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Recode Daily: How the Chinese and Philippine governments are weaponizing social media against their citizens

Plus, Waze wasn’t the best co-pilot for commuters maneuvering through the LA wildfires, Al Franken resigns, and the coolest holiday gift guide.

A woman inside a motorized pedicab looks at her mobile phone.
The Philippines is prime Facebook country —smartphones outnumber people, and 97 percent of people online have Facebook accounts.    
Mark Zuckerberg / Facebook

Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte used Facebook — used by 97 percent of Filipino internet users — to spread his message before weaponizing it to target dissent. Since his election in May 2016, Duterte has created an often-vicious army of Facebook personalities and bloggers worldwide, who are methodically taking down opponents, including a prominent senator and human-rights activist. [Lauren Etter / Bloomberg]

Chinese authorities are monitoring WeChat and other mobile messaging apps to monitor the internet-using populace. Empowered by new digital surveillance tools, China appears to be reverting to old form, investigating and punishing citizens for imprudent online comments. [Eva Dou / The Wall Street Journal]

Southern California continues to battle a renewed onslaught of at least six wildfires menacing greater Los Angeles and Ventura County. On Thursday, officials sent an emergency alert warning of “extreme fire danger,” the state’s largest use of a warning system installed by Congress in 2012. LAPD and firefighters have asked the driving public not to use navigation apps like Waze because they were occasionally steering some drivers toward the flames. [The New York Times]

Democratic senator Al Franken announced yesterday that he would resign from the Senate, making him the highest-profile casualty in the growing list of lawmakers felled by charges of sexual harassment or indiscretions. Meanwhile, a Boston social marketing executive is the sixth woman to accuse Shervin Pishevar of sexual misconduct, and the first to do so on the record. On Tuesday, Pishevar took a leave of absence from his venture capital firm, Sherpa, and from several boards. [The New York Times]

YouTube plans to launch its own paid streaming music and video service in March. Internally called Remix, the service is the third attempt by parent company Alphabet to catch up with rivals Spotify and Apple, which have spurred a recovery in the music business after almost two decades of decline. Warner Music Group has already signed on; Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group are in talks. [Lucas Shaw / Bloomberg]

San Francisco is cracking down on R2D2-style robots that deliver takeout food or packages. The delivery robots are still in early test phases; on Tuesday, city supervisors unanimously passed regulations that will limit companies to three robots each; limit the city to nine robots total; and confine robots to industrial areas where almost no one lives. And they can’t go faster than 3 mph and must have a human monitor, the new law says. [San Francisco Chronicle]

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This is cool

This is the coolest holiday gift guide.

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