Plus: Pinterest is ramping up for an IPO as soon as April 2019; a trip through Elon Musk’s experimental “personal rapid transit” tunnel in south LA; the best of 2018’s bad restaurant reviews.
Recode Daily is taking next week off for the holidays — we’ll be back in your email inbox on Wednesday, January 2, 2019. Happy New Year!
Facebook doesn’t need to sell your data — it’s been giving it away for free, and for a long time, that was part of the plan. According to the New York Times, which published another long and damning investigation into the social giant’s data practices late on Tuesday, Facebook granted more than 150 companies, including Netflix and Microsoft, access to users’ personal data in more intrusive ways than previously disclosed. It sounds like virtually everyone on the internet had access to some kind of Facebook data — which likely means some of your data — over the past eight years. These data-sharing deals reflect the idealistic vision that CEO Mark Zuckerberg had for Facebook back in 2010 — a notion that your social profile wasn’t limited to Facebook’s app, but followed you around the web to personalize all the other experiences you have, too. But Facebook was sloppy and careless with your data, and most users had no idea that these partnerships exist. Facebook stock closed down 7 percent yesterday following the Times story and news that the company is being sued by the district attorney of Washington, D.C., over the Cambridge Analytica data privacy breach. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]
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The Trump administration is immediately pulling all of the 2,000-plus U.S. troops out of Syria. On Twitter, Trump said the U.S. had “defeated ISIS in Syria.” The move makes good on Trump’s repeated promise to pull troops out of the country, but also comes as the U.S. military, working with Syrian partner forces, has struggled to finish off remaining pockets of the Islamic militant group’s forces in central Syria. [Missy Ryan / The Washington Post]
Defying pressure from Trump to stop raising short-term interest rates, the Federal Reserve nudged them up for the fourth time this year, but suggested it could slow the pace of increases next year in the face of new economic headwinds. Fed officials voted unanimously on the increase, which will bring the benchmark federal-funds rate to a range between 2.25 percent and 2.5 percent, the ninth such rise since December 2015. The market was disappointed: The S&P 500 fell 1.5 percent to the lowest close in 15 months; Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said central-bank officials still expect healthy growth and a “robust economic backdrop” in the coming year. [Nick Timiraos / The Wall Street Journal]
Pinterest is gearing up for an initial public offering as early as April 2019, which would see it joining Uber, Lyft and other highly valued startups that have stayed private for years and are now preparing for debuts next year. The online image-sharing company, which recently announced that it had more than 250 million monthly users, could be valued at more than $12 billion; the company generates revenue from ads on its site and is poised to generate revenue in excess of $700 million this year, up 50 percent from the prior year. Pinterest recently tapped former Google and Alibaba exec Jane Penner to be its head of investor relations. [Tanya Dua / Business Insider]
The Verge took a ride through Elon Musk’s new tunnel in south Los Angeles. Musk, the founder of the Boring Company, took time from his electric-car company and space-exploration venture to showcase his grand vision for “personal rapid transit” — a network of tunnels that can shuttle electric cars underground at high speeds. “This is better than Disneyland,” said one excited reporter sharing the Tesla Model X, though the top speed reached on the 1.14-mile experimental tunnel segment was 40 miles per hour. Musk says his underground construction company has already spent “$40 million-ish” and is planning projects for Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Dodger Stadium in LA. Of course there was a lavish party for the expensive hole in the ground. [Elizabeth Lopatto / The Verge]
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Benchmark’s Scott Belsky has four magic words for entrepreneurs: “Do your fucking job.” Belsky, a venture partner at Benchmark and the CPO at Adobe, talks about his book, “The Messy Middle,” on the latest Recode Decode. [Theodore Schleifer]
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