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Twitter didn’t break election law when it restricted a New York Post article about Hunter Biden and a Ukrainian official, the FEC says
- The Federal Election Commission says Twitter acted lawfully in restricting a New York Post article.
- The Post reported in October 2020 that it had a "smoking gun" email from Hunter Biden to a Ukrainian official.
- Twitter acted "for commercial reasons and not for the purpose of influencing an election," the FEC said.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
Twitter was within its rights to censor an October 2020 New York Post article about Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden's son, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
Commissioners unanimously agreed Twitter had acted lawfully in restricting distribution of the article, in which the publication claimed to have obtained a "smoking-gun email" from Hunter Biden to a Ukrainian official, per an FEC statement Tuesday.
Twitter restricted the circulation of the article on its platform shortly after it was published, citing its policy on "distribution of hacked material." The New York Post's account was suspended, and users couldn't tweet links to the story.
The FEC found that in restricting the distribution of the article, Twitter had acted "for commercial reasons and not for the purpose of influencing an election," Vice Chair Allen Dickerson and commissioner James "Trey" Trainor III said in the statement.
Even if Twitter hadn't acted for commercial reasons, its actions would have been protected by the First Amendment, they added.
Trainor and Dickerson also said the FEC, the federal body that enforces campaign finance law, was not the right forum to address the case.
"One need not shrink from the difficult policy questions involved with social media moderation to realize that they are not, at their core, campaign finance issues," they said in their statement.
They recommended Congress as a better forum.
The New York Post published a report in October 2020 in which it claimed to have obtained an email from Biden to a Ukrainian official. The report said a laptop repairman found the data on Biden's laptop and shared it with Rudy Giuliani's attorney.
The Post reported that Giuliani then shared the data with the publication.
Twitter's decision to restrict the circulation of the article sparked outrage, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey later said the company had been wrong to block the story. Twitter then updated its hacked materials policy - it no longer removes or blocks hacked content unless it's being shared directly by the hacker, according to the new policy.
The FEC also found Twitter acted lawfully when it added labels to tweets by then-president Donald Trump encouraging people to vote twice.
Biden appeared to forget Australian PM Scott Morrison’s name, referring to him as ‘that fella down under’ at a joint press conference
- Biden appeared to forget the name of Australia's prime minister during a press conference.
- Biden and Scott Morrison were holding a press conference with Boris Johnson to announce a new defense pact.
- Biden called Morrison "that fella down under," adding: "Thank you very much pal."
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
President Joe Biden appeared to forget the name of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a joint press conference with him, referring to him as "that fella down under."
Biden, Morrison, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a joint virtual press conference on Wednesday to announce a new security partnership between their governments.
-10 News First (@10NewsFirst) September 15, 2021
After Morrison and Johnson had finished speaking, Biden turned to his left to address the screen where Johnson appeared and said: "Thank you Boris."
Turning to his left, where Morrison appeared, Biden said: "I want to thank, uh, that fella down under. Thank you very much pal, I appreciate it, Mr. Prime Minister."
After Morrison gave a thumbs up, Biden started reading from apparently scripted remarks and successfully referred to both prime ministers by their names.
"As Prime Minister Morrison and Prime Minister Johnson said, I want to thank you for this partnership, your vision as we embark together on this strategic mission."
As part of the new partnership, the US, UK, and Australia pledged to cooperate on defense technology in order to "strengthen the technology of each," as Insider's Bryan Metzger and Christopher Woody reported.
A White House official told Politico that countering the threat of China was a key aim of the partnership, though none of the three leaders referred to Beijing during their press conference.
Hello and welcome back to Insider Advertising, your weekly look at the biggest stories and trends affecting Madison Avenue and beyond. I'm Lara O'Reilly, Insider's media and advertising editor. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here.
Email marketers have been nervously awaiting Apple's latest software update, iOS 15, which comes with yet more privacy features set to further discombobulate advertisers. Those include a new feature called Mail Privacy Protection, which prevents senders of emails from using tracking pixels, which will make it tricky to monitor open rates. The official countdown is now on: Apple said this week that iOS 15 would begin rolling out Monday.
