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Kylie Jenner at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party. Photo: Toni Anne Barson/WireImage via Getty Images

Forbes Magazine revoked its declaration that Kylie Jenner is a billionaire on Friday, accusing the social media influencer of inflating her income from her cosmetics company, Kylie Cosmetics, as part of a "web of lies."

Why it matters: The accusations undermine the integrity of the entire Kardashian-Jenner business empire, while calling into question the real value of a brand versus its perceived value on social media. They also highlight the murkiness of the heavily under-regulated influencer economy.

  • The FTC has begun to call out influencers for false commercialization. But former FTC officials have conceded to Axios that the agency is widely under-resourced when regulating these matters — and has heavily relied on social media platforms to regulate the influencer economy.

By the numbers: Jenner sold 51% of her brand to beauty company Coty in a deal that valued Jenner's company at $1.2 billion in January. But after looking at Coty's public filings over the past six months, Forbes concluded the company is smaller than the family had led media outlets to think.

  • Forbes says Coty's filings indicated Jenner's business only generated about $125 million in 2018, far lower than the $360 million it had led Forbes to believe.
  • Jenner's representatives told Forbes the media personality's skincare line had $100 million in revenue in its first month and a half in 2019, but filings showed it was on track for $25 million in sales from its launch in May through the end of last year.

What they're saying: "The business was never that big to begin with, and the Jenners have lied about it every year since 2016 — including having their accountant draft tax returns with false numbers — to help juice Forbes’ estimates of Kylie’s earnings and net worth," Forbes' Chase Peterson-Withorn and Madeline Berg wrote.

  • "While we can’t prove that those documents were fake (though it’s likely), it’s clear that Kylie’s camp has been lying."

What she's saying: Jenner denied Forbes' allegations in tweets Friday, in which she described the Forbes article have "a number of inaccurate statements and unproven assumptions."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

The bottom line: Forbes says that a more realistic assessment of her net worth puts it "just under $900 million" — still a huge number despite the exaggerations about her company's size and the resultant effects of the coronavirus pandemic on its business.

Go deeper

39 mins ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia structures in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.

Dave Lawler, author of World
59 mins ago - World

Biden's big Saudi reset

Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Ryad Kramdi/AFP via Getty

President Biden spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman this evening ahead of the release of a CIA report expected to implicate the king's son, and the kingdom's de facto ruler, in the murder of a U.S.-based journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

Why it matters: In one month, Biden has ended support for the Saudi war effort in Yemen, frozen a large arms deal and snubbed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) by declining to speak with him directly.

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