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Breakfast Briefing: Facebook Wobbles, Kraken’s Back & Tesla Trucks

Facebook Shares Stumble

The recent changes announced by Facebook are expected to reduce time spent on the site.

Editor’s Remarks: Facebook is changing the platform’s newsfeed so that it prioritises friends and family rather than business and media outlets. The move is widely expected to mean that users spend less time perusing content on the site, leading to less incentives for third-party companies to advertise there. The decision is believed to be a response to the recent backlash against tech giants, due in part to allegations of Russian hacking during the presidential election, but also tax avoidance and links between social media and degrading mental health. On the news, the shares tumbled 4.1% – the most for more than 12 months.

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Kraken Back Online

Kraken, the popular cryptocurrency exchange, went offline for maintenance on Wednesday.

Editor’s Remarks: The maintenance job was initially meant to take just two hours with an extra few hours until withdrawals were made possible. However, the work ended up taking longer and the site only went back online after two days. The extended maintenance job coincided with fears that South Korea was clamping down on cryptocurrencies, which prompted gyrations in the market. Regardless, the fifth biggest exchange resumed trading over the weekend and, to compensate clients, it is waiving all fees until the end of the month for margin trades.

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Macron Deepens Ties with UK

The French president is expected to use this week’s Anglo-French summit to focus on military ties.

Editor’s Remarks: Last September, French president Emmanuel Macron asked for a European Intervention Initiative (EII) amid calls for a wider overhaul of the EU. Although Brexit is very much underway, the French leader is keen to persuade the UK to join the EII and join forces with other major European militaries, including Germany, Spain and Italy. Macron is expected to pitch the idea to UK defence officials at Sandhurst during this Thursday’s Anglo-French summit. Defence commentators believe that Macron’s vision for EII will be redundant if the UK does not join. However, the UK has major reservations about joining any sort of pan-European military project.

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More Tesla Trucks Ordered

A UAE-based company placed an order for 50 Tesla Semis – one of the biggest pre-orders so far.

Editor’s Remarks: Bee’ah, an environmental waste management company, announced that it placed the order at the World Future Energy Summit, in another major vindication of Elon Musk’s latest vehicular offering. The 50 new trucks will add to the company’s existing fleet of over 1,000 trucks, which are used for collecting and transporting waste. The Tesla Semi comes in two versions: a $150,000, 300-mile range truck and a $180,000, 500-mile alternative. There is also a “Founders Series” version that retails at $200,000. As such, Bee-ah’s order is worth $7.5-$10m. Earlier this year, the same company also ordered Tesla Powerpacks for their headquarters.

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FBI Lashes Out at Apple

The FBI branded Apple’s products the work of an “evil genius”, due to how difficult it is to hack into iPhones.

Editor’s Remarks: While most would agree that strong security features are imperative in this age of cyber-security, the FBI takes a different view. FBI forensic expert Stephen Flatley described Apple as “jerks” and said that the level of encryption on Apple products was simply for show, and made life overly difficult for security agencies. Apple, however, insists that it complies with law enforcement as far as is possible without damaging their credibility with customers. When shooter Devin Kelley killed 26 people in a Texas church last year, the tech company said it “immediately” offered assistance.

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