On to this week's big advertising news:
- TransUnion to acquire Neustar for $3.1 billion
- Tinder CEO Jim Lanzone is the new boss at Yahoo
- EA's CMO wants to broaden gaming's appeal
What's Neu PussycatThe thematic narrative of the digital advertising industry at the moment is one that's shifting away from the individual targeting of users amid the death of cookies and stricter online-privacy regulation.
So on the face of it, the credit bureau TransUnion's $3.1 billion deal to acquire the data company Neustar goes against the grain.
Matt Spiegel, the executive vice president of marketing solutions and head of TransUnion's media vertical, told me the deal would bolster the company's ability to create identity profiles, help marketers understand their customers, and enable "precision targeting and tools that make that possible on a real-time, on-the-fly basis."
It's an evolution of how TransUnion has long worked with financial-services companies with targeted marketing acquisition campaigns - using credit-score data, for example, to help credit-card companies send direct mail to qualified consumers. Neustar says it gets 2 billion records a month from offline sources like market-research data, loyalty cards, and panels to verify US household data. (Spiegel said that TransUnion didn't use highly regulated credit data in its marketing solutions but that this experience had helped the company keep sensitive data "extremely secure.")
Why should advertisers take notice of this particular acquisition? Matt Barash, the senior vice president of business development at the customer-data platform company Zeotap, told me the Neustar deal ascended TransUnion to pole position in the so-called identity space.
"Over the past two years they've demonstrated an ability to execute on a rollup and now might have the most interesting market position in identity," Barash said of TransUnion. "In a crowded category in the US, they are now leading the conversation."
- Read more: Data giant TransUnion is acquiring marketing firm Neustar for $3 billion. Here are 9 adtech companies transforming how advertisers can zap ads at people and measure whether they work.
Getting in the (Lan)zoneBack in the winter of 2011, Yahoo was in a slump.
CEO Carol Bartz had just been ousted, and speculation was bubbling about who might jump into the hot seat.
Perhaps a media executive like Jim Lanzone, then the president of CBS Interactive?
I recently came across this fun 10-year-old interview with Lanzone, who appeared as a guest on Jason Calacanis' "This Week in Startups" podcast. "I know that they offered you the job, for a fact," Calacanis teased.
Lanzone may not have been the right person for the position then, but 10 years is a long time in media. Yahoo's new owner Apollo Global Management on Friday said it had appointed Lanzone as the new CEO of the storied web brand.
Asked by Calacanis a decade ago about how he'd run Yahoo were he in charge, Lanzone responded: "The first thing is, I think, acceptance of what they actually are."
"They're a freaking portal!" Lanzone said.
He went on to explain that while the word "portal" had become maligned, it's the reason people loved the highly trafficked site - and not necessarily the kind of premium content packages it was pitching to the market at the time.
We'll see whether Lanzone still holds that view when he officially starts in the new role on September 27.
In the meantime... Yahoos are anticipating further management changes. Sources familiar with the matter told Insider that Matt Sanchez, a top product executive across Hearst's magazines and the president of CDS Global, a division of Hearst, had recently left the company to join Yahoo in a senior position, though the exact role couldn't be determined. A Yahoo representative declined to comment; Sanchez couldn't be reached for comment.
In this corner of the newsletter, we're highlighting Insider's latest exclusive CMO interviews.
This week, Insider's senior reporter Tanya Dua caught up with David Tinson, the gaming giant EA's marketing chief. He discussed EA's new creator program, why it's pitching itself as a social platform, and how the company is addressing issues around how the gaming industry as a whole treats women. Here is the full interview.
Gaming has changed a lot in the 20 years you've been at EA. How is the EA of 2021 different from when you started in 2003?
When I started, our audience was probably a couple of hundred million people. Today, it's 3-billion-plus people - approaching half the world's population. We now find ourselves the center of sports, technology, entertainment, and lifestyle, talking to men and women, boys and girls, and people in all corners of the world.
To your point, gaming has become increasingly mainstream. How's that forcing you to change your marketing strategy?
