April 13, 2018
All eyes in Silicon Valley were glued to C-SPAN as Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of a largely tech-illiterate congress, and Elon Musk laughed to bank as the SpaceX valuation sky-rocketed to $ 24 billion. Meanwhile, as the rest of Washington DC tried to wrap their heads around GDPR and data regulation, and utilized Zuckerberg as a dictionary (“Sorry, but what are “pipes?”), Donald Trump unleashed the barking dogs on the US Postal Service. The president issued an executive order late last night, aimed at evaluating the U.S. Postal Service, following his crusade against Jeff Bezos and Amazon.
In other words, it’s been an exceptionally busy week for the tech industry. I’ve unpacked the Zuckerberg hearings a bit, but it’s still worth it to look at everything the Facebook CEO said he’d follow up on. It’s a mess. One major thing we learned is that Facebook is investing heavily in AI solutions to analyse and look for problematic content on the site. I’m sure Ted Cruz is all ablaze about whether or not the AI will receive a conservative or liberal “education” in its machine learning.
Far across the Pacific, WeWork continues its expansion rampage, acquiring Chinese co-working startup Naked Hub for a whopping $ 400 million. It’s the sixth acquisition in as many as eight months, proving that WeWork is committed to expanding its services across industries — largely those acquisitions have been outside its realm of open office space.
Our friends over at Uber seem to be turning their PR nightmares around, and have agreed to 20 years of FTC privacy audits. The ride-sharing app is expanding the proposed settlement it made with the FTC last summer pertaining to data mishandling, privacy and security complaints going back to 2014 and 2015.
“After misleading consumers about its privacy and security practices, Uber compounded its misconduct by failing to inform the Commission that it suffered another data breach in 2016 while the Commission was investigating the company’s strikingly similar 2014 breach,” FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen said in a statement. “The strengthened provisions of the expanded settlement are designed to ensure that Uber does not engage in similar misconduct in the future.”
Rounding out the week, it looks like Spotify is holding on to a good market price in the 150s (NSYE: SPOT) following their unusual decision to forgo an IPO for a direct listing. CEO Daniel Ek is a happy, happy man.