Hundreds of Facebook employees have expressed outrage about the decision of one of its top global policy executives to support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by appearing at his hearing last week. “I recognize this moment is a deeply painful one — internally and externally,” wrote Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president for global public policy, in an apologetic note to Facebook staff. Kaplan’s surprise appearance prompted anger and shock among many Facebook employees, some of whom said on internal message boards that they took his action as though it were an endorsement from Facebook itself. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained in a staff meeting that Kaplan was a close friend of Kavanaugh’s and had broken no company rules; another staff meeting is planned for today to contain the damage. [Mike Isaac / The New York Times]
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Apple and Amazon pushed back aggressively against a bombshell Bloomberg Businessweek report that said Chinese spies used compromised servers, implanted with tiny rogue chips, to infiltrate major U.S. companies. Apple made the rare move of publishing a post to its PR site called ”What Businessweek got wrong about Apple,” claiming, “On this we can be very clear: Apple has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server.” Amazon’s post is called ”Setting the Record Straight on Bloomberg Businessweek’s Erroneous Article.” The denials leave little wiggle room — right? “Welcome to the murky world of national security reporting,” writes TechCrunch’s Zack Whittaker. [Zack Whittaker / TechCrunch]
In the latest iteration of the electric scooter wars, Bird is delivering its branded scooters on-demand to users’ homes or offices in Los Angeles, Nashville, Atlanta, Baltimore, Austin and Salt Lake City. The company, which operates in more than 100 cities and recently announced 10 million scooter rides since launching about one year ago, also launched custom-built scooters called Bird Zero, with 60 percent more battery life, better ride stability and durability and an integrated digital screen to display speed. [Megan Rose Dickey / TechCrunch]
Newspaper publisher Tronc is changing its name back to Tribune Publishing Co., killing off one of the most-ridiculed rebrandings in corporate history. The new/old name will go into effect on Tuesday when the company’s stock ticker on the Nasdaq exchange will change to TPCO from TRNC. Tribune, which publishes the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and New York Daily News, jettisoned its 150-year-old name in June 2016 in favor of Tronc — short for Tribune Online Content. The name soon became the subject of jokes on late-night TV and online; comedian John Oliver said it sounded like “a stack of print newspapers being thrown into a dumpster.” [Gerry Smith / Bloomberg]
New York’s JFK Airport released the first details of an ambitious $13 billion overhaul. Construction, which includes two large international terminals and all mod cons, is expected to begin in 2020 and be completed by 2025. Although the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates the airport, its six terminals are each managed by separate airlines or terminal operators; as a result, JFK is notorious for a lack of communication or cooperation among the partners. The Port Authority expects JFK to serve 80 million passengers annually by 2035, up from nearly 60 million last year. [Patrick McGeehan / The New York Times]
Growing use of legal marijuana in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere won’t cut into beer or wine sales, says the head of one of the biggest brewers and wine producers in the U.S. “We see no evidence whatsoever, especially in … the legal states, of alcohol cannibalization,” said Robert Sands, CEO of Constellation Brands, which includes Corona beer among its labels. Last year the company bought a 10 percent stake in Canadian cannabis startup Canopy Growth that has yielded more than $1 billion of investment gains. Recreational marijuana will become legal in Canada this month, and Constellation recently invested an additional $4 billion in Canopy; Sands says he wanted to capture an early position in what he thinks will eventually be a global market worth “hundreds of billions of dollars.” [Jennifer Maloney and Kimberly Chin / The Wall Street Journal]
ELON WATCH: ”Just want to that the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work. And the name change is so on point!”
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[Jason Del Rey]