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Recode Daily: Facebook is anticipating a $5 billion fine from the FTC

Plus: Google drones are cleared for take-off, New York is trying to intercept tip theft, and Ford bets on Rivian, not Tesla, for self-driving vehicles.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
A $5 billion fine won’t put much of a dent in Facebook’s $56 billion 2018 revenue.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Facebook expects to be hit with a fine of between $3 billion and $5 billion as part of its settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has long been investigating Facebook for violating a consent decree in 2011 and we’ve known for a while that a big fine was coming. The Washington Post said in February it would be a “multi-billion dollar” penalty. Now we know that Facebook is expecting it to be at least $3 billion (the company disclosed this in its quarterly earnings). It could actually be as high as $5 billion, the company says, calling the “ongoing inquiry” one that is “unresolved.” So we’ll see just how screwed Facebook is, but keep in mind even that large a fine will remain relatively affordable for the tech giant: Facebook brought in $56 billion in 2018 revenue.
[Mike Isaac / New York Times]

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Prepare your doorsteps for goods to be delivered by a Google drone. Google has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to begin delivering goods via drone in rural Virginia, Recode’s Emily Stewart reports. She writes: “The approval is an important one, given that this marks the first time the FAA has granted a so-called air-carrier certification for drone delivery of items such as food, medicine, and small consumer products.” This is all through Google’s Wing program, which will compete primarily with Amazon, which has also been exploring drone-enabled delivery for its Prime membership program. The key thing for consumers will be to make sure these internet giants and regulators prioritize safety in the skies.
[Emily Stewart / Recode]

Can New York City keep gig economy startups like DoorDash and Instacart from alleged “tip theft”? Delivery companies have in recent months been battling allegations that they are effectively stealing from the workers who bring groceries or restaurant meals to customers. Regulation could be the answer. A New York City lawmaker is drafting a bill to compel companies like DoorDash and Instacart to share if they are committing “tip theft.” “There’s a special place in hell for companies that confiscate the tips of low-wage workers,” the councilman told the New York Daily News.
[Chavie Lieber / Vox]

Ford has made a $500 million bet on a Tesla rival. The electric-car startup Rivian now counts the Detroit automaker as an investor. Carmakers have been some of the biggest strategic investors in transportation startups, and Ford is now deepening its rivalry with General Motors, which has also expressed interest in working with Rivian. The startup is battling Tesla — which has been careening from drama to drama over the last year — and is focusing first on an SUV and an all-electric pickup truck. Rivian accepted $700 million in an investment round led by Amazon just a few months ago.
[Matthew DeBord / Business Insider]

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