It influences the type of content we create, the messages we're trying to deliver, and ultimately, the experiences we're trying to build. Marketing today is building an end-to-end experience, as opposed to just making a game and creating trailers to market the game. It's about playing, viewing, creating, and sharing.
We're in the money
Some of the biggest nonexecutive salaries Facebook offers are within its marketing department.
Insider took a look at thousands of work-visa applications Facebook filed with the US government over the past year. The disclosures don't include stock grants and aren't necessarily a complete picture of the marketing salaries Facebook offers but nevertheless give a solid insight into the social network's pay scale.
We're seeking nominations for the rising stars of Madison Avenue in 2021; submit your entries by 5 p.m. ET on September 24.
Robinhood's marketing chief, Christina Smedley, is leaving the company after a year - Insider
The Wall Street Journal this week unveiled its "Facebook Files" investigative series that shines a light on flaws at the social network, based on explosive internal documents. The latest dispatch looks at how a 2018 News Feed change meant to boost "meaningful social interactions" - and engagement - instead made the platform "an angrier place." - The Wall Street Journal
Reddit is on pace to double its ad revenue this year to more than $350 million, according to a report citing people familiar with the matter - The Information
The mobile analytics company App Annie has agreed to pay $10 million to settle a securities-fraud investigation - The Verge
Here's how much ads cost on 10 of the biggest streaming TV companies, including HBO Max and Roku - Insider
Won't anyone spare a thought for the targeted ads?! The Association of National Advertisers said in a blog post this week that targeted advertising had been "inaccurately maligned" - MediaPost
See you next week - Lara
- OpenSea said it found evidence of insider NFT trading on its platform and was looking into the matter.
- The company said it has now put policies in place to prevent further insider trading.
- It said an employee was responsible but did not name them.
OpenSea, the non-fungible token platform backed by billionaire Mark Cuban, said it has uncovered evidence of insider trading by an employee in a statement on Wednesday.
An employee had purchased some digital tokens knowing that these were due to be featured on the OpenSea front page before this information was made public, the statement said.
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are unique digital collectible items that reside on a blockchain that can be bought and sold on platforms such as OpenSea and have grown in popularity this year.
Celebrities, sports players and even fashion houses have embraced them and OpenSea is the largest online marketplace for these digital assets. The company has 400,000 registered traders who have made at least one transaction. It logged a record of more than $3 billion in transaction volumes in August alone, according to Dune Analytics data.
"For a new, more open internet that empowers creators and collectors, we will need to bake in trust and transparency into all that we do. We're committed to doing the right thing for our users and earning back the trust of the community we serve," OpenSea said.
The platform did not name which employee was responsible for the insider trading, but one Twitter user named OpenSea employee Nate Chastain, who is head of product, as being at the center of the transactions. Chastain was not immediately available to comment when contacted by Insider.
"Hey @opensea why does it appear @natechastain has a few secret wallets that appears to buy your front page drops before they are listed, then sells them shortly after the front-page-hype spike for profits, and then tumbles them back to his main wallet with his punk on it?" @ZuwuTV's tweet said.
Representatives from OpenSea were not immediately available to comment when contacted by Insider.
US stocks rise on investor confidence in economic outlook, while Chinese property stocks dent Asian equities
- US stocks looked set to open higher after the S&P 500 rose by the most in nearly 3 weeks.
- The Evergrande debt saga is still weighing on sentiment in Asian markets.
- "China markets don't have a lot to cheer about today," an analyst said.
US stocks rose on Thursday as investors concentrated on strong regional manufacturing activity that underpinned confidence in the broader economic outlook, while debt problems at China's second-biggest property developer weighed on Asian equities.
The NY Empire State Manufacturing Index, a gauge for business conditions for New York manufacturers, massively beat expectations in September, jumping to 34.3 from 18.3 in August. Analysts expected a reading of 18.
"That was enough to flush out the pent-up dip buyer demand out there with markets proclaiming the US recovery was back on track," Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA, said.
