☕️ @realDonaldTrump signs off

Why is Quibi in the news again?
January 09, 2021 View Online | Sign Up

Daily Brew

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Good morning. With a background in advanced econometrics and machine learning, the Brew has a long history of successfully projecting sports outcomes. And as the NFL playoffs kick off today, we'll politely remind our readers that we've been dues-paying members of the Bills Mafia since last March. In Josh we trust. 

Have a great weekend—see you back here on Monday. 

MARKETS

NASDAQ

13,201.98

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S&P

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DOW

31,097.97

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GOLD

1,849.70

- 3.34%

10-YR

1.120%

+ 3.70 bps

OIL

52.73

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*As of market close

  • Government: House Democrats could bring articles of impeachment against President Trump as soon as next week for inciting violence against the U.S. government. 
  • Markets: Stocks managed to post small weekly gains despite the turmoil in Washington. 

SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter Does a 280 on Trump's Account

Trump's Twitter Account

@realDonaldTrump

A defining feature of the rise of Donald Trump's political career and his presidency has been his Twitter account, which he's used to fight trade wars, spread conspiracy theories, attack the media, and cheer on the stock market. 

As of last night, Trump's Twitter account is no more. The company announced it was permanently suspending @realDonaldTrump "due to the risk of further incitement of violence."  

  • Further violence beyond what happened at the Capitol this Wednesday? Seems that way. In its explanation for suspending Trump's account, Twitter mentioned that "plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021." 

During Trump's presidency, Twitter had relaxed some of its policies for his account under its "public interest framework," which contends that tweets from world leaders are too important to be subject to rules the rest of its users must follow. However, Trump's role in inciting the violence at the Capitol this week apparently crossed a line. 

That's not the end of the story

Later Friday night, the president switched over to the government-owned @POTUS account to post a statement railing against Twitter and Section 230, legislation that grants social media companies immunity from content their users post. 

  • "We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future," Trump tweeted.
  • Twitter removed the tweets soon after they were posted.

Zoom out: In the past few days, social media platforms have taken unprecedented action to mute the president of the U.S. in the wake of the violence in D.C. Facebook/Instagram banned Trump's account for at least two weeks, Snapchat disabled his account, and Twitch did the same. 

  • Also yesterday, Google pulled the free speech-focused social media app Parler from the Google Play store, saying that posting on the app "seeks to incite ongoing violence in the U.S." Apple may soon follow up with a similar ban. 

The final tweet from @realDonaldTrump, for posterity: "To all those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th." 

        

JOBS

Job Market Gets Worse Before It Gets Better

Job illustration

Francis Scialabba

The U.S. economy shed 140,000 jobs in December, wrapping up the worst year for job losses since 1939. 

  • The unemployment rate held steady at 6.7%, although that's the first time it hasn't dropped month-over-month since April. 

The backdrop: As Covid-19 case numbers rose, state and local governments reimplemented restrictions on businesses to try to re-flatten the curve and keep healthcare systems from being overrun. And colder weather kept many of us from dining outdoors—beef snowganoff just doesn't have the same kick. 

But help is on the way 

Last month, Congress passed a $900 billion stimulus package that included direct payments, added unemployment benefits, and another round of the small business-focused Paycheck Protection Program. 

Plus, you don't have to be Ned Flanders to pluck optimistic signs in the December jobs report. As the NYT's Neil Irwin points out, the biggest job losses (498,000) were in the leisure and hospitality industries, the sectors most affected by winter lockdowns and the ones most likely to regain jobs once warmer weather/the vaccine hits. 

  • Other industries less sensitive to Covid, such as manufacturing and construction, continued to chug along and add jobs last month. 

Bottom line: Coming into 2020, the job market was the hottest it had ever been. There's reason to think we could return to those heights once the virus has been vanquished.  

        

STREAMING

Quibi Is Kinda Sorta Back

Obi Wan Kenobi saying

Toby Howell

Streaming giant Roku turned the Resurrection Stone three times, but instead of getting a short convo with Sirius Black and Lily Potter, it brought back short-form video app Quibi. 

Yesterday, Roku purchased the rights to Quibi's content library of around 75 shows and documentaries, featuring A-List stars like Idris Elba, Kevin Hart, Anna Kendrick, and Chrissy Teigen. 

