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Free ain't what it used to be. Back in 2009, it was a radical idea, extolled in books by the likes of Wired editor Chris Anderson. Today, it's inherently suspect, on the grounds that if you're not paying, you're the product being sold.

What's happening: Robinhood made its name by offering free stock trades; now, the backlash has arrived.

  • The scandal concerns the fact that Robinhood gets some 40% of its revenue by selling its customers' order flow to high-frequency traders. All retail brokerages do this.
  • The customers aren't hurt by this; they still get fantastic execution. But high frequency traders have a bad reputation, thanks to the flash crash and a certain Michael Lewis book.
  • I was unimpressed by Lewis's argument, but no one's litigating the merits of high-frequency trading here.
  • The real issue is the lack of transparency at Robinhood. If you're going to give away a service for free, it behooves you to be very clear about how you're making your money. If you're not, your customers are likely to feel misled when they find out.

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Trump tightens screws on ByteDance to sell Tiktok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump added more pressure Friday night on China-based TikTok parent ByteDance to exit the U.S., ordering it to divest all assets related to the U.S. operation of TikTok within 90 days.

Between the lines: The order means ByteDance must be wholly disentangled from TikTok in the U.S. by November. Trump had previously ordered TikTok banned if ByteDance hadn't struck a deal within 45 days. The new order likely means ByteDance has just another 45 days after that to fully close the deal, one White House source told Axios.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 21,056,850 — Total deaths: 762,293— Total recoveries: 13,100,902Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m ET: 5,306,215 — Total deaths: 168,334 — Total recoveries: 1,796,309 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: CDC: Survivors of COVID-19 have up to three months of immunity Fauci believes normalcy will return by "the end of 2021" with vaccine — The pandemic's toll on mental health — FDA releases first-ever list of medical supplies in shortage.
  4. States: California passes 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.
  5. Cities: Coronavirus pandemic dims NYC's annual 9/11 Tribute in Light.
  6. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  7. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.

Harris: "Women are going to be a priority" in Biden administration

Sen. Kamala Harris at an event in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In her first sit-down interview since being named Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris talked about what she'll do to fight for women if elected VP, and how the Democrats are thinking about voter turnout strategies ahead of November.

What they're saying: "In a Biden-Harris administration women are going to be a priority, understanding that women have many priorities and all of them must be acknowledged," Harris told The 19th*'s Errin Haines-Whack.