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Recode Daily: Jeff Bezos says the National Enquirer threatened him with full-frontal extortion

Plus: Twitter shared its daily user numbers for the first time; Postmates is the latest startup to file confidentially for an IPO; ASMR videos give people the tingles (no, not that way).

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for WIRED25

Jeff Bezos says the National Enquirer’s owner threatened to release his “d*ck pick” — so he described it himself. The Amazon CEO has penned a now-immortal Medium post — “No thank you, Mr. Pecker” — describing what he calls an “extortionate proposal” by executives from American Media Inc., the publisher that owns the tabloid. To deflate what looks like a politically motivated blackmail threat, Bezos went ahead and published an email he says came from AMI chief content officer Dylan Howard, describing 10 photos Bezos wouldn’t want published, including a “below the belt selfie — otherwise colloquially known as a ‘d*ck pick.’” Last month, the National Enquirer was the first to detail Bezos’s affair, which led to the dissolution of his marriage to MacKenzie Bezos. [Peter Kafka / Vox]

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Amazon is trying to regulate itself over facial recognition software — before Congress does. The company said it supports “appropriate” legislative guidelines on facial recognition technology to protect civil rights, with AWS Vice President of Global Public Policy Michael Punke saying in a blog post that the public should be notified when video surveillance and facial ID are used in public or for commercial purposes. Amazon has come under fire from civil rights groups, which argue that its Rekognition software could be used to unfairly target minorities and immigrants. [Shirin Ghaffary / Vox]

German regulators are trying to clamp down on Facebook’s data collection practices — a move that could force Facebook to make technical changes to its app in order to continue operating in the country. Facebook’s massive scale in Germany — 23 million out of Germany’s 80 million citizens use the social network every day — is what spurred regulators to take action; the country’s Federal Cartel Office in charge of antitrust laws wants to block Facebook from combining user data that it collects through its other apps, like WhatsApp and Instagram, with data on Facebook without “voluntary consent of the user.” Meanwhile, in the US, Facebook is still trying to figure out what teens are interested in: It is restructuring its 100-person internal “youth team,” shutting down its new teen meme app LOL, and doubling down on Messenger Kids. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]

The on-demand delivery startup Postmates has confidentially filed for an IPO and could be valued at more than $1.85 billion. Postmates has picked JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America as its lead underwriters for the offering, which will test public market investors’ appetite for the mobile-ordered restaurant-meal delivery business, which Postmates pioneered in 2011. The company started by hiring gig-economy workers to use their cars and bikes to courier everything from flowers to furniture, but quickly realized that its sweet spot was shuttling meals for restaurants that couldn’t afford to hire their own full-time delivery staff. Several on-demand meal couriers have emerged since Postmates opened, including DoorDash and Uber Eats, a subset of the ride-hailing giant. [Olivia Zaleski / Bloomberg]

Top stories from Recode

Fortune CEO Alan Murray sold the magazine to a Thai billionaire you’ve probably never heard of. On the latest Recode Media, Murray talks about selling the Fortune Media Group to Chatchaval Jiaravanon, and how the brand is pushing into live events and other businesses. [Peter Kafka]

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