Mar 30, 2020 - Economy & Business

Airbnb to spend $250 million to partially refund hosts

Photo Illustration: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

After recently allowing all customers to cancel reservations due to the coronavirus pandemic, Airbnb says it will spend $250 million to refund 25% of the cancellation fees that hosts would have otherwise received depending on their select policy. It also created a $10 million relief fund for select hosts, which includes $9 million donated by Airbnb's founders.

The big picture: Airbnb has been in the unpleasant position of having to please both sides of its marketplace, while also managing its own finances. It recently cut marketing spend to save $800 million, among other moves, as its business takes a huge hit, a source tells Axios.

Go deeper: The gig economy's coronavirus test

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Mark Zuckerberg: Social networks should not be "the arbiter of truth"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Thursday that social media platforms should not police political speech, and that "people should be able to see what politicians say.”

Why it matters: Zuckerberg was responding to Twitter's decision this week to fact-check a pair of President Trump's tweets that claimed that mail-in ballots are "substantially fraudulent." Twitter's label, which directs users to "get the facts" about mail-in voting, does not censor Trump's tweets.

House Democrats pull FISA reauthorization bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats pulled legislation Thursday that would have renewed expired domestic surveillance laws and strengthened transparency and privacy protections amid broad opposition from President Trump, House GOP leadership and progressive Democrats.

Why it matters: The failure to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) comes as Trump continues to attack the intelligence community, which he claims abused the law to surveil his 2016 campaign and Trump administration officials.

U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter

Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy shrunk by an annualized 5% in the first quarter — worse than the initially estimated 4.8% contraction — according to revised figures released by the government on Thursday.

Why it matters: It's the worst quarterly decline since 2008 and shows a huge hit as the economy was just beginning to shut down because of the coronavirus. Economists are bracing for the second quarter's figures to be the worst ever — with some projecting an annualized decline of around 40%.

1 hour ago - Economy & Business