets for violating its rules against promoting violence. The actions prompted retaliation from Trump, including more angry tweets and an executive order calling for social media regulations to change.Attention is Twitter’s most valuable asset. Though the company may be facing serious questions about its approach to troublesome content, its revenue comes from the ads it can slot between users’ posts -- the more posts, the more slots Twitter can make money from. During busier news cycles, such as elections and sports events, and even the coronavirus pandemic, new users tend to sign up and spend more time on their feeds. Trump has made Twitter more essential, since much of what the president says shows up on Twitter first.Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey’s job was threatened earlier this year -- not by Trump, but by Elliott Management, an activist investor that called for changes including boosting usage of the product, which is a fraction of Facebook’s size. The company in March reached an agreement with Elliott that set ambitious targets for daily active users, accelerated revenue growth and greater market share in digital advertising. Those goals seemed even tougher in late March, when Twitter slashed its quarterly sales forecast and warned of a loss because marketers were spending less during the economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.The summer Olympics and professional sports leagues may not be giving users a reason to tune in to Twitter right now, but Trump’s tussle with the company is its own kind of must-watch contest.“My guess is that the controversy spurs engagement, or at least doesn’t reduce engagement,” said Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.What’s more, advertisers may appreciate Twitter taking a stronger position on misinformation and harmful content, even if the violator is the president. Advertisers don’t want their content to run alongside anything that could hurt the perception of their products -- a value known as “brand safety.”“Advertisers care about brand safety and truth, and from what I’ve seen, most brands support the actions that Twitter is taking,” said Pete Stein, CEO of Huge, an agency that represents brands including McDonald’s Corp. and Vanguard.That’s also set up a clearer contrast between the company and its social-media peers, most of which have been under fire for lax enforcement against offensive or inappropriate content. Twitter is the first to take action on Trump’s posts. On Facebook Inc.’s main app and Instagram, where Trump made the same posts, the messages remain online with no additional context from the company. Facebook has similar content policies, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg has decided his company should be especially hesitant to weigh in or take action on posts from political leaders.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
In a statement posted to Facebook late Friday afternoon, Mark Zuckerberg offered up an explanation of why his company did not contextualize or remove posts from the accounts associated with President Donald Trump that appeared to incite violence against American citizens. "We looked very closely at the post that discussed the protests in Minnesota to evaluate whether it violated our policies," Zuckerberg wrote. Facebook's position stands in sharp contrast to recent decisions made by Twitter, with the approval of its chief executive, Jack Dorsey, to screen a tweet from the President on Thursday night using a "public interest notice" that indicated the tweet violated its rules glorifying violence.
In an email to Nike (NKE) staff obtained by Yahoo Finance, Nike CEO John Donahoe explained why the company decided to respond via Instagram (FB) to the racially motivated attacks on George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Christian Cooper, and Breonna Taylor.
As protests stemming from the death of George Floyd wrack the nation, a number of leading tech companies have offered their support for demonstrators and funding for social-justice organizations.
Target takes steps to protect its workers and shoppers during the civil unrest sweeping the United States.
• (AMZN) is altering its operations in a “handful of cities,” as protesters continue to demonstrate against police violence across the country, Bloomberg reported. The online retailer is reducing deliveries and shipping routes in cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles and Portland. “We are a community in pain,” Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement.
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