Hello folks. It's Friday.
1. Our friends in the UK have been voting. Exit polls are likely going to drop just as you're reading this dispatch, and maybe they'll provide a little more clarity as to what is going to happen. At the moment, both a hung parliament led by Jeremy Corbyn and a landslide victory for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives are eminently possible. There's even chatter that Boris' seat is in jeopardy, as unlikely as that seems. It's all happening.
2. The federal government has announced what it plans to do about Google and Facebook, following the ACCC's 'Digital Platforms Inquiry'. In short, it's implementing the easy recommendations and dodging the tougher ones. It will set up a new branch of the ACCC to police big tech, but will allow Google and Facebook to come up with their own code of conduct to fight disinformation. The recommendation for a $50 million fund to support Australian journalism was shot down.
3. Over in the US, federal regulators are considering blocking Facebook from combining WhatsApp, Instagram and its other apps. The company has announced it plans to run all of its apps on a single back-end platform, raising antitrust concerns. The Federal Trade Commission is considering filing an injunction.
4. Westpac's board copped an absolute walloping at its annual general meeting. Following a 23-minute apology from outgoing chairman Lindsay Maxsted, the board was slapped with a historic "second strike" on executive pay, which led to a board spill motion. It failed, but the anger in the room from shareholders was obvious.
5. A "high-risk" recovery mission to reclaim the bodies of eight tourists from Whakaari/White Island is currently in full swing. New Zealand police deputy commissioner Mike Clement said this morning it was "well underway" but was taking longer than expected. The operation is led by a specialist military team, thought to be SAS.
6. The ACCC has stalled Japanese beer giant Asahi's $16 billion takeover of Carlton & United Breweries. The watchdog says the proposed acquisition "may lead to higher cider prices" due to reduced competition, and may also present issues for Australia's "highly concentrated" beer market. While you're contemplating that, read our article about the other Aussie beer acquisitions in recent memory.
7. The co-founder of local unicorn darling Canva told us the $4.8 billion company is 'more stable' than WeWork, amid chatter about overvalued startups. “There seemed to be a level of hype that got people excited,” he said of WeWork. “I think Canva is in a much more stable position, and we’ve demonstrated that to investors through our consistent growth over the years and we’ve been profitable for a while. We have underlying financial stability.”
8. Mastercard is trialling a new service in Australia in partnership with Australia Post which would allow you to identify yourself digitally, without the need for paperwork. Rather than scrambling for your birth certificate and your passport and so on to get 100 points of ID, you should soon be able to do it with your phone, and it won't require a "centralised identity base”.
9.Donald Trump was not a fan of Greta Thunberg winning Time's Person of the Year. You would generally hope the leader of the free world wouldn't get this upset about a teenager, but whatever.
10. More drama for Boeing. American Airlines has announced it is cancelling its 737 Max flights until April next year, after the FAA confirmed the troubled plane would not be approved to fly this year. Boeing has been promising the plane would be back in the air by the end of 2019. Not happening, it turns out.
Not really sure on the social media strategy for this one, but there you go. Berxit.