Happy Thursday. We're nearly there.
1. Not a great day to be Mark Zuckerberg, folks. Thousands of pages of internal Facebook documents were published online overnight, shedding light on how the social media behemoth profited from user data and fought its competitors. The data was originally compiled as part of a lawsuit, and the company has fought to stop their release; arguing they do not paint a balanced picture of the company. Some of the revelations in there aren't new, as investigative reporter Duncan Campbell has been seeding parts to publications like NBC News, but now it's all out there. You can peruse the gigantic PDF document here yourself, if you're so inclined. Or read our summary. We're all very busy.
2. Airbnb has announced a tranche of safety policy changes after five people were shot dead at a 'party house' in California. Most of the updates are pretty rote and expected – like a 24/7 safety hotline – but it also announced a fairly substantial project: it is going to verify every single one of its 7 million listings by the end of 2020. You could be forgiven for thinking that last part is less about the shooting, and more about the VICE report from earlier this week which uncovered a massive Airbnb scam operating across the US.
3. Top Matildas players will earn the same money as top Socceroos players under a landmark new deal. Under the deal, both teams will share 19% of collective revenue. They'll also gain matched benefits like business travel on international flights. It's a big step forward for women's sport both in Australia and globally.
4. Microsoft scientists have successfully encoded a copy of the 1978 film "Superman" on a piece of glass roughly the size of a coaster. It's the proof of concept for a longterm project attempting to store data on glass, which is some real "Star Trek" stuff. Researchers used lasers to carve tiny three-dimensional etchings into the glass’s surface which are then read by an algorithm. It could lead to a sustainable way to store data for long periods of time, as apparently the glass is “surprisingly hard to destroy." For now, I guess it's just a very annoying and laborious way to watch 1978's "Superman".
5. Japanese investment conglomerate SoftBank Group has reported a staggering $6.5 billion loss in the third quarter, largely off the back of the WeWork disaster and Uber. Last month, the company spent over $10 billion bailing WeWork out, and you can see the impact in this earnings call. You'd hate to be the guy putting together the Google Slides deck the night before that presentation.
6. More than 11,000 scientists have declared a climate emergency, saying that “untold human suffering” will be the result unless we take drastic action. Sorry for the downer this early in the morning. “Despite 40 years of global climate negotiations, with few exceptions, we have generally conducted business as usual and have largely failed to address this predicament,” the group wrote.
7. The founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, was asked whether he'd sell his company to Facebook again. You know, given all the drama. His answer? “When someone comes and offers you a billion dollars for 11 people, what do you say?” I guess that's a yes. Systrom exited Facebook last year over "tensions" with Zuckerberg on the future of the Instagram product.
8. More Boeing planes are grounded over wing cracking issues. Ryanair is the latest airline to be affected, grounding at least three of its Boeing 737 Next Generation. The problem is with the "pickle fork" – an alarmingly-named part which connects the wing of the plane to the body. Qantas was the last airline to publicly announce it was grounding the planes.
9. Chinese payment platform Alipay has thrown open its services to foreigners for the first time – on a limited basis. Short-term visitors will be able to access the app for 90 days without a Chinese bank account or phone number. They'll be restricted to holding a maximum of about $400 in their account at any one time.
10. China's biggest ridehailing company, Didi – which is making moves into the Aussie market – has announced it will bar women from using one of its services after 8pm. Carpooling app Hitch will trial not allowing women to use the app after a set curfew, ostensibly for safety reasons. It follows the murder of two women on the platform in 2018, which led to Hitch being suspended. An unusual way to relaunch a brand.
Down a crackling Skype line, we spoke to former antivirus software exec (and current nutty cryptocurrency fugitive) John McAfee ahead of his appearance at StartCon 2019. Turns out he doesn't like government surveillance very much at all. Whodathunkit.