Investors chose to focus on this piece of data, rather than soft US industrial production figures overnight, which missed expetations.
The S&P 500 rose by its most in nearly 3 weeks on Wednesday, rising 0.8%, as cyclical industries and tech stocks took the index back to within 1.3% of its all-time highs, Deutsche Bank strategists said. The Nasdaq closed 0.8%, finishing higher for the first time in six sessions.
US weekly jobs data and monthly retail sales are due later Thursday.
Asian equities fell as sentiment was still centered around the unfolding collapse of Evergrande after the housing authority notified China's major banks that the property developer won't be able to pay interest payments on loans due September 20.
The Hang Seng Composite Index that tracks properties and construction stocks fell as much as 4.3% at one point. That included big declines for developers like Guangzhou R&F, which plunged 12.2%, and Sunac China, which fell 11.5%.
"Coming after the carnage in gaming stocks this week after the latest government investigation targeted Macau's casinos, China markets don't have a lot to cheer about today," Halley said.
The government in Macau, the only location in China where gambling is legalized, said this week it would begin consultation on a potential overhaul of the industry.
Meanwhile, European stocks traded higher on Wednesday, driven by a 20% jump in Lagardere after French media giant Vivendi said it would buy a stake in the publishing firm.
Oil prices made solid gains after data showed nationwide crude inventories fell more than expected in the latest week, allaying some concern about the demand outlook. Brent crude was last trading 0.2% higher at $75.64 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate rose 0.2% to $72.75 a barrel.
Southwest Airlines is giving fully vaccinated staff 16 hours extra pay – and cutting special sick pay for unvaccinated workers who catch COVID-19, a report says
- Southwest Airlines is giving staff 16 hours extra pay if they show proof they're fully vaccinated, per CNBC.
- Southwest said flight attendants and pilots would receive pay for 13 trip segments, per CNBC.
- The airline is also cutting special sick pay for unvaccinated people who catch COVID-19, per CNBC.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
Southwest Airlines is boosting incentives for staff to get COVID-19 vaccines.
The airline is giving fully vaccinated staff 16 hours extra pay if they show proof of vaccination before November 15, according to a company memo sent Wednesday, first reported by CNBC, The Dallas Morning News, and others.
Southwest said that flight attendants and pilots, who aren't paid hourly, would instead receive pay for 13 trip segments, per CNBC.
The airline also said it would cut quarantine pay protections for unvaccinated people who catch the coronavirus after November 16, per CNBC.
The protections gave employees full pay for up to 10 days if they were exposed to or contracted COVID-19 on the job, per Bloomberg.
These people would still be able to use normal sick pay, the airline said, per CNBC.
"If you have not been vaccinated and choose to do so, this timeline gives you enough time to receive both rounds of a two-series vaccine or the single-dose vaccine," Southwest said in the memo, per CNBC.
CNBC reported that Southwest told staff the new policies were "unrelated" to the vaccination rules President Joe Biden announced September 9, which would require businesses with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccines or weekly testing.
Insider asked Southwest for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.
In August, United Airlines became the first US airline to mandate vaccines for all employees.
Delta said in August that workers who don't get vaccinated would have to pay $200 extra a month for health insurance. The airline said that each worker who was hospitalized with the virus cost it an average of $50,000.
Delta said last week that 20% of its unvaccinated workers chose to get the vaccine within two weeks of it announcing the insurance surcharge.
Just under a quarter of adults in the US are yet to get their first dose of the vaccine, according to CDC data.
Let's get started.
1. SpaceX launched its first all-civilian crew into orbit from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The Inspiration4 mission was the first involving solely amateur astronauts, comprising a billionaire school dropout; a geoscientist; a physician assistant; and an engineer. More on the launch here.
2. An EV startup just beat industry giants in producing an all-electric pickup. Rivian's completion of its truck, the R1T, beat the release of several highly anticipated trucks like Tesla's Cybertruck and Ford's F-150 Lightning. Check out the Rivian R1T.
