Business week: Facebook under pressure and Ozy Media closes its doors
What’s new? (Sep 26-Oct 2)
Instagram in the spotlight
Facebook postponed the launch of its Instagram Kids product on Monday after concerns were raised about whether Instagram is healthy for young people. Critics have spoken out against the project after a report was first leaked on it in March, and those concerns escalated after a Wall Street Journal investigation surfaced internal research showing Instagram found that its application worsened bodily problems in teenage girls. (Facebook disputed this characterization.) In a Senate hearing Thursday, lawmakers targeted the social network. Senator Edward J. Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, compared the company to Big Tobacco, “offering a product that they know is harmful to the health of young people, offering it to them early.”
Ozy’s troubled week
Digital media company Ozy announced on Friday that it would be shutting down. The announcement came days after the New York Times reported that someone apparently impersonated a YouTube executive during a conference call with Goldman Sachs, raising questions about the business practices of Ozy. (Ozy chief executive Carlos Watson told The Times that Samir Rao, the company’s chief operating officer, was the impersonator, adding that Mr. Rao had mental health issues.) shortly after, one of the company’s biggest stars, former BBC presenter and correspondent Katty Kay, announced on Twitter that she had left her; a key investor, SV Angel, gave up its shares; and President Ozy resigned. The board said it suspended Mr. Rao and hired a law firm to investigate the company’s business activities.
Vaccination mandates seem to be working. United Airlines, one of the first large companies to require its employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, said 99% of its 67,000 employees had complied (and that it would lay off several hundred employees who refused) . Tyson Foods said it achieved a 91% vaccination rate for its 120,000 US employees after announcing a vaccination mandate in August. And California’s major health systems have reported that they increased their vaccination rates to 90% or more after California required that all health workers be vaccinated against the coronavirus. President Biden last month called on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to order employers with more than 100 employees to require vaccines or weekly tests.
And after? (3-9 Oct)
The US government released its report on the number of people hired in September on Friday. Figures for August were disappointing as employers grappled with uncertainty caused by the Delta variant of the coronavirus. Economists polled by Bloomberg expect hires to rebound last month. If so, it could influence the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy plans. At its last meeting, the central bank indicated that it could soon – as early as November – relax some measures it has put in place to support the economy since the depths of the pandemic crisis, but on condition that the report on September’s job is “reasonably good.”
The fate of the unknown infrastructure bill
House Democrats are struggling to push through President Biden’s $ 1,000 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which would fund some of the most ambitious road, bridge, transportation and other projects in decades. Progressives in the party have said they will oppose passage of the bill until the Senate passes a separate law that would spend $ 3.5 trillion to strengthen the social safety net and fight it. climate change. After Mr Biden met with House Democrats on Friday, he said a vote on the infrastructure bill would wait until Democrats pass backstop legislation. And that, he conceded, could take weeks.
Ford Motor is building three battery factories and a truck factory as part of its push towards electric vehicles. The automaker and a supplier will spend $ 11.4 billion on factories, which are expected to create 11,000 jobs over the next four years. Established automakers like Ford are rushing to catch up with Tesla on electric cars as President Biden presses Congress to enact policies that would turn Americans away from gasoline vehicles.
YouTube has banned all misinformation about vaccines. John Mackey will be stepping down as Managing Director of Whole Foods. Wall Street’s toughest exam seems to be getting harder. And the Nobel Prize announcements begin Monday.