Since this is the last issue before Thanksgiving, let me take a moment to say how thankful I am for all of you who open Login every day. I'm also thankful, just slightly less so, for those of you who forget to open Login some days. And to those of you who rarely open it, I say, "Hi, Dad! Happy Thanksgiving. See you this afternoon."
Login is 1,140 words, a 4-minute read. We'll see you again on Monday morning.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Private properties in Sunbelt tourist magnets are increasingly up for rent on short-term-rental platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway and Vrbo. That has prompted some local officials to take action against this latest form of tech-driven urban disruption, Axios' Kim Hart reports.
Why it matters: Cities are on edge after some high-profile incidents, including a shooting that killed five at a Halloween party held at an Airbnb rental in a San Francisco suburb last month. Afterwards, Airbnb banned "party houses" and cracked down on unauthorized conduct.
The big picture: A chief complaint against home-rental companies has been their potential impact on housing prices in already unaffordable places. In some markets, the bigger complaint is that rental properties are becoming such popular alternatives to hotels that they are drastically changing the nature of neighborhoods — and even chasing away families.
What's happening: Residents are becoming peeved in communities across the country.
What they're saying: The trend was a hot topic of conversation at last week's National League of Cities City Summit in San Antonio. Elected officials from many small and mid-sized cities decried the rise of outside investors snapping up homes as rental properties, and the increased cost to public safety in dealing with disturbances.
The other side: Amanda Pedigo, vice president for government affairs at Expedia, which owns short-term rental platform Vrbo, said the company wants to work with cities to develop regulations for rental properties to alleviate concerns.
The catch: A number of states, including Tennessee, have passed laws on short-term rentals. But some city officials say state-wide laws can limit city-specific restrictions that try to go further.
For retailers, Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday buying season with Black Friday and Cyber Monday in quick succession — but Amazon has some difficult business to deal with before it can start celebrating. This week, fresh reports cast further doubts on the company's handling of working conditions at its warehouses and surveillance questions related to its Ring doorbell-cameras.
Driving the news:
Why it matters: Amazon has grown into arguably the world's largest retailer, and in the U.S. its vast reach online and off touches a huge percentage of households. Though the company has so far escaped the kind of public outcry that Facebook has encountered, it's becoming an increasingly prominent target for investigations by both media and regulators.
Image: Beat Games
Facebook said Tuesday that its virtual reality unit is buying Beat Games, the company behind Beat Saber, one of the most popular games for its devices.
Why it matters: It's a sign that Facebook continues to believe in — and put money into — virtual reality even as the industry has grown more slowly than predicted.
Between the lines: Some wonder if Facebook may face legal challenges that the small independent Beat Games did not, such as over use of copyrighted music, or even the terms "saber" and "light saber" — given that Disney is known to aggressively defend its intellectual property.
What's next: Facebook suggested more deals may follow. "We're exploring many ways to accelerate VR, and we think next year is going to be an incredible one of VR game launches and announcements. We are thrilled to have Beat Games join our team. This is just the beginning," it said in the blog post.
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer isn't promising to prevent the political arguments that families engage in over the holiday. He just wants to make sure that when you end up in an after-turkey tiff with your crotchety relatives, both you and they are relying on facts.
Why it matters: It's one thing to disagree over how to tackle a problem. But finding common ground is even harder, if not impossible, when we can't agree on the underlying reality.
What's happening: Several years ago Ballmer set up USA Facts, which aims to offer nonpartisan information on how the government spends its money. This year, USA Facts is offering up data on nine controversial topics, ranging from climate to the Second Amendment to border issues.
I've been saving this one: It's a look at how 10 famous artists might serve up Thanksgiving dinner.
Editor's note: The first item has been corrected to reflect that Tennessee's law does not pre-empt cities from passing short-term-rental ordinances.