  • It was an even better deal than Wendy's 4-for-4 menu: Roku paid well under $100 million for Quibi's entire catalog, per the WSJ. Compare that to the nearly $2 billion Quibi raised in its short existence before closing shop this past October, just six months after its hyped April debut. 

Bottom line: Roku, which now owns the exclusive rights to Quibi's shows, will offer the content for free to users through an ad-supported model on the Roku Channel. It's an important step for the platform, given that the majority of its catalog consists of movies and shows that it doesn't own. 

        

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HEALTH

Biden Calls an Audible on Vaccine Rollout

President-elect Joe Biden's transition team said it plans to release almost all Covid-19 vaccine doses available in order to inject a little hare into what has been a tortoise-y immunization campaign. 

...We didn't do that already? Nope. Since both of the vaccines approved by the FDA require two doses spaced a few weeks apart, the current administration has been holding back doses to ensure there's plenty of supply to jab people a second time—and right on schedule.

  • Many medical experts support the current approach, arguing it's dangerous to mess with the planned vaccine rollout. After all, what if second doses aren't available when they're needed?  

Others, including former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, advocate prioritizing the first dose in a campaign informally called "First Doses First" (FDF). 

  • The simplest argument in favor of FDF, writes economist Alex Tabarrok, is that "two vaccinated people confers more immunity than one double vaccinated person."  

Looking ahead...Biden's betting that a) we can give more people first shots now, and while that happens b) manufacturers can ramp up production to provide enough second doses when they're needed.

        

DESIGN

Out With the Old, In With the New

Old and new logos for GM, KIA, and the CIA

Toby Howell

As we leave 2020 in the rearview mirror, many companies are doing the equivalent of getting curtain bangs: redesigning their corporate logos.

A look at the new faces

Kia: In the most extra logo launch of 2021, Kia debuted its updated look using 303 pyrodrones and a massive fireworks display over South Korea. Early reviews are not great, Bob. MotorTrend wrote that it "resembles a futuristic inkblot test," and we're inclined to agree. 

GM: In another vehicular facelift, GM changed its corporate logo for the first time in 56 years yesterday to highlight its electric vehicle strategy. How does the new logo do that, exactly? If you look closely, the lowercase "m" is supposed to resemble an electric plug. Key words: supposed to. 

CIA: The Central Intelligence Agency's full brand redesign is definitely the most controversial of the trio. "If I didn't read the copy, I wouldn't know if this was for a direct-to-consumer designer toothbrush or an organization that's been accused of destabilizing governments worldwide," freelance Creative Director Eric Hu told the NYT. 

Bottom line: Marketing Brew writer Phoebe Bain points out there is a method to the madness. "Lots of brands are opting for brighter and flatter logos in a move away from bold, chunky graphics." Why? "Flatter logos look better on digital screens," she explained.

        

MARKETS

Meme of the Week

FAANG meme

Toby Howell

Tesla stock continued to defy gravity yesterday, passing Facebook in market capitalization to become the fifth-most valuable company on Wall Street. It's now worth more than $800 billion.

More Facebook shade: Cameron Winklevoss, who along with his twin brother is famous for 1) suing Mark Zuckerberg over the idea for Facebook and 2) being a bitcoin billionaire, tweeted that bitcoin's market cap had also passed that of Facebook's. "Makes sense that a money network would be more valuable than a social network."

        

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is effective against the new highly contagious strains discovered in the UK and South Africa, new research shows.
  • Reddit banned the r/donaldtrump subreddit following the rioting at the Capitol this week. 
  • Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, who has pushed conspiracy theories against the company. It's seeking $1.3 billion in damages.
  • Deutsche Bank will pay more than $124 million to settle U.S. investigations into a foreign bribery scheme and commodity trading violations. 

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BREW'S BETS

Football primer: Check out FiveThirtyEight's guide to the NFL playoff games this weekend. 

For the wonks: Matt Levine's finance newsletter for Bloomberg, Money Stuff, is a favorite of many Brew employees. Here's the most recent issue.

Weekend conversation starters:

GAMES

Brew Crossword

Crossword

Francis Scialabba

Today's crossword, created by Ben Mendro, combines two of our favorite things: geography and wordplay. Give it a shot here

+ Think you have what it takes to make your own crossword? Spoiler: You do. Check out our tutorial, and then be sure to submit. If we select your crossword, we'll also send you the iconic Brewneck sweatshirt.

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