⭐️ Facebook's secret celeb list

Tuesday, September 14, 2021 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures
_XCheck status [Hill Street Studios/Stone via GettyImages]_

XCheck status Hill Street Studios/Stone via GettyImages

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Hey Snackers,

Talk about a mid-week getaway: SpaceX's launch this week will take four civilians 360 miles from Earth for three days. It would be the first civilian-only space mission.

Stocks ticked up yesterday as shares of energy companies rallied. Now, investors have their eyes on Democrats' proposed $3.5T spending plan. We're diving in below.

Celeb
1. Facebook's secret moderation program exempts some celebs from usual posting restrictions

VIP pug life… A bombshell WSJ report revealed Facebook rolled out the moderation red carpet for at least 5.8M celeb users — including Donald Trump, Elizabeth Warren, soccer star Neymar, and even Doug the Pug. The drama revolves around a secret program known as “XCheck,” which shields millions of VIP users from FB's normal moderation process — kind of like an invisible verified badge.

  • For "regular" users, AI usually scans posts for rule-breaking content and quickly removes it if there’s an infraction. Meanwhile...
  • XCheck accounts are placed on a "whitelist" that allows them to post without the same level of scrutiny or repercussions (the moderation equivalent of bottle service).

Reporting politicians... It happens. Famous people get reported more than Berta from Oregon, even if their posts aren't flag-worthy. XCheck was conceived as a quality-control measure for actions taken against these high-profile accounts.

  • The problem: XCheck only reviewed A-lister content less than 10% of the time, according to WSJ. For example: In 2019, Neymar posted naked images of a woman who accused him of sexual assault.
  • Due to XCheck bias, 56M Facebook and Insta users saw the post before it was finally removed. While FB admits XCheck has flaws, it’s still not technically liable for its users' posts because of Section 230.
THE TAKEAWAY

This drama adds fuel to the fire… the big, familiar fire. Social giants like FB and Twitter have been accused of letting abusive content run rampant, not applying moderation policies equally, and acting more like editors than social platforms. The mishandling of XCheck gives ammo to legislators who’ve argued for years that social giants should bear more liability for users' posts. TBD if they ever will.

Hike

A taxing weekend… House Democrats proposed a plan to raise up to $2.9T in tax dollars over the next 10 years, the biggest tax hike in decades. The goal: pay for Biden’s ambitious $3.5T plan to expand America’s social safety net and combat climate change. Lawmakers plan to vote this week on the proposals. Whose taxes would be affected:

  • Individuals who make $400K+ per year and married couples that make $450K+ would pay higher taxes on income and capital gains — nearly 40% on income vs. the current 37%.
  • Corporations that make more than $5M in income/year would pay a 26.5% tax rate, up from 21%.
  • Small businesses that make less than $400K/year would pay lower taxes (18%).

9 am hike up Capitol Hill… Expect some sweat. Democrats don’t need Republican support to pass the plan — but they’ll need just about every Dem vote. Progressives are committed to the plan, even though the tax hikes aren’t as high as Biden's original pitch. But some moderates like Joe Manchin aren’t sold.

  • Pros: The plan could raise trillions of dollars to rebuild America's aging infrastructure, fight climate change, invest in public housing, and expand public education.
  • Cons: It could stifle economic growth — think: reduced corporate hiring and investment. The US could also lose corporate investment activity to countries with lower tax rates.
THE TAKEAWAY

Higher corporate taxes = lower corporate profits… which could mean falling stock prices, at least in the short term. Stocks soared in 2017 when ex-President Trump cut corporate taxes, making companies more profitable overnight. Biden’s tax increase would partially roll back those cuts, reducing the cash companies keep as profit. Since stock prices often reflect investors’ expectations of future returns — think: dividends, cash flow, rising prices — lower profits could mean lower expectations.

What else we’re Snackin’
  • Bananas: Intuit, which owns TurboTax and Credit Karma, is buying email marketing company Mailchimp for $12B.
  • Butter: Disney will release the rest of its 2021 movies exclusively in theaters before dropping them on Disney+, following its recent box office success.
  • ByeBa: Shares of Alibaba, aka: the Amazon of China, slumped on a report that China wants to break up its affiliate Alipay, a payments giant with 1B+ users.
  • Tablet: Toast, the restaurant-tech company that helps your local cafe take your card, is seeking a $16B valuation in its IPO next week.
  • Cheerio: Cereal legend General Mills says it'll have to raise prices, as the labor shortage and Hurricane Ida aggravate supply chain issues.
  • Track: Period-tracking app Flo, which has 200M users, raised $50M at a $800M valuation as the women's health tech boom continues.
Snacks Daily Podcast

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JPMorgan Chase just bought the trendy restaurant review site. Tune in to hear why America’s largest bank is buying a company that compiles lists of best paleo burritos.

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Tuesday
  • Earnings expected from Oracle

Authors of this Snacks own shares of: Disney and Amazon

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