Nov 17

Wonders & Blunders: Bad Moon on the Rise

Protests, hysteria, the biggest tech IPO in years, a SUPERmoon – what a week of extremes! As long-term implications of last week’s election results sink in, regulators have begun their Washington exodus, starting with SEC Chairman Mary Jo White. The President-elect has reiterated some promises (repealing Dodd-Frank) and rolled back on others (The Great Mexican … fence?). Even notoriously reclusive Mark Zuckerburg has been forced to comment on allegations that fake news stories on Facebook spread misinformation that influenced the election outcome. And despite the chaos, or perhaps because of it, Snapchat confidentially filed for an IPO. It’s hard to predict what other changes will come, but one thing’s for sure: No matter how dark the night, the sun (and moon) will always rise.

Going Public? It’s a SNAP
Snapchat’s parent company, Snap Inc. has completed a confidential filing with the SEC to go public in 2017, The Wall Street Journal reports. The social media messaging service has been valued at up to $25 billion, which would make Snap the third-most-valuable technology company to go public, after Alibaba and Facebook. 2016 was a slow year for IPOs, and analysts predict that a soaring IPO for Snapchat could reinvigorate the new-issue pipeline next year. That would be a story worth snapping.
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S.E.C Chair Empties Desk
Though her tenure as head of the Securities and Exchange Commission wasn’t set to expire until 2019, Chair Mary Jo White has announced she will step down at the end of Barack Obama’s final term. Her replacement has not been announced, though The New York Times reports that the new administration will likely appoint someone with an eye on deregulation. This week, Trump reiterated his campaign-trail promise to dismantle Dodd-Frank regulations, passed by Congress in 2008 in response to the financial crisis. The regulations are complex, and could take a while to unravel, with wide-ranging implications that are yet unknown.
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Did You Hear the One About the Pope?
News in 2016 just wasn’t interesting enough for some Facebook users. Because the platform’s algorithms prioritize “engagement” and don’t filter or ban content based on accuracy, fake news stories have drowned out honest reporting on the world’s most trafficked social network. Vox reports that stories “liked” and shared millions of times, including “that the pope endorsed Donald Trump (he didn’t), that a Democratic operative was murdered after agreeing to testify against Hillary Clinton (it never happened), that Bill Clinton raped a 13-year old girl (a total fabrication)” may have hurt Clinton’s chances in the election. Mark Zuckerburg has begun rolling back fake news outlets’ access to Facebook’s advertising platform, but warns, “I believe we must be extremely cautious about becoming arbiters of truth ourselves.”
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The Bright Side of the Moon

Even the moon is leaning in for a closer look at this week’s action – last night’s elliptical orbit brought the moon its closest to Earth since 1948. At just 216,000 miles away, coincidentally on the full side of its cycle, the moon appeared 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than usual. National Geographic reports that this astronomical event won’t happen again until November 25, 2034 – at which point, perhaps the dust around the rest of this week’s mega-events might have settled.
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