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Recode Daily: Taylor Swift caused a massive spike in voter registration with an Instagram post

Plus, even when Amazon announces good news, it feels the backlash heat; Marc Andreessen and Travis Kalanick join an advisory board for a $500 billion Saudi megacity project; sunglasses that block “second-hand screens.”

Singer Taylor Swift holds a microphone to her mouth in one hand and extends her other arm to the audience Taylor Swift / Instagram

Taylor Swift caused a massive spike in voter registration with an Instagram post. The pop superstar has maintained a long and conspicuous silence on political issues, but she broke that stance on Sunday with an Instagram post that encouraged her 112 million followers to register to vote, noting that yesterday, Oct. 9, was the last day to register in her home state of Tennessee. “We are up to 65,000 registrations in a single 24-hour period since T. Swift’s post,” said Kamari Guthrie, director of communications for For context, 190,178 new voters were registered nationwide in the entire month of September, while 56,669 were registered in August. [Claudia Rosenbaum and Michael Blackmom / BuzzFeed News]

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Amazon’s recent $15-an-hour pay minimum for its warehouse and customer service workers got a lot of positive attention, but it highlighted a new reality for the company: People see the worst even when Amazon thinks it’s doing its best. A backlash quickly occurred, with some Amazon warehouse workers saying the pay change — which also cuts new stock grants and monthly bonuses — will actually result in a lower total compensation than they earned under the previous pay structure. Some of this skepticism simply comes from the position Amazon finds itself in as the most powerful online retail company in the Western hemisphere — if not the world — run by the richest businessman on earth. But this reality is also, at least in part, self-made. [Jason Del Rey / Recode]

Google presented its annual Made By Google hardware showcase in New York, where it announced the already thoroughly leaked new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL smartphones, the Pixel Slate tablet, the Google Home Hub and more. Here’s a breakdown of the important stuff Google unveiled. Meanwhile, Google said it is dropping out of the bidding for the Pentagon’s cloud computing contract that is valued at as much as $10 billion, in part because the project might conflict with the tech giant’s corporate values. The project, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud, or JEDI, involves transitioning massive amounts of Defense Department data to a commercially operated cloud system. Companies are due to submit bids for the contract, which could last as long as 10 years, on Oct. 12. [Naomi Nix / Bloomberg]

SoftBank may buy a majority stake in WeWork. The deal could total $15 billion to $20 billion and would likely come from the Japanese conglomerate’s $92 billion Vision Fund. SoftBank already owns around 20 percent of WeWork, the fast-growing real estate upstart.[Eliot Brown / The Wall Street Journal]

More than a dozen high-profile tech executives have been named to an advisory panel for a $500 billion Saudi megacity project called Neom. The 19-member board includes tech industry investor Marc Andreessen; Dan Doctoroff, CEO of Google parent company Alphabet’s urban planning unit Sidewalk Labs; Travis Kalanick, ex-CEO of Uber; former European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes; and Silicon Valley investor Sam Altman. Apple’s chief design officer, Jony Ive, was on the originally published list, but an Apple spokesperson said that his inclusion was a mistake and he is not involved in the project. While Saudi Arabia was trumpeting its list of high-profile tech advisers, much of the news on Saudi Arabia was focused on the fate of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, last week. [Rob Price / Business Insider]

Tinder’s public bout with co-founder Sean Rad is shaping into one of the gnarliest corporate fights in recent memory. Rad — who was fired as Tinder’s CEO in 2015, then returned to the job six months later, then left again shortly thereafter — sued Tinder in August for more than $2 billion in damages, claiming that parent company IAC purposefully undervalued his dating app in 2017 to keep him and his co-founders from cashing in on big paydays. Now IAC is fighting back: The company filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on Tuesday, saying Rad earned at least $400 million by selling his stock, and that by cashing out, Rad “bet against Tinder.” [Kurt Wagner / Recode]

Nikki Haley will leave her post as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations at the end of the year. The unexpected news, released just weeks before the midterm elections, reportedly surprised many senior foreign policy officials in the Trump administration. The former South Carolina governor indicated she has no plans to challenge Trump in a presidential run in 2020; Trump said he may name a new UN envoy in less than three weeks; speculation quickly swirled around who that might be, with some predicting — with little evidence — that Trump may pick his daughter Ivanka or son-in-law Jared Kushner, both of whom advise him in the White House. [Nahal Toosi, Eliana Johnson and Rebecca Morin / Politico]

Vox Entertainment wants to answer the internet’s questions: The studio arm of Vox Media — the publisher of The Verge, Eater and Recode — is producing a new explainer show for YouTube that will seek to answer the questions posed by its audience. Currently unnamed, the show is set to premiere next year as an ad-supported original on Vox’s YouTube channel. In a new format for YouTube, a team of correspondents will ask their online audience to weigh in on what makes them curious or confused; the team will then seek to find the answers or debunk the misconceptions. Earlier this year, Vox Media debuted the weekly Netflix series “Explained” and the PBS food and travel series “No Passport Required.” [Natalie Jarvey / The Hollywood Reporter]

Top stories from Recode

Snapchat’s plan to reinvent TV may actually be working.
On Wednesday, the company announced a new slate of 12 original, “serialized” shows for its “Discover” section. “I feel like we’ve been the leader in this and we’re now pouring even more gas on it,” Snap’s VP of Original Content Sean Mills said.
[Kurt Wagner]

Why tech companies need to reinvent themselves every three to four years.
Even if they are doing the “right thing” based on their historical business successes, complacent players risk getting disrupted by a rival, former Cisco CEO John Chambers says on the latest episode of Recode Decode.
[Kara Swisher]

Here’s why Netflix has no interest in live TV.
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing was “not very joyful,” says Netflix content boss Ted Sarandos.
[Kurt Wagner]

Facebook will soon rely on Instagram for the majority of its ad revenue growth.
As Instagram’s founders depart, execution can’t skip a beat.
[Kurt Wagner and Rani Molla]

Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi thinks he has controlled his famously fractious board of directors.
Also, some thoughts from the CEO about Uber moving into the grocery business.
[Theodore Schleifer]

This is cool

These sunglasses block “second-hand screens.”

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