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Recode Daily: Facebook faces yet another privacy mishap

Plus: Jack Dorsey is hiring a crypto A-team, Rent the Runway becomes a unicorn, and Apple is planning for its new TV service.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Another bad week for Facebook and privacy.
Christophe Morin / IP3 / Getty Images
Shirin Ghaffary is a senior Vox correspondent covering the social media industry. Previously, Ghaffary worked at BuzzFeed News, the San Francisco Chronicle, and TechCrunch.

Facebook employees had access to the passwords of hundreds of millions of users. It’s another damaging revelation about the social media giant, which has faced sustained criticism over its privacy practices in recent years. The security publication Krebs on Security first reported that Facebook had stored personal passwords of users on unencrypted company servers in plain text, making them readable to thousands of employees. Facebook confirmed the issue, which it initially discovered in January in a “routine security review” and has since resolved. According to the company, there’s no evidence that employees improperly accessed the exposed passwords — so far. As Kurt Wagner writes, the situation will provide regulators — who are already investigating Facebook’s privacy practices — with “yet another arrow” they can use to try and regulate the company. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]

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Jack Dorsey is hiring direct reports to work on cryptocurrency projects, and he’s offering to pay them in bitcoin. Square CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted that the company is hiring a team of engineers and a designer who will work full-time on “open source contributions to the bitcoin/crypto ecosystem.” These employees will report directly to Dorsey, an enthusiastic bitcoin investor who purchases $10,000 worth of cryptocurrency a week. Square’s Cash App currently accepts payments in bitcoin, so the company certainly has something to gain from advancements in crypto technology. [Rachel England / Engadget]

Here’s how teenagers are being radicalized on Instagram. While other social networks like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are making efforts to crack down on the spread of misinformation, Instagram has largely stayed out of the issue. But the photo-sharing app is increasingly a popular place for many young users to engage in extremist discourse. As Taylor Lorenz writes, “Instagram is teeming with these conspiracy theories, viral misinformation, and extremist memes,” from “jokes about killing women, Jews, Muslims, and liberals” to anti-vaccination memes and conspiracies about George Soros and the Clintons. [Taylor Lorenz / The Atlantic]

Rent the Runway is officially a unicorn. With a new round of funding, the company that lends designer outfits and accessories just reached a billion dollar valuation, or “unicorn” status. The company raised $125 million in the latest round led by Franklin Templeton Investments and Bain Capital Ventures. Rent the Runway plans to use the cash to further expand their subscription business, renting out everyday outfits and other items like household products. “Our goal is really to create the Amazon Prime of rental,” said CEO Jennifer Hyman in an interview with the New York Times. The new valuation also puts the company in an elite group of only 14 female-founded VC-backed unicorns — or 10 percent of the 134 VC-backed companies at that valuation in the US. [Sapna Maheshwari / The New York Times]

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