☕ Good Wednesday morning, and welcome back.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
On Facebook's map of humanity, the node for "you" often includes vast awareness of your movements online — and a surprising amount of info about what you do offline, Axios chief tech correspondent Ina Fried writes.
Assembling your profile — where your Facebook presence begins:
Following what you do on Facebook ... The company has near-total awareness of every move you make on its website or in its apps, including:
Following what you say on Facebook Messenger:
Following you outside Facebook: Facebook sees you less thoroughly outside its own digital turf, but it still sees a lot. This data comes from two places: partner services and third-party information brokers.
Following you across your apps: Many apps are connected to Facebook, including through its popular Facebook Login feature, which uses your Facebook account as a shortcut for you to sign in.
Following you at home and around town: Facebook's new Portal video chat system is basically a camera that lives in your home.
What Facebook does with all this data: Facebook says, emphatically, that it doesn't sell your information.
What Facebook doesn't know about you: Facebook insists it doesn't monitor your phone calls or secretly record you via microphone, despite long-running suspicions to the contrary.
On Day 12 of the shutdown, President Trump plans to hold today's meeting with congressional leaders in the Situation Room as a way of dramatizing security concerns at the border, according to Hill sources in both parties.
With some Republicans worried Trump hasn't used the bully pulpit deftly enough during the shutdown, this is a chance for Trump to regain the offensive before Democrats take control of the House tomorrow.
After two months of behind-the-scenes jockeying since the midterms, Democrats' race for president is about to burst into the open with a series of candidacy announcements and staff hires, 2020 operatives tell me.
A wave of announcements, like the one Sen. Elizabeth Warren made on New Year's Eve morning, is planned for the next few weeks.
I'm told that "the Bs" — Biden, Bernie, Beto and the billionaires, including Mike Bloomberg — can wait longer because they'll be able to quickly raise money.
P.S. ... Former Vice President Biden has created a "campaign in waiting" while earning substantial wealth for the first time, "building a network of nonprofits and academic centers that are staffed by his closest strategists and advisers," the N.Y. Times' Kevin Sack and Alex Burns report.
With their very first vote when the new Congress opens tomorrow, House Democrats plan to pounce on one of Republicans' biggest political vulnerabilities, the lawsuit to wipe out the Affordable Care Act.
Why it matters: House Dems view the health care issue as a key reason they won the majority in November's midterms.
Be smart: Axios' Caitlin Owens points out that while this is good politics, voting to intervene in the lawsuit probably won't have any practical effect.
Henry Connelly, a Pelosi spokesman, said: "After two years of brutal attacks on health care and desperate GOP misrepresentations on the campaign trail, we’re not giving Republicans anywhere to hide."
Mitt Romney — the 2012 Republican president nominee, who will be sworn tomorrow as a U.S. senator from Utah — instantly becomes President Trump's highest profile intra-party critic with this WashPost op-ed today:
The Trump presidency made a deep descent in December. ... [H]is conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions this month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office. ...
The world is ... watching. America has long been looked to for leadership. Our economic and military strength was part of that ... Trump’s words and actions have caused dismay around the world.
Be smart: For Romney to refer to the president as "Trump" says a lot.
Homicides in Washington, D.C., "surged in 2018, driven by what police say are the more frequent use of guns in crimes and more fatal outcomes when a shooting occurs," the WashPost reports:
P.S. ... The number of traffic deaths in New York City dropped in 2018 to 200, the lowest level "since the city began tracking such deaths in 1910," the N.Y. Times' Emma Fitzsimmons reports.
"Economic and other indicators are making it increasingly clear that Trump’s economic dreams are unlikely to come true," Steven Rattner, counselor to the Treasury secretary in the Obama administration, writes in the N.Y. Times.
Among the year-end selection of Rattner charts, made famous by "Morning Joe":
"Pharmaceutical companies are ringing in the new year by raising the price of hundreds of drugs," The Wall Street Journal's Jared Hopkins reports (subscription):
The industry points out that these are list prices and don’t reflect substantial rebates and discounts that payers negotiate off the initial list price.
"Brazil’s newly inaugurated far-right President Jair Bolsonaro said in his address to the nation [yesterday] that his country had been 'liberated from socialism and political correctness' now that he has taken power," Reuters reports.
"Rewards Credit Cards Gained a Fanatic Following — Now Banks Are Pulling Back ... Major perks like airfare and cash back were meant to lead to higher returns. But consumers figured out how to game the system," The Wall Street Journal's AnnaMaria Andriotis and Emily Glazer report (subscription):
Several large banks are "discussing how to cut back or rejigger ... rewards [to] encourage more card usage and scale back upfront bonuses."
The University of Texas mascot, a 1,700-pound longhorn steer named Bevo, knocked down its barricade at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans yesterday and charged toward Georgia's mascot, a bulldog named Uga, AP reports:
The incident, about an hour before kickoff, was caught on video and quickly became a sensation on social media.
The Longhorns won, 28-21. Sorry, Kathleen.