☕️ Major oil spill

The Facebook whistleblower reveals her identity...
October 04, 2021 View Online | Sign Up

Daily Brew

IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)

Good morning. The only thing getting more hype than Squid Game is all of the new products Morning Brew will roll out for you this week. First up: the inaugural edition of HR Brew hits inboxes today. If you work in the people profession and want fun + insightful industry news hitting your inbox, sign up now.

For everyone else...keep your eyes peeled.

Neal Freyman

MARKETS: YEAR-TO-DATE

Nasdaq

14,566.70

S&P

4,357.04

Dow

34,326.46

10-Year

1.462%

Bitcoin

$47,838.28

Moderna

$341.09

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 10:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: After getting roughed up in September, stocks have entered a fourth quarter that's typically been bullish for equities, with the S&P gaining four out of every five years since WWII. Merck's announcement on Friday that its antiviral Covid pill lowered the risk of hospitalization or death by 50% dented high-flying vaccine stocks like Moderna, which fell more than 11% on Friday.
  • Government: Democrats will try to resolve internal divisions on how to proceed with Biden's signature economic proposals—a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion spending package. Plus, that debt ceiling deadline is coming up.

Blowing the Whistle on Facebook

Frances Haugen on 60 Minutes

CBS News

If you've been a loyal Brew reader, you know that in recent weeks Facebook's been rocked by a huge leak of internal company documents.

Last night, in an interview on 60 Minutes, the source of those leaks revealed herself: former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen.

Haugen, who worked for almost two years on Facebook's civic misinformation team before leaving in May, said she became increasingly concerned that the company was prioritizing engagement over user safety and wellbeing. Two of her accusations that have made big waves: 1) that Facebook contributed to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol by allowing the spread of misinformation and 2) that it knew Instagram was harmful to teens' mental health but didn't take action.

Haugen was so concerned that she gathered reams of internal research and distributed them to folks who could do something about it.

  • Haugen sent those documents (tens of thousands of pages worth) to the WSJ, which published a series of investigations called the Facebook Files.
  • She also sent them to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and her lawyers have filed at least eight complaints that allege Facebook misled investors.

Facebook is blowing the whistle on Haugen

The company is going on offense to contain the fallout of a scandal that's already bigger than the Cambridge Analytica data collection controversy in 2018.

Before the interview aired, Facebook's VP of Policy and Global Affairs Nick Clegg circulated a 1,500-word memo to employees arguing that Haugen's complaints are simply not backed up by the data. "What evidence there is simply does not support the idea that Facebook, or social media more generally, is the primary cause of polarization," Clegg wrote.

Looking ahead…we'll hear more from Haugen when she testifies before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday.

        

ENVIRONMENT

Oil Spills and Water Don't Mix

Crews clean up an oil spill in California

At least 126,000 gallons of spilled oil has spread into a slick covering roughly 13 square miles off the coast of Southern California. It has the markings of a "potential ecological disaster," Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said, over fears the oil could harm local wildlife. The oil spill forced officials to close miles of beaches and cancel the final day of the popular Pacific Airshow yesterday.

It is one of California's biggest oil spills in years.

So what caused it? A broken pipeline connected to the offshore Elly oil rig, Ocean County Supervisor Katrina Foley said.

On Sunday, oil stopped leaking from the pipeline, and now the race is on to prevent the worst environmental consequences. The Coast Guard helped build 2,050 feet of floating barriers to contain the huge oil slick from flowing into wetlands and other ecologically sensitive areas.

Big picture: Environmental leaders said oil spills, which are notoriously difficult to clean up, could be felt by local wildlife for years.

        

TAXES

Where the Global Elite Stash Their Cash

Cayman Islands

Photo by Ronny Rondon on Unsplash

Jordan's King Abdullah II has spent more than $100 million on properties around the world, including a cliff-top mansion in Malibu. Czech Republic Prime Minister Andrej Babis used shell companies to buy a chateau in southern France for $22 million.

We know this due to a huge trove of leaked private financial records that show how the top 1%, including billionaires and world leaders, use offshore accounts to evade taxes and conceal assets.

These documents, called the "Pandora Papers," represent one of the biggest leaks of financial information in history. The findings were published yesterday in a report compiled by 150 global media outlets.

