Jan 9, 2020

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's newsletter — edited by Justin Green — is 454 words, a 2-minute read.

Situational awareness: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says intelligence from multiple sources indicates that an Iranian surface-to-air missile caused the crash of a Ukraine Airlines Boeing 737-800 near Tehran earlier this week. Go deeper.

1 big thing: Zuckerberg's monster 2020 challenges

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

2020 has already thrown down a series of challenges for Mark Zuckerberg, even as he gives up annual personal growth goals in favor of a longer view.

The big picture: Zuckerberg has to grow revenue and users, yet not get blamed for tipping another election — and not buckle on what he views as the core value of free speech.

  • Despite an onslaught of bad press, he seems to be succeeding ... for now, reports Axios' Sara Fischer.

Zuckerberg’s plan is coming into focus:

  1. Don't compromise on big, essential issues, like allowing micro-targeting on political ads and declining to fact-check them.
  2. Make some cosmetic gestures, like allowing users to opt out of political ads or certain micro-targeting options.
  3. Engage with Trump and his campaign, including through a private dinner with the president last fall.
  4. Better explain Facebook's logic to the media, including a rare interview with wife Priscilla Chan and a leaked memo that lays out a trusted lieutenant's perspective on the 2020 election.
  5. Focus on influencers with record lobbying dollars.

The big picture: Facebook's revenue and user base has shown consistent growth over the past year, proving that users and advertisers aren't too spooked by the drama around data privacy and misinformation.

  • Unlike Google and Amazon, Facebook hasn’t really found itself in President Trump's crosshairs.
  • Despite outrage from Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill, there doesn't seem to be any meaningful regulation coming.
  • And as recent fines show, big regulatory investigations into massive tech companies can deliver record penalties yet still not change the game.

Go deeper:

Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Gary Hershorn/Corbis via Getty Images

The moon over One World Trade Center.

2. What you missed
  1. Scooter company Lime is laying off about 14% of its workforce (roughly 100 employees) and shuttering operations in 12 markets as it seeks to become profitable this year, the company tells Axios.
  2. The Australian wildfires have elicited massive charitable donations. Go deeper.
  3. Google received 3.3 million job applications in 2019, up from 2.8 million in 2018.
  4. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signed on to a resolution that seeks to dismiss articles of impeachment if they are not transmitted within 25 days of their approval (Jan. 12). Go deeper.
  5. The wine industry is making a last-ditch attempt to avert 100% tariffs on all EU wines — as well as cheeses, cosmetics and other consumer products. Go deeper.
3. 1 📺 thing
Expand chart
Reproduced from an FX Networks Research report; Chart: Axios Visuals

A whopping 532 original scripted television series were created last year, Sara Fischer reports.

Why it matters: In recent years, experts wondered if the TV market would eventually reach "Peak TV," or a point of total saturation. The new data suggests that hasn't happened yet.