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Recode Daily: WeWork has filed confidentially for an IPO

Plus: Spotify reached a milestone of 100 million paying subscribers and Facebook is sharing its data with more than 60 international academics.

Rapid Global Expansion Causes WeWork’s Losses To Double Photo by Spencer Platt/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.

The We Company, better known as WeWork, has filed confidentially for an IPO. The coworking giant initially filed four months ago, but today revealed its plans publicly. It will be the latest of several major startups with sky-high valuations to file for an IPO this year and, like many others, it has yet to prove profitability. The company was valued at $47 billion in its latest round of private funding. While the company doubled its revenue last year to $1.8 billion, it also doubled its losses to $1.9 billion. As the New York Times writes, companies like WeWork and Uber “have argued that growing quickly is more important, and will eventually prove more lucrative, than breaking even right now.” WeWork rents coworking office space around the world and is currently one of the biggest corporate landlords in cities like New York and London — in addition to offering other business lines such as WeLive (a residential living space) and WeGrow (a preschool/elementary school).[Andrew Ross Sorkin and Michael J. de la Merced / The New York Times]

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Spotify reached a milestone of 100 million paying subscribers. The music streaming giant announced it had hit this mark in its earnings report on Monday, beating its main competitor, Apple Music, which currently has around 50 million paying users around the world. Spotify said it has seen its subscriber base increase by 32 percent since the company went public last year. While the user growth is a major accomplishment, as the New York Times writes, the company has also “stumbled slightly in its recent entry into India” over licensing agreements and has seen shrinking profit margins following its heavy investment in podcasts. Spotify purchased podcasting companies Gimlet Media and Anchor for over $340 million in February and bought another podcasting company, Parcast, for $56 million in March.
[Ben Sisario / The New York Times]

Facebook is sharing its data with more than 60 international academics who will study the implications of the social network. The move is an unprecedented opening of Facebook’s private data to people who research it and will allow academics to study topics like how social media use can influence elections. However, Facebook is limiting the timeframe for what data it’s making available, which “means the academics will not be able to analyse the most contentious information,” including the runup to the 2016 US presidential elections and the Brexit vote. The data-sharing initiative comes at a time when the company is facing scandals involving user privacy. Facebook has said they’ve taken steps to introduce “noise” to the data sets to anonymize user profiles and the data is strictly limited to academic use.
[Hannah Murphy / Financial Times]

An unsecure database stored on a Microsoft cloud service exposed details including names, addresses, and income levels of over half of US households. Security researchers Noam Rotem and Ran Locar found the vulnerability on a database from an unknown owner that included the personal demographic information of over 80 million US households. The owner of the database is ultimately responsible for securing the data, although that data was hosted on a Microsoft cloud server. Microsoft said it is working with the owner of the database to remove private information until they have a way to secure it. The incident raises troubling questions about the pervasiveness of security breaches of everyday individuals’ personal information. As CNET writes, “[u]nlike a hack, you don’t need to break into a computer system” to find data in an unsecure database, all you need is to find an IP address of an individual you want to look up. The article notes that there is no indication so far that cybercriminals have accessed this data.
[Laura Hautala / CNET]

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