3. In a leaked email, Microsoft's CEO outlined upcoming leadership changes. Satya Nadella announced a handful of changes now that former AWS exec Charlie Bell is joining the company to oversee a new cybersecurity engineering organization, and will take control of teams previously led by other VPs. Here's what else Nadella said in the internal email.
4. A Denver concert venue will now let you enter by scanning your palm. Using Amazon One's palm-scanning tech, Red Rocks Amphitheatre will let attendees swipe their palms instead of a ticket - the first time the technology has been used outside of Amazon and Whole Foods stores. See how it works.
5. Apple has already stopped selling the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone XR. After announcing the iPhone 13, Apple abruptly stopped selling earlier versions of the phone. These are all the iPhones you can - and cannot - still buy.
6. NASA awarded SpaceX and Blue Origin contracts to make moon lander designs. SpaceX and Blue Origin were among five companies to receive a total of $146 million in contracts to create "sustainable" landers that will regularly send astronauts to the moon. What we know so far.
7. Facebook and Google profited from "abortion reversal" ads that targeted teens. The ads, seen by millions, were selling pills claiming to reverse the effects of drugs taken to initiate an abortion. How the tech giants profited on the ads, which were viewed by teens 700,000 times.
8. Google just finished laying an undersea internet cable between New York and Europe. With landing points in the UK and Spain, the 3,900-mile Grace Hopper cable is set to transport between 340 and 350 terabytes of data per second. More on the massive undersea cable.
9. An Amazon exec called media coverage of the company's performance-review system "fake news." In a recording obtained by Insider, a VP told employees that reports surrounding the company's secretive performance-review system - which we've covered extensively - are fake news. Here's what else we heard in the leaked recording.
10. Some startup founders are saying goodbye to pitch decks - and embracing memos made with Notion. Though pitch decks have long been a way to persuade VCs to back their startups, some savvy founders are instead using Notion, an app that can help create sleek, interactive memos. Why Notion memos may be the new pitch decks.
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Cathie Wood has now dumped $266 million of Tesla shares this month – despite being ultra-bullish on the stock
- Cathie Wood's Ark Invest has now sold more than $260 million of Tesla stock in September.
- That's despite the fact that she thinks Tesla is worth around 300% more than Wednesday's closing price.
- Wood has previously said she likes to take profit on stocks, but Tesla has run into some supply-chain issues.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
Wood's Ark Invest group sold 81,609 shares of the electric-car maker, worth around $62 million, on Wednesday, according to the company's daily trade information.
That takes total Tesla sales by Ark Invest's exchange-traded funds to around $266 million in September, according to Bloomberg calculations.
Ark did not give a reason for the sales. Insider has contacted the company for comment.
However, Wood has previously said that she likes to take profit after a company's stock has gained and to try to buy when they dip.
Wood explained her trading approach to CNBC last year. She said that when there's hype around a stock, "we naturally just take profits because we know we're going to get another opportunity associated with controversy to buy the stock lower."
Read more: Ryan Jacob's flagship tech fund has tripled the S&P 500 and returned 1,876% to investors over 24 years. He told us how he's done it, and 5 stocks he expects to lead his portfolio into the future.
Tesla's share price has risen more than 22% over the last three months, despite having a difficult start for the year.
Wood is highly bullish on the Elon Musk-led company, which remains Ark Invest's single biggest holding and made up 10.5% of the $26 billion Ark Innovation ETF as of Wednesday.
She told Yahoo Finance that she thinks the car maker is worth around $3,000, saying she's pleased with its growing market share. Tesla closed at $755,83 on Wednesday.
However, Tesla has been caught up in the global supply-chain problems that are hitting businesses in the US and Europe as economies rapidly reopen.
Company CEO Musk tweeted early in September that "super crazy supply chain shortages" were delaying its new Roadster model until 2023.
China Money Network’s DealShot provides detailed information on venture capital and private equity deals in China on a daily basis. Here you can find out where Chinese investors have been investing their money each workday.
DealShot: 18 Deals Eclipsing $540 Million Counting CDH Investments, HuaYiVentures And More comes from China Money Network: Primary Data for China's Primary Markets! All Rights Reserved.