|Bid||1,228.20 x 1000|
|Ask||1,225.10 x 1000|
|Day's range||1,223.58 - 1,242.77|
|52-week range||977.66 - 1,296.97|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||0.96|
|PE ratio (TTM)||24.83|
|Earnings date||23 Oct 2019 - 28 Oct 2019|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||1,407.05|
(Bloomberg) -- Tens of thousands of people around the world demonstrated to demand action on climate change as a global movement backed by 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg got under way Friday.Students skipped school and workers walked off jobs to participate in the rallies. In a central Sydney park, protesters held up homemade signs with slogans such as “You’re Burning our Future” and “There Is No Planet B.” In Berlin, demonstrators gathered by the landmark Brandenburg Gate, just a few steps from where Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government hammered out a 54 billion-euro ($60 billion) climate-protection package.Thousands gathered in New York, Toronto, Johannesburg, Warsaw and many more cities around the globe -- eager to add their voices to a movement fueled by youthful angst about rising temperatures.“This is about the future of our planet,” said Laura Lazzarin, an Italian national living in Berlin who joined demonstrators near the Brandenburg Gate. “We can’t go on like this, and politicians must realize that.”GlobalClimateStrike in London are urging political leaders to take action on the climate crisis CoveringClimateNow pic.twitter.com/2uCxa7jBLp— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) September 20, 2019 Protesters joining the Global Climate Strike movement want governments to treat global warming as an emergency, slash subsidies for fossil fuels, and switch economies to 100% renewable energy as soon as possible. They’re part of a worldwide series of demonstrations that organizers say will take place in 150 countries on Friday and on Sept. 27.“As we deal with devastating climate breakdown and hurtle towards dangerous tipping points, young people are calling on millions of us across the planet to disrupt business as usual by joining the global climate strikes,” according to a statement on the organizers’ website.The movement has taken hold in Europe, where climate has been catapulted to the top of the political agenda. The European Union should walk away from fossil fuels, the bloc’s energy chief told Bloomberg TV this week after a record spike in oil prices. A total of 93% of Europeans see global warming as a serious problem, according to a recent survey by the European Commission.In front of the Brandenburg Gate, three protesters dressed in black stood on top of melting ice blocks with nooses around their necks as hundreds of people gathered around them, carrying home-made placards, blowing whistles and chanting “We are here, we are loud, because you’re stealing our future.”In Paris demonstrators -- a large number of whom were students -- marched from Place de la Nation, carrying placards with slogans like “our house is on fire” and “time to act.”In Poland, home to 33 of the EU’s 50 most polluted cities, more than 60 climate protests were held Friday. At the biggest gathering in Warsaw, more than a thousand demonstrators called for the government to curb its dependence on coal, which is burned to produce more than 80% of the country’s electricity.PrayforAmazon. We should stop buying the beef that's being imported from Brazil to Hong Kong."Climate activists gathered in Hong Kong, demanding world leaders to address global warming ClimateStrike GlobalClimateStrike pic.twitter.com/xfA2Gk0llB— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) September 20, 2019 “The government is doing too little and this needs to be changed,” said Dionizy Debski, a high school student from Warsaw.Click here for TicToc’s ongoing coverage of the global climate protestsThe movement -- inspired by the braided Swedish teenager Thunberg who started weekly school walkouts last year -- has gone global, drawing parallels with other protests like the Civil Rights struggle and anti-apartheid demonstrations.Friday’s protests come ahead of United Nations events, including the first Youth Climate Summit on Saturday and the Climate Action Summit of government, corporate and other leaders on Sept. 23 in New York. Thunberg, who founded the “Fridays for Future” protest group, captured media attention by sailing across the Atlantic to address the youth event, rather than traveling by plane -- doing her bit to cap emissions.The climate campaign has spurred some companies into action. Germany’s Volkswagen AG, the world’s biggest automaker, pledged to make more electric cars and become climate-neutral by 2050.Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos vowed Thursday to wean his company off fossil fuels by 2030. He also announced the formation of a new organization -- the Climate Pledge -- amid a steady drumbeat of criticism from activists and his own employees over Amazon’s dependence on fossil fuels.GlobalClimateStrike rally.Protesters are urging leaders to address global warming and put an end to the age of fossil fuels CoveringClimateNow pic.twitter.com/jGfAI7Bnse— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) September 20, 2019 Despite that pledge, Amazon employees around the world walked off the job on Friday, in offices from Poland to South Africa and Ireland.In Seattle, hundreds of workers, joined by colleagues from Google and other tech companies, rallied in front of the biospheres at the heart of Amazon’s headquarters.Weston Fribley, an employee and organizer of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, said Bezos’s pledge was “just the beginning.” The plans, he said, “must be implemented.” He also repeated the group’s call for Amazon to end its sales to fossil fuel companies.On Thursday, Alphabet Inc. Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai made his own announcement, saying Google had agreed to buy 1.6 gigawatts of wind and solar power, describing it as a record purchase of renewable energy by a single company.Google Makes Biggest Clean Energy Purchase Ever by a CompanyIn Australia, the campaign has the backing of high-profile business leaders such as the billionaire co-founder of enterprise software company Atlassian Corp., Mike Cannon-Brookes. Atlassian was among hundreds of Australian employers, including law firm Slater & Gordon Ltd. and real-estate portal Domain Holdings Australia Ltd., that allowed workers to take time off to attend the rallies.The call to action has resonated across Europe, which has suffered from increasing bouts of drought and wildfires, and in Australia -- the world’s driest inhabited continent that derives the bulk of its energy from burning coal.For all the support the campaign is deriving, however, there are pockets of opposition. In Germany, the far-right AfD party slammed the government’s climate measures, citing escalating costs. Merkel’s government is “mercilessly squeezing its citizens for an ideology,” its co-leader Alice Weidel said in a Twitter post.(Updates with Amazon workers protest.)\--With assistance from Maciej Martewicz, Helene Fouquet and Matt Day.To contact the reporters on this story: Bruce Einhorn in Hong Kong at email@example.com;Thuy Ong in Sydney at firstname.lastname@example.org;Stefan Nicola in Berlin at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org, Vidya Root, Eric PfannerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- It’s time to stop crediting corporate sustainability efforts as acts of altruism. For big business, protecting the environment often means padding the bottom line.Nike Inc. has come up with a way to weave more efficiently, reducing the raw material and labor time needed to make each shoe. That has kept more than 3.5 million pounds of waste from reaching landfills since 2012. But the good news doesn’t stop with the environmental impact. The company is spending less on transportation, materials and waste disposal.The shoemaker’s “more environmentally conscious product has been a source of cost savings,” said James Duffy, an analyst at Stifel.Those flimsy plastic water bottles sold by Nestle SA? The ultra-thin design has a smaller impact on the environment while pushing down costs associated with packaging and shipping. Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. have poured tens of millions of dollars into a fund that builds out recycling infrastructure, reducing landfill tipping fees and recovering material that could be sold as new products.Tech giants have spent billions of dollars on solar and wind power, cutting greenhouse-gas emissions and energy expenditures at the same time. Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Amazon and Facebook Inc. are now some of the largest buyers of green power in America.Turns out it’s not just easy being green—it’s also profitable.“We’ve moved past this concept that business versus the environment is a tradeoff,” said Tom Murray, who advises companies on reducing emissions at Environmental Defense Fund, including Walmart, McDonald’s Corp. and Procter & Gamble Co. “The business benefits were always there, but more and more companies are going after them.”The business case for going green has never been stronger as companies find ways to make more from less. Here’s a look at the ways corporate sustainability is making environmentalism pay.Lightweight Flights Cost LessUnited Airlines Holdings Inc. has been making its planes lighter, driving down fuel use and costs. Airlines account for almost 2% global carbon emissions. Not even the in-flight magazine has been spared in the search for unnecessary heft: changing to a lighter paper stock saved almost $300,000 per year on fuel. United redesigned airplane bathrooms, switched out beverage carts and ended duty-free sales. The company was also working on reducing its cabin waste to zero. What it pays: United has saved more than $2 billion on fuel so far.Hanging Hotel Towels Saves More Than Water It turns out that simply asking guests to hang up towels to dry and forego daily sheet changes can save hotel operators 25% off annual energy costs. “To some surprise within the hotel industry, this option was quickly embraced by hotel guests as a small way to engage in energy conservation,” according to a report by the Urban Land Institute. Clarion Partners LLC does that at all of its hotels and went a step further by reducing flows through toilets, faucets and showerheads.What it pays: Cutting water use saves Clarion hotels about $17,250 per year.Idle Trucks, Real MoneyWalmart runs one of the biggest trucking fleets in the U.S. That means scores of semis standing in traffic at any given time. At that scale, the introduction of technology that reduces energy use when trucks or idling and software that creates more efficient routes can improve fuel efficiency by 90%, reducing carbon dioxide emissions.What it pays: Diesel averages almost $3 a gallon in the U.S. Tech’s Green Power PayoffGoogle, Facebook and Amazon are among the largest energy consumers in the U.S., and a lot of that power is now emission-free. Each company committed to getting 100% of their power for their data centers from renewable resources such as wind and solar. Exxon Mobil signed up to energize its operations in Texas with solar and wind energy starting next year, which would place the oil producer among the top 10 buyers.What it pays: With renewables now cheaper than fossil fuels, these green energy commitments shave an estimated 10% off tech giants’ gargantuan utility bills.Paperless Bathrooms Are CheaperRestaurants, movie theaters and others have been making the switch from paper towels to hand dryers in their restrooms for years. Dryers have become the norm because of the savings on the cost of paper towels and the expense of sending garbage to the landfill. Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, made the switch and cut carbon emissions by 76% per use.What it pays: A football stadium can save more than $12,000 a year over the cost of paper towels. Re-Sold Clothes Are a MoneymakerPatagonia Inc. has been repairing and recycling clothes since its inception in the 1970s, making the practice a core part of the brand’s environmental image. Two years ago, however, the company added incentives for customers who return used items. This wasn’t just an act of urgency to keep clothing out of landfills. A 3-in-1 Snowshot Jacket that retails new for about $400 was recently listed on Patagonia’s Wornwear website for $187 to $207, more than twice the amount paid to customers in a voucher.What it pays: Each re-sale of a high-quality used jacket can net $100. “It’s a profitable business unit,” said Phil Graves, director of corporate development at Patagonia.Slender Plastic SavingsNestle has been saving money with ever-thinner plastic bottles, cutting the content in its half-liters by more than 60% since 1990. That also reduces the harmful chemicals and emissions produced from making plastic and saves on transportation costs. There’s also been a push to use more recycled material. Nestle recently started offering a 100% recycled bottle for its Pure Life water brand. Coca-Cola Inc. has decided to ditch plastic altogether for its Dasani line by pumping water into aluminum cans. That switch will make it easier to recycle and boost profitability. The cans weigh less, which cuts transportation costs. What it pays: 72 cents per pound of plastic resin.Beer With Less Spent on WaterLagunitas Brewing Co. was growing so quickly that its local water utility couldn’t process all the highly concentrated wastewater produced by its manufacturing process. Managing it all might have required costly upgrades to the municipal system. The brewer instead bought a new type of treatment system onsite that cleans the 7 gallons of high-strength wastewater made with every gallon of beer. The methane byproduct is used to produce electricity. Its one of the many breweries and vineyards out there that have now installed these systems.What it pays: Estimated savings more than $1 million a year on utility bills.This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to highlight climate change.(Adds zero-waste effort in ninth paragraph)To contact the authors of this story: Chris Martin in New York at email@example.comMillicent Dent in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Aaron Rutkoff at email@example.com, Lynn DoanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Europe's top court will rule on Sept. 24 whether Alphabet Inc unit Google must remove links to sensitive personal data worldwide or in Europe only in a case that pits privacy rights against the right of free speech. A second related dispute before the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) is whether Google must automatically delete search results with sensitive information on a person's sex life or criminal convictions, among others. The cases test the region's right to extend its laws beyond its borders and a ruling against Google may even embolden authoritarian governments to demand the removal of any topic they want, legal observers said.
The Ivanpah solar electric generating system in the Mojave desert near the California-Nevada border. Photograph: Steve Marcus/ReutersGoogle’s chief executive has revealed plans for the biggest renewable energy deal in corporate history.Sundar Pichai said the clean energy deal will include 18 separate agreements to supply Google with electricity from wind and solar projects across the world.The search engine’s green energy portfolio will grow by 40%, giving the company access to an extra 1.6 gigawatt of clean electricity – the equivalent capacity of a million solar rooftops, the company said.Google has become the largest corporate buyer of renewable electricity by matching the huge energy demand of its global operations and data centres with the electricity generated by renewable energy projects.Google said it became the first company of its size to match 100% of its electricity use with renewable energy sources in 2017 after buying more than 7bn kilowatt-hours of electricity. It matched the feat again last year, and expects to meet the target in 2019 too. Once the most recent deals have been signed, Google’s supply agreements with renewable energy developers will total 5.5GW.Pichai said the latest package of deals will “spur the construction of more than $2bn in new energy infrastructure”, including millions of solar panels and hundreds of wind turbines across three continents.“We’re not buying power from existing wind and solar farms, but instead are making long-term purchase commitments that result in the development of new projects,” he said.Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk“Bringing incremental renewable energy to the grids where we consume energy is a critical component of pursuing 24x7 carbon-free energy for all of our operations,” Pichai added.Almost half of Google’s new renewable energy investments will be made in Europe, including projects in Finland, Sweden, Belgium and Denmark.The deal includes investment in the US states of North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas, as well as a smaller contract in South America to power a Google data centre in Chile.
