Business News at a Glance
Posted October 29, 2018 9:25 p.m. EDT
Hasty Exit for Campbell Executive After Soros Tweet
A Campbell Soup Co. executive who had planned to retire next month left last week instead after sharing a conspiracy theory on Twitter about a migrant caravan in Mexico, the company said Monday. Campbell said the company and the executive, Kelly Johnston, vice president of government affairs for 16 years, had agreed to “accelerate” his retirement after he said on Twitter last week that a foundation led by George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist and liberal activist, was the driving force behind the caravan. Soros’ activism has made him a lightning rod for criticism among some conservatives and right-wing activists.
On Social Media, No Answers for Hate
On Monday, a search on Instagram, the photo-sharing site owned by Facebook, produced a torrent of anti-Semitic images and videos uploaded in the wake of Saturday’s shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Over the past 10 years, Silicon Valley’s social media companies have expanded their reach and influence. But it has become glaringly apparent that the companies never quite understood the negative consequences of that influence nor what to do about it. "Social media is emboldening people to cross the line and push the envelope on what they are willing to say to provoke and to incite,” said Jonathan Albright, research director at Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism.
Justices Weigh Class-Action Limits in Arbitration Contract
The Supreme Court seemed prepared Monday to rule that workers at a California business could not band together in an arbitration proceeding to seek compensation for what they said was their employer’s failure to protect their data. The case was the court’s latest effort to determine whether companies can use arbitration provisions to bar class actions in court and in arbitration proceedings. In cases concerning fine-print contracts with consumers and employment agreements, the court has ruled that arbitration provisions can require disputes to be resolved one by one. But the arbitration provision in the employment agreement in question did not specifically bar class actions.
Tesla’s Future Is Not Yet Secured
Following the fortunes of Tesla has been a frantic, full-time job in 2018 — and that is not about to change. Tesla’s stronger-than-expected third-quarter results last week relieved some of the pressure on the company and its chief executive, Elon Musk, after a turbulent few months. The automaker posted quarterly profits and positive cash flows, which helped drive its stock sharply higher. Strong sales of its latest car, the Model 3 sedan, delivered a surge in revenue. The company managed to restrain its expenses in the quarter, though that may be hard to sustain for a company that intends to expand quickly.
China’s King of Internet Fluff Wants to Conquer the World
A Chinese internet company that serves up homemade break-dancing videos, dishy news bites and goofy hashtag challenges has become one of the planet’s most richly valued startups, with a roughly $75 billion price tag. You may not have heard of the company, Bytedance. But your nearest teenager is probably already obsessed with Musical.ly, the video-sharing platform that Bytedance bought for around $1 billion last year and folded into its own video service, TikTok. There are two major internets right now: China’s and the rest of the world’s. So far, Bytedance has found a rare measure of success in both internets.
Tiny Books Fit in One Hand. Will They Change the Way We Read?
As a physical object and a feat of technology, the printed book is hard to improve upon. So when Julie Strauss-Gabel, president and publisher of Dutton Books for Young Readers, discovered “dwarsliggers” — tiny, pocket-size, horizontal flipbacks that have become a wildly popular print format in the Netherlands — it felt like a revelation. This month, Dutton, part of Penguin Random House, began releasing its first batch of mini books, with four reissued novels by best-selling young adult novelist John Green. It’s a bold experiment that, if successful, could reshape the publishing landscape and perhaps even change the way people read.