Included in special counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report were pages and pages of details about Russia’s attempts to use social media services, like Facebook and Twitter, to sway public opinion before and after the 2016 US presidential election. We’ve been writing about this activity for years, so many of the details were not exactly new. But, in aggregate, they serve as a reminder of the outsized role that Facebook and Twitter unknowingly played in the election. Mueller’s report also echoed an indictment from 2018, which found that President Trump’s campaign team, by retweeting or linking, apparently unknowingly “promoted” social media posts that originated from Russian trolls.
[Kate Fazzini / CNBC]
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Say hello to the first billion-dollar sneaker reseller — StockX — which is about to close in on new money that will amount to a bet that appealing to sneakerheads can be a big business. Recode has learned that StockX is finalizing a new round of financing that will value the company at over $1 billion led by DST Global, the venture capital firm founded by Yuri Milner. StockX operates a marketplace that helps avid high-end sneakers buyers find those sellers who hold rare kicks.
[Theodore Schleifer and Jason Del Rey / Recode]
Facebook wins the Best News Dump Award for a privacy snafu that was shared during the Mueller report’s unveiling Thursday morning. It turns out that millions of Instagram passwords were stored unencrypted on Facebook’s servers, which means that some employees theoretically had access to them. Facebook had originally said that hundreds of millions of Facebook user passwords were stored in this way, but that only “tens of thousands” of them were from Instagram. The reality, as it tends to be with Facebook, is much worse than initially revealed.
[Kurt Wagner / Recode]
Pinterest and the video-chat service Zoom prove that maybe the sky isn’t falling for IPOs in 2019. On Thursday, Pinterest began its first day of trading at $23.75, up 25 percent from the IPO price, according to CNBC. The company’s stock was initially priced at $19 per share. The company’s valuation is now well above the $12 billion at which it raised its latest round in 2017. And for Zoom, the company priced its debut stock price between $32 and $35 earlier this week, according to CNBC, but on Thursday Zoom’s surged to $65. CNBC’s Jordan Novet notes that Zoom is an exceptional IPO case because it is profitable, and as Recode’s Teddy Schleifer writes, “we’ll see how Zoom does in its first weeks of trading, but up to this point, it’s looking like a unicorn IPO success story.”
[Lauren Feiner / CNBC]
Those fancy, new folding Samsung phones are breaking, already. According to The Verge’s Dieter Bohn, his $1,980 Galaxy Fold phone broke after one day of use when, he thinks, a piece of debris worked its way under the screen. After reaching out directly to Samsung, Bohn writes that the company says it’s looking into the issue but for now it warns that users shouldn’t remove a protective plastic film that covers the device. This, though, wasn’t what caused his phone to break. Apparently, the Samsung-installed “screen protector” isn’t supposed to be removed by users; other reviewers have had phones break after they removed it. Debris or a piece of plastic or not, the takeaway is to treat this expensive phone with extreme care. Or, you know, maybe save yourself a couple grand.
[Dieter Bohn / The Verge]
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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.