(Bloomberg) -- Google will invest 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) over the next two years to expand its server farms across Europe.The investments take its total spend on European data centers to 15 billion euros since 2007, Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai told reporters in Helsinki on Friday following a meeting with Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne.It’s also investing 1 billion euros in renewable power in Belgium, Denmark and Sweden. Among the projects are a 600 million-euro expansion of its existing data center in Finland, as well as two wind projects in the Nordic nation.The Alphabet Inc. company on Thursday announced a series of new deals to buy wind and solar power in the largest-ever collective purchase of renewable energy by a single company. The move shows how corporations are increasingly turning to clean energy as costs of wind and solar fall and investors push them to fight climate change.The Mountain View, California-based company said it has matched 100% of its electricity consumption with renewable energy the past two years.Google’s investment in its Hamina server complex on the south coast of Finland will now reach 2 billion euros. It has built other European data centers in Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland and Belgium to feed demand for faster access to files and media.However, big tech companies don’t always follow through on their internet infrastructure promises. Earlier this year, Apple Inc. shelved plans to build a second data center in Denmark, and canceled a similar project in Ireland.(Updates with background on Google’s data centers)To contact the reporter on this story: Leo Laikola in Helsinki at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kati Pohjanpalo at email@example.com, Giles TurnerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The investment plan includes an additional 600 million euros investment in the Hamina data centre in Finland, bringing total investment in the site to 2 billion euros, Finland's Prime Minister Antti Rinne told the joint news conference. "This is fantastic news for Finland," Rinne said. Google already has one data centre in Hamina, where it invested 800 million euros to convert an old paper mill. It said in May it would invest 600 million euros in a new data centre on the same site.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. contributed more greenhouse gas emissions last year than some big competitors in retail, logistics and technology, but less than rival Walmart Inc. and the world’s biggest energy companies, highlighting the growing scale and diverse businesses of the conglomerate.The disclosure by Amazon of its 2018 carbon emissions, 44.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, including purchased electricity and indirect emissions, came Thursday when the company committed to powering all of its business operations by renewable energy sources by 2030, and achieving carbon neutrality a decade later.Amazon’s emissions exceed the reported totals of United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. as well as Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Target Corp. in data compiled by CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project. Amazon’s total is 38% less than rival Walmart, the group said.“It’s a big number,” said Bruno Sarda, president of CDP North America, adding that Amazon’s emissions compare to a large power company. “They probably wouldn’t make the top 50, but when you look at what’s up there, it’s mostly all the large fossil fuel companies.”An Amazon spokesman said the company’s disclosures, which accounted for emissions generated by customer trips to retail stores such as Whole Foods, captured a fuller picture than those of some competitors.Amazon for years has frustrated climate advocates by refusing to participate in increasingly common corporate social responsibility and environmental disclosures. But employees and shareholders have been pressuring the company to change. A shareholder proposal in May requesting an Amazon climate policy failed -- but drew 30% of votes cast.“We’ve been requesting this information from them for 15 straight years,” Sarda said. “They’re just not big fans of transparency, or using frameworks that others have developed to measure their performance.”Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos acknowledged that Amazon had work to do. “We’ve been in the middle of the herd on this issue and we want to move to the forefront,” Bezos said at a news conference in Washington where he encouraged other companies to set similar goals. “We want to be leaders.”Some corporate governance and environmental groups praised the Seattle-based company for the steps they announced on Thursday.