  • If that sounds like a lot of people working on this, it's because there was an unprecedented amount of material. Journalists had to sift through nearly 3 terabytes of data, equivalent to ~750,000 photos stored on a smartphone, per the AP.

Big picture: The Pandora Papers are the sequel to 2016's Panama Papers, financial records leaked from the defunct offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca. But yesterday's report is on another level—records were collected from 14 offshore financial services providers.

Looking ahead...the impact of the new financial docs is still TBD. But at least in Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan said his government will investigate the Pakistani citizens named in the documents.

        

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GRAB BAG

Key Performance Indicators

Stat: Thanks to its App Store, Apple earned more profits from games ($8.5 billion) than Microsoft, Nintendo, Activision Blizzard, and Sony combined in fiscal 2019, according to a WSJ analysis. But its role as gatekeeper of the gaming world is under threat as rivals like Fortnite maker Epic Games launch legal grenades.

Quote: "You think people care what you think, and then you care less what people think, and then you realize no one cared, anyway."

In an interview with the WSJ, Tom Brady shared one of his biggest learnings from getting older: Stop worrying about how people think about you, because they aren't thinking about you. It appears to be working—Brady became the NFL's all-time leading passer in his New England homecoming last night.

Watch: Love, hope, and worry in drought-ridden Page, Arizona. (Morning Brew)

        

CALENDAR

The Week Ahead

Supreme Court of the US

SCOTUS is back: The Supreme Court returns today to hear in-person arguments for the first time since March 2020. This fall is going to feature a blockbuster slate, with major cases over abortion, gun regulations, and religious expression.

Jobs report: The August jobs report whiff raised concerns about the pace of the economic recovery. This Friday we'll learn whether things picked back up on the hiring front in September. Only a shockingly low number of jobs added—like, zero—would delay the Fed from tapering its stimulus program in November.

Tech updates: Anyone else a proud green texter? The new Android 12 mobile operating system is expected to launch today, and Windows 11 is coming tomorrow.

Everything else:

  • No Time to Die, the last Bond flick featuring Daniel Craig as 007, hits US theaters on Friday after earning an impressive $119 million overseas (without China).
  • After a wild weekend in baseball, the playoffs will start this week with two win-or-go-home Wild Card games: Red Sox vs. Yankees on Tuesday and Cardinals vs. Dodgers on Wednesday.
  • It's Nobel Prize week. The winner of the grandaddy of them all, the Nobel Peace Prize, will be announced Friday.
        

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Tesla delivered a record 241,300 cars in Q3.
  • China will ban video games that promote gay relationships.
  • More than half of India's thermal power plants have less than three days of coal stocks remaining, joining China in "energy crisis" mode.
  • The National Women's Soccer League launched an independent investigation into its handling of abuse allegations and announced a new executive group. It's been shook by accusations that a now-fired coach sexually harassed players.

BREW'S BETS

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Dive back into the week.

Shallow dive: Wholesome animal content
Medium dive:
The most counterintuitive facts in math, CS, and physics
Deep dive:
Why oil doesn't corrupt Norway
Cannonball:
Lists of lists of lists on Wikipedia

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FROM THE CREW

New Newsletter Just Dropped

HR Brew

The latest addition to the Brew's newsletter family, HR Brew, is hitting inboxes around the world later today.

There are huge stories to tell in HR—seismic cultural changes amid a pandemic, the new era of remote work, demands for systemic change in pay disparity and racial equity, and transformative workplace tech and tools.

HR Brew will bring you expert advice on all that and so much more.

Sign up here to get the first edition today.

GAMES

Initials Trivia

Do you know what the initials in the following names stand for?

  1. John F. Kennedy
  2. George H.W. Bush
  3. F. Scott Fitzgerald
  4. Mary J. Blige
  5. Susan B. Anthony
  6. George R.R. Martin
  7. Michael J. Fox

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ANSWER

  1. John Fitzgerald Kennedy
  2. George Herbert Walker Bush
  3. Francis Scott Fitzgerald
  4. Mary Jane Blige
  5. Susan Brownell Anthony
  6. George Raymond Richard Martin
  7. Trick question: J doesn't stand for anything—Michael's middle name is Andrew.


       

Written by Neal Freyman

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