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The social media company whose humble beginnings stem from “borrowing” the Winkelvii’s idea has another trick up its sleeve: completely rip off Snapchat once and for all. Facebook rained on Snap’s “Story” parade with its IG and *shudder* FB iterations and now it’s looking to take things behind closed doors.
Speaking at a conference, and confirmed via blog post, Zuckerbot emphasized the company’s new focus on being a “privacy-focused communications platform.” This is a far cry from informing the entire world about every stupid thought that crosses your mind. There, I said it.
The Social Network’s plan is to create auto-deleting, fully encrypted messaging across platforms (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp … Oculus (?)). It isn’t lost on Zuck that “privacy” and “Facebook” go together like these two virgins kissing for the first time …
“I understand that many people don’t think Facebook can or would even want to build this kind of privacy-focused platform — because frankly we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services, and we’ve historically focused on tools for more open sharing.”
What could possibly go wrong?
The haters are, of course, pointing to the ‘Book’s privacy hiccups in the past. And more importantly, some governments and law enforcement certainly won’t appreciate more widespread encrypted messaging.
Then there is the question of profitability. More than 98% of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising but group chats aren’t exactly conducive to Allbirds ads. Case and point: Facebook’s WhatsApp, which is wildly popular but makes next to nothing.
That doesn’t mean Zuck won’t go the ad route, as the company is currently utilizing Facebook Messenger as a tool for delivering ads that are even more infuriating than the passive ones that fill your feed.
One thought is that FB’s cryptocurrency *rolls eyes* ambitions could be the future of messenger monetization. In fact, the company is currently working on a project that would allow users to pay for drugs, I mean, umm, exchange money via WhatsApp.
A DAY LATE AND A DOLLAR SHORT
Dollar Tree announced Wednesday that it would be shuttering 390 of its Family Dollar stores this year, and rebranding another 200 to carry the Dollar Tree name. The value of Family Dollar was also discounted, with Dollar Tree booking a $2.73B charge in its fiscal fourth quarter. Dollar Tree purchased the Family Dollar over three years ago, and it’s been rough going ever since.
All is not lost for the Family Dollar, however. 1k stores will be renovated during 2019 to include things like alcohol (hobos, rejoice!), while 400 locations will receive an expanded frozen food section. For context, as of February 2nd, 8,236 Family Dollar stores were up and running in the US and Canada. Investors have also pushed for Dollar Tree to join its competition in selling products for up to … wait for it … $2, in order to boost profits.
What’s the bottom line?
Even with its deadbeat younger brother living on its couch, Dollar Tree still managed to report a profit at the end of the last quarter. Same-store sales saw a 3.2% increase leading the firm to a profit of around $1.93 per share during the 13 weeks prior to February 2nd. And since the news broke, Dollar Tree has seen a 2% spike in share price.
MIND THE GAP
According to reports issued by the US Commerce Department, the Land of the Free’s trade deficit has grown to its highest rate since 2008, to a whopping $621B. The figure is cumulative, so it could go up or down in any given month. Thing is, it’s only been increasing as of late.
Strictly focusing on goods, the deficit looks even worse. The US imported $891.3B more in goods from the world than it exported, up from $807B in 2017. Services helped offset that figure. Uncle Sam racked up a service surplus to the tune of $270B. Presumably all attributable to the Geek Squad.
Remind me what this all means … asking for a friend …
Remember Econ101? When two partners engage in trade they can import and export goods and services. When one party imports more than they export, that creates a trade deficit. Larger and persistent trade deficits can result in less purchasing power for a country as it weakens its currency.
Should I really care?
It depends. All told for a developed country like the U-S-of-A, a trade deficit isn’t too big of a deal. In fact, the trade deficit only represents 3% of GDP.
If anything, the political ramifications will far outweigh any impact to the actual financial health of the country. Especially when you consider Donny Politics’ goal to reduce the trade deficit … which has increased by $119B under his watch.
It will be interesting to see how the trade negotiations play out with China, the EU, and the rest of the hit list, er, world.
IN OTHER NEWS
- Deep cuts only. Deutsche Bank decreased its bonus pool by roughly 12% this year to less than $2.3B. And while top performers and some new hires still received bonuses and raises, others did not receive any additional pay for a job done ‘just okay.’
- Huawei Technologies has filed a lawsuit against the constitutionality of a law that restricts US federal agencies from doing business with Huawei. The National Defense Authorization Act, signed this past August by President Trump, restricted both Huawei and ZTE Corp from receiving federal funds and also authorized billions of dollars in military spending.
- “I accidentally did that on purpose.” Former Cisco Systems employee Prithviraj Bhikha was arrested and charged with one count of wire fraud for ‘allegedly’ directing and approving fake contracts worth $9.3M. Coworkers became suspicious when he asked one to help him create fraudulent documentation, which seems like a pretty obvious clue, tbh.
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