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Recode Daily: Facebook has never faced a crisis like this ever-widening data debacle

Plus, how to quit Facebook, marijuana soda and other startup finds from Y Combinator’s 26th Demo Day, and a game called CryptoKitties has raised $12 million.

As part of a demonstration against Cambridge Analytica, posters of the company’s CEO Alexander Nix behind bars appeared in the windows of its London offices on March 20, 2018.
Matthew Chattle / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Facebook has never faced an existential crisis like the one it’s currently fighting through. The company is under scrutiny from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and half a dozen congressional committees over how the personal data of 50 million users was obtained by a data analytics firm that helped elect President Donald Trump. Facebook employees gathered yesterday for an internal briefing on the company’s involvement in the widening scandal; CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg were conspicuously absent from the damage control session, though Zuckerberg is expected to speak to employees Friday, and may speak publicly before that. Meanwhile, Facebook has lost nearly $50 billion in market cap since the data debacle broke on Friday; that’s the stock’s biggest-ever two-day drop. The board of data-harvesting operation Cambridge Analytica suspended CEO Alexander Nix, effective immediately, pending an independent investigation. Stay up to date with this storystream.

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Where is Mark Zuckerberg?

Google is investing $300 million in the Google News Initiative, which is meant to support the media industry by fighting misinformation and bolstering journalism. [Chaim Gartenberg / The Verge]

But here’s the thing: Google and Facebook can’t really help publishers, because Google and Facebook are competing with publishers. Guess who’s winning? [Peter Kafka / Recode]

Here’s a seven-step guide to how to quit Facebook, if the time suck, Russian ads and personal data problems have become too much for you. And if you don’t want to go quite that far, here’s how to share as little data as possible on the social service. [Eric Johnson / Recode]

Some of the most influential leaders in the retail business came to Code Commerce in Las Vegas last night. Here’s what Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman, DoorDash CEO Tony Xu and Nordstrom co-president Erik Nordstrom had to say.

Biotech, robotics and fintech startups dominated Y Combinator’s 26th Demo Day. The three-day event at Mountain View’s Computer History Museum showcased 141 companies from 23 countries and featured founders demoing marijuana soda, wind turbine-cleaning drones and indestructible panty hose — and that was just the first day; here are yesterday’s hopefuls. Today is Investor Day, where potential investors can meet up to 15 companies in a single day; startups that emerged from the incubator include Airbnb, Coinbase, DoorDash and Optimizely. [TechCrunch]

Top stories from Recode

Travis Kalanick is joining the real estate startup City Storage Systems as CEO.

The former Uber CEO invested $150 million in the company through his 10100 fund.

Some, but not all, self-driving-car companies are pausing their tests after an Uber car killed a pedestrian.

Uber’s fatal crash caused some automakers and regulators to exercise caution, while others push forward with their autonomous-car efforts.

DocuSign has filed to go public in yet another 2018 IPO.

The company is expected to trade publicly in the second or third quarter of this year.

The mobile ad tech company GroundTruth has a new CEO — but we still don’t know what happened to the old one.

We check back in on what happened at the company formerly known as xAd.

Tinder and Instagram are “crippling” relationships, sex therapist Esther Perel says.

On the latest episode of Recode Decode, Perel says dating apps are giving us too many options, and other apps give us an excuse to be “psychologically gone.”

This is cool

CryptoKitties, a collectible game built on blockchain and Ethereum cryptocurrency, has raised $12 million in a round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures. Think Pokémon for the blockchain age — players can buy and sell cat characters, and some of the rare ones have sold for the equivalent of $200,000. Since its November launch, CryptoKitties has gained more than 1.5 million users who have conducted more than $40 million in transactions. [Dean Takahashi / Venture Beat]

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