“It’s very important when a company like Amazon or Walmart take major steps to be proactive on climate,” said Tim Smith, a director at Walden Asset Management and a longtime advocate of corporate action on issues of social responsibility. “I hope they’re getting the message that they received in the votes in the shareholders meeting, and from their customers, that they expect much of them.”Amazon’s carbon footprint reflects the company’s move from a humble online retailer into a plethora of energy-intensive businesses, including running massive cloud-computing server farms, and, increasingly, hauling its own packages by plane and truck and delivering them to customers’ doorsteps. The figures the company disclosed include emissions produced by Amazon’s own operations, the electricity that powers its facilities and more indirect sources like the cost of producing Amazon’s packaging and electronic devices, among other things.The company’s turn toward transparency on climate issues wasn’t the first time a major technology company decided to go out and grab the mantle of leadership on climate change. Apple has released an environmental impact report with increasing levels of detail for the past decade and stepped into the spotlight during in 2013 when it hired Lisa Jackson, a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator, as vice president for environment, policy and social initiatives.Apple started submitting investor disclosure information to the U.K. nonprofit CDP in 2014, the same year that CEO Tim Cook publicly snapped at a critic that if he didn’t like the company’s environmental policies he should “get out of this stock.”To contact the reporters on this story: Matt Day in Seattle at firstname.lastname@example.org;Eric Roston in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew Pollack, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The investment plan includes an additional 600 million euros investment in the Hamina data center in Finland, bringing total investment in the site to 2 billion euros, Finland's Prime Minister Antti Rinne told the joint news conference. "This is fantastic news for Finland," Rinne said. Google already has one data center in Hamina, where it invested 800 million euros to convert an old paper mill. It said in May it would invest 600 million euros in a new data center on the same site.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- It’s starting to look like a pattern: Russian law enforcement agencies arrest someone on what seem to be trumped-up charges; the arrestee’s colleagues raise their voices in protest; various pro-Kremlin figures join the outcry; the prisoner walks free.This sequence of events first occurred in June, in the case of Ivan Golunov, an investigative reporter arrested on drug-dealing charges. Journalists who had worked with Golunov, myself included, could vouch that the charges were preposterous. We had a strong suspicion that Golunov was being punished for his investigation of corruption in the funeral business. So the Moscow journalistic community rose to the reporter’s defense, picketing police headquarters and trying to enlist the help of various officials. Three major newspapers, normally competitors, came out with identical front pages demanding freedom for Golunov. Then, suddenly, pro-Kremlin figures, including Margarita Simonyan, the editor in chief of the RT channel, joined the campaign. President Vladimir Putin took a personal interest in the case, and Golunov was tested for contact with drugs and released, the charges against him dropped.Now, it looks like a second iteration of the scheme is unfolding. On Aug. 3, Moscow riot police detained a young actor, Pavel Ustinov, during a protest against a city council election widely seen as unfair. Ustinov wasn’t taking part in the protest – he was just standing near a subway entrance in central Moscow, not far from where the demonstration was taking place. As the riot cops overpowered him, one ended up with a twisted shoulder. That resulted in Ustinov’s conviction on Sept. 16 for resisting arrest and a sentence of three years and six months in a prison camp – though a video, available on YouTube, shows clearly that he didn’t resist. Actors showed as much solidarity for their colleague as journalists had before them. Theater and TV stars spoke out in Ustinov’s defense, protests were held, a petition circulated. After a certain pause, just as in the Golunov case, Ustinov also found supporters among pro-Kremlin figures, from top TV propagandist Vladimir Solovyov to Andrey Turchak, one of the leaders of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party. Two days after the sentencing, Turchak said the video of the actor’s detention, which the judge had ignored, proved Ustinov’s innocence.Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Putin was aware of Ustinov’s case but couldn’t influence the court’s decision. But a top lawyer with Kremlin ties, Anatoly Kucherena, suddenly took up the case, and on Thursday, the Moscow prosecutor’s office asked the court to release Ustinov from prison. Are the similarities between the Golunov and Ustinov cases a coincidence? Or is the Kremlin establishing a procedure for rolling back obviously unjustified reprisals by its overeager enforcers? Either way, Putin has signaled that complaints will quickly escalate to him if there’s enough public interest in the case – and if the victim has backers capable of generating and maintaining such public interest.Like in the Soviet Union, it seems, certain privileged creative professionals, such as journalists and actors, are finding a sympathetic ear in the Kremlin. Victims of arbitrary reprisals who don’t have influential lobbies behind them – such as five other people convicted and sentenced to long prison terms for their part in last summer’s Moscow protests – are, it appears, not to be freed in this way. Public support from random social network users, activists or the 40 Russian Orthodox priests who authored an open letter advocating for detainees’ releases doesn’t seem to count. The rules of the game are ad hoc, as rules often are in the Putin system. Putin knows, however, that Russian elites will play by whatever rules he implicitly sets – and thus, also implicitly, accept that some political prisoners must remain behind bars. That’s ultimately what he wants; if his sadistic enforcers often act irrationally, he’s using their brutality to make key professional communities play along with him.