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Recode Daily: Facebook spent more money than ever lobbying the U.S. government this year

Plus, Flickr has a new owner — even older photo-sharing service SmugMug, Kanye’s back on Twitter after a year, and the woman who gave the Mac a smile.


Facebook spent more money lobbying the U.S. government this year than it ever has before. The social media company forked over a record $3.3 million last quarter to steer lawmakers on privacy, security, online advertising and transparency efforts. Context: Amazon spent $3.38 million and Google spent more than $5 million in the same three months. Meanwhile, Christopher Wylie, the former Cambridge Analytica employee who disclosed the company’s use of Facebook data, will answer questions tomorrow from members of the House Judiciary Committee, and then members of the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. [Rani Molla / Recode]

Expect big numbers from tech earnings this week, kicking off today with Google parent company Alphabet. Facebook reports on Wednesday; even after negative headlines over user privacy and increased risks of U.S. government regulations, Wall Street remains broadly positive, given that some 10 percent of this year’s ad spending is going to Facebook. On Thursday, Amazon and Microsoft are scheduled to report; Amazon’s stock has gained 33 percent so far this year, even after a series of public attacks from President Trump, and some analysts believe that MSFT stock — currently trading at around $94 — will finally crack the $100 threshold for the first time. [Richard Saintvilus /]

Tencent Music, China’s largest music-streaming company, is preparing what would be one of the biggest technology IPOs ever following the successful debut of Spotify, its European counterpart. Tencent Music operates the popular music app known as QQ Music and recently had 700 million monthly active users; the offering could value the business in excess of $25 billion. [Maureen Farrell and Julie Steinberg / The Wall Street Journal]

Pioneering online photo-sharing community Flickr has a surprise new owner — SmugMug, an even older subscription-based photo-sharing service. Flickr reportedly still has more than 100 million unique users who post tens of billions of photos. But even if SmugMug can stabilize Flickr and please its enthusiast users with an excellent service, it’s hard to imagine a major Flickr comeback. [Dan Frommer / Recode]

Google likely knows more about us than even Facebook does. Here’s a closer look at some of the more manipulative ways that Google and Android harvest and funnel user data. [Christopher Mims / The Wall Street Journal]

Meet the wolves of Instagram: Posing as ultra-wealthy kids and posting internet memes taken from “The Wolf of Wall Street,” some Instagram influencers are portraying themselves as self-made wealthy traders, often targeting teenagers. Young people are then aggressively signed up to what looks like an international pyramid scheme that has helped to generate billions for large companies selling highly risky financial trading products.[Symeon Brown / The Guardian]

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