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Recode Daily: Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen gets three years in prison

Plus: Procter & Gamble buys Walker & Co.; millennials are ghosting their jobs like they would ghost an ex-boyfriend; and best lists, worst lists.

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer, exits federal court after his sentencing hearing, Dec. 12, 2018, in New York City.
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer, exits federal court after his sentencing hearing, Dec. 12, 2018, in New York City.
Drew Angerer / Getty

President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years behind bars for making secret payments to women who alleged they had affairs with Trump, lying to Congress about Trump’s business dealings with Russia and failing to report millions of dollars in income. “I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds,” Cohen explained. Prosecutors also revealed they had struck a non-prosecution deal with American Media, publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid, for its $150,000 hush payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to keep her from publicly disclosing her alleged affair with Trump before the 2016 election. [Benjamin Weiser and William K. Rashbaum / The New York Times]

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The Federal Communications Commission voted to open a new review of U.S. media ownership rules that could reverse a rule prohibiting mergers among the four largest broadcast networks. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the agency is “teeing up a number of questions” on the issue, and would keep an open mind as to whether the rules remain necessary to promote competition. The FCC also approved a controversial measure that gives mobile carriers the authority to block text messages. The order, supported by the FCC’s Republican majority, classifies text messages as a part of an information service as opposed to a telecommunications service, which prohibits carriers from blocking or discriminating against their users. [Ted Johnson / Variety]

Procter & Gamble acquired the health-and-beauty startup that was aiming to build the Procter & Gamble for people of color. P&G has purchased Walker & Company Brands, maker of Bevel men’s grooming products and Form beauty products; founder Tristan and Walker will continue to run it as CEO. Walker & Company will move its headquarters from the heart of Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, Calif., to Atlanta, Ga., where the startup’s largest customer base resides. Investors are said to have recouped the majority, but not all, of the nearly $40 million they invested in Walker & Company, which means P&G paid somewhere between $20 million and $40 million for the startup. Here’s Walker’s interview with Kara Swisher at a 2017 Code Commerce event. [Jason Del Rey / Recode]

Economists report that workers are starting to act like millennials on Tinder — they’re ditching jobs with nary a text. Companies across the country say that “ghosting” — silent exits — are on the rise, and recruiters at global staffing firms have noticed a “10 to 20 percent increase” in ghosting over the past year. Analysts blame America’s increasingly tight labor market; job openings have surpassed the number of seekers for eight straight months, and the unemployment rate has clung to a 49-year low of 3.7 percent since September. [Danielle Paquette / The Washington Post]

Pop superstar Taylor Swift used facial recognition technology to track her stalkers at a concert at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl earlier this year. A kiosk set up to show highlights of the singer’s rehearsals secretly recorded the faces of onlookers, which were sent to a security “command post” in Nashville that attempted to match those images to hundreds of images of Swift’s known stalkers. The technology could revolutionize policing, medicine, even agriculture, but its applications can easily be weaponized— should we be worried? [Dave Gershgorn / Quartz]

What happens if/when Facebook goes the way of Myspace? Should the company ever collapse — or become so clearly moribund it might as well have died — more than a billion people worldwide would need to unwind their relationship with the platform. We’ve lost plenty of networks before, and one day, we’ll be done with Facebook, at least as we know it. Will it be done with us? [John Herrman / The New York Times Magazine]

Top stories from Recode

2018’s tech trends and tribulations in 14 charts. Here’s a visual look back at the year. [Rani Molla]

Lyft has eaten into Uber’s U.S. market share, new data suggests. Uber controls the majority of U.S. ride-hailing, but Lyft is growing twice as fast. And both plan to go public in early 2019. [Rani Molla]

New York City Council members railed against Amazon in the hope of renegotiating the HQ2 deal. The first of three public hearings on the terms of the previously secret deal were held on Wednesday. [Shirin Ghaffary]

The big business of being a social media star. Platforms like YouTube and Netflix are at war, and on the latest Recode Media, Shot Studios CEO John Shahidi says he’s happy to sell content to all of them. [Kurt Wagner]

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