Mark Zuckerberg is shifting blame for the Internet's problems off of Facebook and onto government.

April 1, 2019 | Hollywood


Good morning 🏀 The Final Four is set: Auburn vs. Virginia; Texas Tech vs. Michigan St. Tip-off is Saturday at 3:09 PT.


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Mark Zuckerberg to Congress: Your move


Moving the Market: Mark Zuckerberg has called on lawmakers to implement new regulations on the internet, an effort to set the terms for an impending global debate on how best to enforce digital safety and privacy.


• "I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators," he wrote in an editorial for The Washington Post and several European papers. "I believe we need new regulation."


The Big Picture: Zuckerberg is shifting blame for the internet's problems off of Facebook and onto government, which is arguably where it always should have been. But he's also trying to steer the debate in Facebook's favor.


• It's like Bugs Bunny telling Elmer Fudd how to catch him.


What Zuckerberg wants regulated:


1. Harmful content: "We shouldn’t make so many important decisions about speech on our own. ... Regulation could set baselines for what’s prohibited and require companies to [keep] harmful content to a bare minimum."


• The Upshot: Facebook enforces actual laws, rather than its own policies.


2. Election integrity: "Online political advertising laws primarily focus on candidates and elections, rather than divisive political issues ... We believe legislation should be updated to reflect the reality of the threats."


• The Upshot: Ditto.


3. Privacy: "Effective privacy and data protection needs a globally harmonized framework. ... It would be good for the Internet if more countries adopted regulation such as GDPR as a common framework."


• The Upshot: Facebook meets one global standard, and benefits where smaller competitors don't by having the resources to go to court.


4. Data portability: "Regulation should guarantee the principle of data portability. ... We support a standard data transfer format and the open source Data Transfer Project."


• The Upshot: Facebook gets to claim it's not a monopoly by pointing to people's ability to take their data elsewhere.


The Money Quote, via Facebook global affairs chief Nick Clegg, to Bloomberg: "Facebook can try and come up with some of the solutions but in the end it’s not for Facebook, it’s not right for a private company to try and sort of regulate itself."


Zuckerberg and Clegg are meeting with lawmakers in Berlin today as part of the new effort to engage regulators.

Bonus ... Big Down Under: Sheryl Sandberg tells the New Zealand Herald that Facebook is “exploring restrictions” on who can post live video in the wake of Christchurch terror attack.


Meanwhile, NYT's Damien Cave looks at how Australia and New Zealand want to regulate social media.



Facebook girds for India 2019


Moving Menlo: Facebook is scrambling to address a rise in viral fake news on WhatsApp ahead of India's 2019 elections, which kick off next week.


The Big Picture: The elections are seen as a vital test of the company's ability to preserve election integrity. India is WhatsApp's biggest market, and the biggest democracy in the world.


Postcards from Delhi:


• WSJ's Newley Purnell reports that Facebook and India's efforts "to stop the spread of misinformation ... are having little effect."


• The Atlantic's Snigdha Poonam and Samarth Bansal say "many of India’s misinformation campaigns are developed and run by political parties with nationwide cyberarmies."


What's Next: Facebook is working to aggressively monitor the spread of fake news on WhatsApp and all platforms and remove suspicious accounts.

🌎 Rally the Market 🌏


While we're globetrotting ... My colleague Al Roker is in Utqiagvik, the northern most city in Alaska, this week to talk climate change.


• "The folks there in Utqiagvik may become the first climate change refugees in our country because the landscape is changing so quickly," he says.


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Gavin de Becker isn't done


High Confidence: Security specialist Gavin de Becker says Saudi Arabia accessed Jeff Bezos' phone and obtained his private data, doubling down on the insinuation that the Saudi Kingdom was behind The National Enquirer's investigation into Bezos' extramarital relationship.


Bezos had previously insinuated, without real evidence, that Saudi Arabia and President Donald Trump may have been behind the Enquirer's investigation.


American Media Inc., the Enquirer's parent company, says Michael Sanchez, the brother of Bezos’ girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, was their one and only source for the story.


de Becker, in The Daily Beast:


• "Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos’ phone, and gained private information. As of today, it is unclear to what degree, if any, AMI was aware of the details."


The Big Picture: Bezos and de Becker still haven't provided any hard evidence to back the Saudi conspiracy, let alone Bezos' earlier insinuation that President Trump may have played a role.


The Big Question: Why is the country's foremost security specialist, representing the world's richest man, airing all this out in a column for The Daily Beast?

Market Links


Peter Georgescu says capitalism is committing suicide (NYT)


Richard Branson takes on Theresa May and Brexit (Twitter)


Sundar Pichai continues to work with Huawei (Bloomberg)


David Young and Karen Stuart go to war over WGA (Deadline)


LeBron James thrives off the court in Hollywood (LAT)


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Ari Emanuel eyes 2019 IPO


Going Public: Ari Emanuel's Endeavor, "the international entertainment and marketing colossus that owns Hollywood’s biggest talent agency and the Ultimate Fighting Championship league, is kicking its plans for an initial public offering into high gear," WSJ's Ben Mullin et al report:


• "The company ... has filed or is about to file confidential paperwork for an IPO ... That would put the Hollywood conglomerate on track to hit the public markets by the end of this year."


• "Endeavor was most recently valued at $6.3 billion."


The Big Picture: "The strategy is to broaden Endeavor’s businesses beyond film and television representation, a cutthroat and unpredictable business and not the best foundation for a publicly traded company."


Oh/and: "A public offering could put Endeavor’s backers, which include private-equity firm Silver Lake and Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group, in a position to cash in on their investments."

Speaking of IPOs ... NYT's Erin Griffith has the list of who stands to gain from the new wave of tech offerings.


• Alfred Lin, Jeff Jordan, Brian Singerman ...


Emma McIntyre/Getty

Inside Kardashian, Inc.


Talk of Tinseltown: NYT's Amy Chozick goes deep on Kardashian, Inc., where America's most famous TV family offers "a master class in the art of monetizing influence."


The Formula: "Family turmoil feeds the celebrity news cycle, which drives interest in the TV show, which then helps to publicize an ever-increasing number of sponsorships and branded products."


• "Together they have transformed the way diet drinks, designer handbags, doomed music festivals and more (and more!) advertise, including through paid Instagram posts up to $1 million apiece."


• "The sisters are a media company if it swallowed a makeup conglomerate, mated with a fashion line and birthed athleisure babies."


The Big Picture: "People tend to talk dismissively about the Kardashians as 'famous for being famous,' rather than as entrepreneurs with an influence and reach perhaps second only to the reality TV star in the Oval Office."


• "Those perceptions might be changing. ... Regardless of what you think of what the Kardashians are selling, their never-ending hustle is an undeniable lesson in female entrepreneurship."


Read the whole story.

What Next: Taylor Lorenz says Instagram is the new phone number.


See you tomorrow.


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