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Recode Daily: Sri Lanka blocks Facebook and Twitter following Easter morning attacks

Plus: WeWork is replacing its chief operating officer to focus more on overseas growth and Huawei reported first-quarter revenue of $27 billion, a 39 percent jump. 

A soldier stands with a gun outside a shrine in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan security forces secure the area around St. Anthony’s Shrine after an explosion hit St Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade on April 21, 2019, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. 
Stringer/Getty Images

The Sri Lankan government blocked Facebook and other social media following deadly blasts that killed 290 people on Sunday. On Easter morning, eight coordinated explosions at churches and hotels shook the country; the government blamed an Islamist group, National Thowheed Jamaath, for the attacks. In addition to blocking social media, Vox reports that police have imposed a 12-hour curfew that began at 6 pm local time. The social media blackout was meant to stop misinformation from inciting more violence after the suicide attacks in the country “where online mistruths have fomented deadly ethnic unrest,” according to the Washington Post. Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other platforms have struggled to stop the flow of misinformation that is now all too common following shootings or terrorist attacks. On Sunday, the Post reported that Facebook said it was “working to support first responders and law enforcement as well as to identify and remove content which violates our standards” and made a statement that it was “committed to maintaining our services” in Sri Lanka. Twitter declined to comment and YouTube and Snapchat did not respond to comment requests.
[Jennifer Hassan, Niha Masih and Tony Romm / The Washington Post]

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WeWork is replacing its chief operating officer to focus more on overseas growth. Facing scrutiny of its recent $45 billion valuation, the office-rental company is shuffling top executives in the hope of building out a more robust international presence. Eugen Miropolski, who previously oversaw WeWork operations in all of Europe and Asia, has been named the company’s chief operating officer, the company told Recode. Theodore Schleifer writes that the current COO will move to co-president and report to the company’s CEO. (The COO position in particular has seen a good amount of turnover at WeWork). So, yes, the people advising WeWork’s CEO are remaining the same. But the move to promote Miropolski, who formerly oversaw Airbnb’s growth in Europe, “reflects how WeWork very much needs to prioritize its international footprint — especially since becoming so closely aligned with SoftBank,” which has funneled billions of dollars into WeWork “at a much-questioned valuation to try and help it become a global juggernaut.”
[Theodore Schleifer / Recode]

Huawei reported first-quarter revenue of $27 billion, a 39 percent jump. The Chinese technology firm said its net profit margin was “8 percent for the quarter” but did not disclose its actual net profit number. These results come as Huawei has been under pressure from the US government as it tries to block the company from building 5G mobile networks and after the US has charged Huawei with fraud and stealing trade secrets. Just last week, a report from the Times of London revealed Huawei “received funding from branches of Beijing’s state security apparatus” according to the CIA, which told counterparts in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK earlier this year. Despite the pressure, Huawei has said that contracts to provide 5G-enabled telecom gear have increased and “said it had signed 40 commercial 5G contracts with carriers, [and] shipped more than 70,000 5G base stations to markets around the world.”
[Sijia Jiang and Julia Fioretti / Reuters]

Elon Musk’s Tesla got a restraining order against a prominent short seller after the man photographed Tesla employees test-driving the Model 3 ahead of the company’s “autonomy investor day.” According to The Verge’s reporting, Tesla claims that Randeep Hothi, a known Tesla critic on Twitter and short seller (someone who bets money that a company’s stock price will go down), “stalked, harassed, and endangered” three of its employees who were driving the Model 3 on a Bay Area highway this past week. He reportedly pursued the employees for 35 minutes and “Tesla claims Hothi even swerved close enough to the Model 3 that the car’s crash avoidance safety feature was triggered.” Short sellers of Tesla stock have a thriving Twitter community, congregating around the $TSLAQ tag to research sales data, executive departures, and claims by CEO Elon Musk. Musk has “a long history taunting people who short Tesla’s stock.”
[Sean O’Kane / The Verge]

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