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Microsoft (MSFT) stock appears to be one of safest mega-cap tech buys out there at the moment, even at its new all-time highs. And it just raised its dividend and announced a new share buyback program.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg clashed with Republican Senator Josh Hawley over his company’s record on privacy and safeguarding user data as the social media platform comes under unprecedented scrutiny in Washington.“I said to him, ‘prove that you are serious about data, sell WhatsApp, and sell Instagram.’ That’s what they should do,” Hawley said to reporters after meeting with Zuckerberg in Washington Thursday. “I think it’s safe to say he was not receptive to those suggestions.”Zuckerberg is in the nation’s capital defending his company’s practices to some of his harshest critics over their concerns that he isn’t taking strong enough action to prevent voter manipulation on the platform ahead of the 2020 presidential election, along with criticisms over the company’s handling of user data and curbing online violence.Hawley said he had a “very frank discussion” with Zuckerberg on the company’s record on privacy and political bias and said he thinks Facebook should be subject to independent audits of its content reviews. Hawley said he also pressed Zuckerberg for “a wall” between Facebook and its other platforms and Zuckerberg said no.Facebook is creating an oversight board to review what content should be policed and just released a charter outlining more details about the group earlier this week.Zuckerberg’s visit to the capital also included dinner Wednesday with Senator Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee and Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, along with other lawmakers.“Mr. Zuckerberg acknowledged that self-regulation is not going to cut it,” Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said to Bloomberg Television. “I think he realizes that the status quo and the days of the wild, wild West are over.”Warner helped organize the dinner with lawmakers at Facebook’s request, according to Rachel Cohen, a Warner spokeswoman. They discussed a wide range of issues “including the role and responsibility of social media platforms in protecting our democracy, and what steps Congress should take to defend our elections, protect consumer data, and encourage competition in the social media space,” Cohen said in a statement.Facebook is battling criticism from lawmakers over its handling of users’ personal information, the proliferation of violent content and election interference by foreign operatives. In response to the growing scrutiny, Zuckerberg has called for the passage of baseline regulations governing harmful content online.Democratic lawmakers have attacked Facebook’s handling of political content, including the way foreign operators have used the platform to sow discord in American public life. A report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller described how a Russian entity “carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.”Republicans accuse it of anti-conservative bias. Hawley said that Zuckerberg acknowledged that the company has been struggling with bias for years, and said the censorship of anti-abortion group Live Action was a mistake.“He said that they made a mistake, that there was clearly bias,” Hawley said.Facebook spokesman Andy Stone clarified that Zuckerberg told Hawley there was bias in the fact-checking process, which includes third-party partners, not at Facebook itself. Zuckerberg also told Hawley that for years Silicon Valley has struggled with perceptions of bias and that the industry needs to be aware of the issue, Stone added.The company has found no evidence of systemic anti-conservative bias on Facebook, where many of the top publishers are conservative.Blumenthal said in a statement that he also had a “serious conversation” with Zuckerberg at the dinner, which took place at Ris, an upscale American bistro, about the “challenges of privacy” facing Facebook, which has been ensnared in controversy over the way it has shared users’ information with third parties.“It’s no secret that I’ve been a tough critic of Facebook, so I was glad for the opportunity to discuss my concerns directly with Mr. Zuckerberg,” he said.Zuckerberg also met with Senators Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state, Utah Republican Mike Lee and Arkansas Republican Tom Cotton. Friday the CEO is slated to meet House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of California.“One of the most pressing issues for me is the threat posed by deepfake technology and it’s potential misuse during the presidential campaign,” Schiff said in an interview with Bloomberg Government.Zuckerberg isn’t meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to a person familiar with the matter. Democrats castigated the company earlier this year after it failed to remove a doctored video of Pelosi. She has snubbed at least two meetings with him, Bloomberg has reported. He also isn’t meeting several high-profile Republicans who are working on a federal privacy bill, including Senator Roger Wicker. Marsha Blackburn said he’d reached out to her but her travel schedule didn’t allow a meeting.Zuckerberg doesn’t appear to be meeting with government officials conducting inquiries. The Federal Trade Commission has opened an antitrust probe of the company, and New York is leading a coalition of states in a wide-ranging investigation of the social media giant. In July, Facebook agreed to pay $5 billion to settle FTC allegations it violated users’ privacy.The House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee is also investigating competition issues in the technology industry. Last week, the panel sent a letter to Facebook seeking information about its acquisitions as well as communications from Zuckerberg, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, former general counsel Colin Stretch and policy chief Kevin Martin.