The Irish Data Protection Commission announced on Thursday, April 25, 2019 that an investigation has been opened by an Irish data regulator into Facebook’s mishandling of passwords for millions of users. Facebook commented on the alleged mishandling passwords in March, saying that it did not “properly mask” passwords for many of its users, instead storing the passwords as plain text in an internal database that Facebook’s staff had access to. Facebook faces a large fine, up to $2.2 billion, under the General Data Protection Regulation if the investigation shows misconduct. Facebook released a statement acknowledging the investigation and confirming their plans to cooperate. Facebook faces additional legal challenges at the hands of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
TikTok, a Chinese social media platform on which people can record videos of themselves and post them online, was banned in India due to claims that it left children susceptible to pornography. After overcoming the court ban, the app is now available again for download in India. Despite the fact that the app was only unavailable for one week, according to a court filing accessed by Reuters, TikTok lost up to $500,000 for every day that the app was banned in India. TikTok faced trouble in the U.S. as well, paying an almost $6 million fine to U.S. authorities in February due to allegations that it improperly handled personal information of minors under 13 years of age.
Wing, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification as a drove delivery company, clearing it to make commercial deliveries in the U.S. This is the first time the FAA has certified a drone delivery company. The drones are able to fly on their own, but Wing confirmed that the drones will also be manned by humans as a safety precaution. Wing has already made thousands of deliveries in Australia, and will launch a trial of its drones in Virginia. The use of drones as a delivery system has already become popular in Rwanda, but will be more challenging in dense, urban areas within the U.S.. Many more tests will need to be completed before drone delivery is an everyday part of the lives of U.S. citizens. For example, local law enforcement must have the ability to detect whether a drone has a real reason to be flying within an area. Additionally, drones need to be able to accomplish making trips at night, and over the heads of people, similarly to bigger aircrafts.
Uber, a rideshare service, will begin publicly selling its shares next month, and expects to be valued at $91 billion. The company filed an amended prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, April 26, 2019, with a price range per share set at $44 to $50. While this valuation places Uber ahead of its competitor, Lyft, which went public with a valuation of over $24 billion, it will also place Uber behind Facebook, which went public in 2012 with a valuation of over $104 billion, as well as the Chinese company Alibaba, which went public in 2014 with a valuation at $168 billion. Uber’s IPO could mean big things for startups. However, because Uber is not very profitable, the filing might confirm that Uber does not expect to make a profit anytime soon. Uber’s IPO announcement will likely be the focus of several meetings the company has around the country, and potential investors will likely ask questions revolving around the company’s absence of profits, its growth potential, and how the company has changed their internal culture in the wake of 2017’s scandals. Uber’s IPO is led by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc., and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requested a judge to grant them more time to settle a legal dispute over Musk’s tweets. The two parties had been in talks regarding a settlement for several weeks, but in their joint letter to the judge, they noted that they have still yet to reach a settlement and asked the judge to allow them to continue their discussion until April 30, 2019. In this action, the SEC argued that Musk violated a previous settlement by publishing a tweet on February 19, 2019, which stated that Tesla planned on making around 500,000 cars in 2019. The settlement, which was in response to a different tweet by Musk claiming that Tesla had secured the funds to go private, required Musk to consult his lawyer before tweeting. The SEC argued that Musk violated the settlement by failing to do this. Musk denies the SEC’s claims, noting that the post was not material and therefore did not violate the settlement. The judge asked both the SEC and Musk to work out the issue outside of court and do away with any ambiguities within the original settlement.