\--With assistance from Billy House, Joe Light, Ben Brody and Kurt Wagner.To contact the reporters on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at email@example.com;Rebecca Kern in Arlington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Steven T. Dennis in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Steve GeimannFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- One of the nation’s largest drug store chains and a shipping service giant are joining forces, with Alphabet Inc.’s Wing to begin a first-of-its-kind drone delivery service in October.Walgreens, FedEx Corp. and Wing, an offshoot of Google that was the first U.S. drone operator to receive partial certification as an airline, will begin the exploratory deliveries in the small town of Christiansburg, Virginia, the companies said in an announcement Thursday.The companies aim to go beyond the small-scale delivery demonstrations that have occurred so far in the U.S., typically under controlled environments conducted over short ranges, they said.“Wing has spent the last seven years developing a delivery drone and navigation system for this purpose,” Chief Executive Officer James Ryan Burgess said in the release. “By delivering small packages directly to homes through the air in minutes, and making a wide range of medicine, food and other products available to customers, we will demonstrate what we expect safer, faster, cleaner local delivery to look like in the future.”Read more: Amazon Poised to Test Chopper-Plane Mashup for Drone DeliveriesThe announcement is a sign of the rapid maturation of the drone industry, as multiple titans of industry race to find their place in what could become a transforming technology. At the same time, the U.S. government hasn’t created a regulatory structure or formal safety standards for small, low-flying drone operations, so such demonstrations continue to be conducted using waivers to existing rules.Wing has conducted demonstrations of how its deliveries would work before, including lowering a Popsicle to a toddler in Virginia last year. But the project with Walgreens and FedEx is designed to send actual merchandise to customers on a far bigger scale.The demonstration project is being conducted near the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and is associated with the Mid-Atlantic Partnership, one of the groups selected by the U.S. government as testing entities for drone commerce. While there is growing demand for using drones to deliver goods and to perform many industrial functions, the Federal Aviation Administration is still in the process of developing regulations to govern them.Robotic RaceWing is one of the leading companies in the race toward having robotic unmanned craft zip through the sky to people’s homes to drop off goods, and has received waivers to allow longer-range flights.Amazon.com Inc. and United Parcel Service Inc. are also developing their delivery services. A number of smaller companies, including Flirtey Inc. and Zipline International Inc., are either doing demonstration projects or have made deliveries in other countries.The partnership between Wing, Walgreens and FedEx has benefits for all three in the race to exploit the drone economy.Walgreens, a division of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., and other large drugstore chains have seen their sales chipped away at by Amazon and other online retailers, as the convenience of a brick-and-mortar pharmacy a short drive away has been supplanted by a package delivered to a customer’s front door. Amazon has also moved into the prescription drug business, offering patients conveniently-packaged pills through its PillPack unit.Drugstores Fight BackIn response, the drugstore chains have begun offering competing services to defend themselves. Walgreens offers a delivery service for prescriptions, and has partnered with FedEx to use its stores as package drop-off points. It’s also partnered with Kroger Co. on a pilot program for customers to pick up groceries at Walgreens stores.The partnership with Wing gives FedEx leverage to compete against UPS, which is using the small flying devices for revenue-generating health-care deliveries, such as blood samples, within a hospital campus in North Carolina.UPS is also seeking FAA authorization to operate like a small airline and expects to get that designation soon. UPS Chief Executive Officer David Abney has said the focus of drone deliveries would be the health-care industry at first, and then expand from there.(Updates with other companies in ninth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Drew Armstrong.To contact the reporters on this story: Alan Levin in Washington at email@example.com;Thomas Black in Dallas at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at email@example.com, Elizabeth Wasserman, Ros KrasnyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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