|Bid||222.05 x 2200|
|Ask||222.14 x 2900|
|Day's range||220.53 - 222.29|
|52-week range||142.52 - 222.63|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.06|
|PE ratio (TTM)||35.51|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||N/A|
(Bloomberg) -- A panel of the Italian Senate voted to allow the start of prosecution of League party chief Matteo Salvini for refusing to allow stranded migrants to dock when he was interior minister, Ansa news agency reported, as the opposition leader cast himself as a victim of political persecution ahead of decisive regional elections.The Senate committee refused to block a trial for Salvini, Ansa reported, without citing anyone. Prosecutors are charging him with kidnapping, in denying access to a Sicilian port for 131 migrants rescued by a coast guard ship in July. Salvini says he was applying government policy and waiting for other European Union countries to accept the migrants.As the Senate panel was due to begin its proceedings, the League launched a website calling on supporters to show their backing by fasting for a day, the party said in a statement. “I’ve decided that I’ll ask those who have to vote, so also League senators, to do me a favor,” Salvini said in a Facebook video Sunday. “Vote to put me on trial and we’ll clear things up once and for all.” He urged what he called “dear leftist judges” to catch drug dealers and criminals instead of harassing people who do their jobs.Salvini abandoned Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s first coalition during the summer in a failed bid to trigger a snap general election. He’s been riding high in opinion polls ever since, with support nationally running at around 31%, far ahead of rivals in government.Salvini’s center-right bloc, which includes the far-right Brothers of Italy party and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, hopes to take control of Emilia-Romagna in a coming regional vote, at a time when the ruling Five Star Movement and Democratic Party are fighting each other.Salvini said Monday he was “ready” to go to prison if necessary, Ansa reported.\--With assistance from Alberto Brambilla.To contact the reporters on this story: John Follain in Rome at email@example.com;Sonia Sirletti in Milan at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at email@example.com, Jerrold ColtenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- A senior Amazon.com Inc. executive used a conference in Munich to challenge Facebook Inc.’s record in protecting users’ privacy.“If you don’t pay for the product, you are the product,” Werner Vogels, Amazon’s chief technology officer told Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs and communications, at the Digital Life Design conference on Monday.Standing in the audience, Vogels -- who introduced himself as working for a “small bookshop” -- asked Clegg how Facebook could claim to protect users if many weren’t aware of how their data is being used.“I think there are things Facebook could do,” to make its relationship with users more explicit, Clegg responded. “Unlike you, I believe an advertising business model where the user doesn’t have to pay is a very ingenious and good thing.”Both companies have come under scrutiny for violating users’ privacy. Speakers using Amazon’s Alexa virtual-assistant collected audio snippets from users and played them to employees hired to help train its voice-recognition software, Bloomberg has reported. Amazon has said that it takes privacy seriously and that select employees listen to only a very small fraction of Alexa requests to improve the service.Read more: Silicon Valley Is Listening to Your Most Intimate MomentsFacebook has come under fire for giving third-parties access to user data, particularly in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Last year, it agreed to pay a record $5 billion fine to the Federal Trade Commission to settle an investigation stemming from that controversy, where an outside researcher collected personal data on tens of millions of Facebook users without their consent, and then sold that data to a consultancy working with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah Syed in London at firstname.lastname@example.org;Oliver Sachgau in Munich at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org, Amy Thomson, Thomas PfeifferFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Amazon (AMZN) Twitch witnesses decline in viewer base in fourth-quarter 2019 on account of losing popular streamers to Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook.
(Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.Donald Trump has had a lot going on. Impeachment at home, a re-election campaign picking up speed, trade tensions with China, military tensions with Iran, plus bubbling issues in Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.So it’s not surprising that, after an end-year bout of mutual mud-slinging, North Korea seems to have slipped down the White House’s priority list. Years of talks, including two summits, haven’t shown much progress curtailing Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.That doesn’t mean North Korea can’t make trouble for the U.S. president as he moves into high gear for the election. Kim Jong Un’s regime might be secretive and isolated, but it doesn’t like being ignored. Above all, Kim wants international recognition of North Korea as a nuclear state and a seat at the table with the bigger players.North Korea has a long history of doing dramatic things to force countries to interact with it or to give it economic concessions.There are signs it has quietly restarted some mothballed nuclear operations. It has refrained from testing very long-range missiles (that, in theory, could hit the U.S.), but that doesn’t mean it won’t if it really wants Trump’s attention.There are other clues Pyongyang is ready to shake things up. It has reportedly replaced its foreign minister — who’d been in the role since 2016 — with Ri Son Gwon, a former army officer. That could suggest a harder line ahead.Global HeadlinesTrump’s week | Anticipation is building in Washington ahead of the Senate’s first impeachment trial in 20 years, even as Democrats and Republicans continue to squabble about aspects of the proceedings. Trump, meanwhile, is heading back to Davos, poised to hail his economic record as vindication of an “America First” agenda to the world’s elite while lawmakers back home weigh his fate.Hands off | Here’s a dynamic to watch for as global elites gather in the Swiss alps at the World Economic Forum this week: Governments are gearing up for a more active role in steering economies through the big challenges of the coming decade, from global warming and inequality to the great-power race for a technological edge. “We’re past peak laissez-faire in many ways,” said Adair Turner, former head of the U.K.’s bank regulator and a Davos regular.Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a daily newsletter that will run through Jan. 24. Click here for more on U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to skip Davos.Libya impasse | Libya’s eastern military commander, Khalifa Haftar, is a difficult man to deal with, as world leaders found yesterday when they failed to persuade him to sign a peace deal to end a five-year civil war. He’s shut half of the North African nation’s oil production less than a week after he walked out of talks in Moscow aimed at reaching a durable cease-fire. While the warring parties agreed to set up a committee to negotiate a halt to fighting, progress appears to be fleeting.Gray Lady | The New York Times endorsed both Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for the Democratic presidential nomination, saying, “May the best woman win.” Editorial board members said they were impressed by Warren’s emphasis on policy and said Klobuchar, who has struggled to gain traction in polls, “could unite the party and perhaps the nation.”Trump, meanwhile, championed a pair of trade victories at a farm convention yesterday in Austin, Texas.Tehran’s de-linking | Iran’s six-year drive to integrate with the global economy appears to be coming to an end in the face of biting U.S. sanctions. As Marc Champion reports, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei accused Europe of joining Washington in trying to “bring Iran to its knees.” Iran threatened today to withdraw from its last remaining commitments to the 2015 deal that limited its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.What to Watch This WeekIf the past three years of Brexit have been difficult, the next 11 months threaten to be even more so. Click here for more on the battle lines between the U.K. and the European Union. Hong Kong’s government pushed back on a key demand of protesters as a downtown rally turned violent, showing there’s no end in sight for the unrest that began last June. Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido started an international tour that includes a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and a trip to Davos. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe opened a new session of parliament today with a fresh call to revise the U.S.-imposed postwar constitution, a career-long bid that still faces huge obstacles. South Africa’s government said it’s working on solutions for the national airline after failing to pay $138 million in funding by yesterday’s deadline.Thanks to all who responded to our pop quiz Friday and congratulations to reader Hitesh Thakkar, who was the first to correctly answer that newly minted Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s previous job was head of the Federal Tax Service. Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at email@example.com.And finally ... A pneumonia outbreak in central China has widened, with more than 200 people now diagnosed with the new SARS-like virus. Health experts say there’s evidence the illness is spreading from person to person. With the Lunar New Year just days away — a holiday season when Chinese citizens rack up 3 billion trips across the country to reunite with family — the mystery virus’s spread is likely to intensify. To contact the author of this story: Rosalind Mathieson in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Kathleen Hunter at email@example.com, Karl MaierFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.Emmanuel Macron’s pre-Davos summit for tech executives will hold some goodies for startups.In the third edition of his “Choose France” summit on Monday, timed to catch global CEOs in Paris on their way to the Swiss Alps’ World Economic Forum, the French president will detail measures in his 2020 budget that have improved stock options for startups in France.Macron will also plug a revamped visa regime that will give fast-track papers to tech workers for French or foreign companies and a new benchmark index, the French Tech 120, to promote the nation’s most promising ventures.Snap’s Evan Spiegel, who was given French nationality in 2018, EU digital Commissioner Thierry Breton, Netflix Inc.‘s Reed Hastings, Google’s You Tube CEO Susan Wojcicki, Lime’s Joe Kraus and other leaders from Mexico, Nigeria, Sweden, Turkey and the U.K. will attend the forum in Versailles.Entrepreneurs and executives at some of Europe’s most successful technology startups have been urging local governments to change laws to make employee stock options more attractive, in order to better compete with Silicon Valley. Macron, his Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Digital Minister Cedric O and 17 ministers will present the government’s latest measures.In November 2018, about 30 chief executives of companies including iZettle AB, Funding Circle Ltd., Supercell Oy, TransferWise Ltd., Blablacar and U.S.-based Stripe Inc., signed an open letter saying a patchwork of different rules in various European countries makes it complicated and costly for employers to dole out stock options.The French 2020 budget law, voted late last year and enacted on Jan. 1, has two major measures already to make stock options of startups more attractive. First the conditions of the so-called BSPCE, an employee shareholding tool equivalent to a stock options, have been sweetened: they will get a discount compared to the price investors paid at the last fund raising.Also, employees of foreign startups with a base in France will be able to get stock options calculated on the parent company’s performance, not just the French branch, minister Cedric O unveiled in a statement late last year, as he said France seeks to attract more tech workers and companies.“What France has done is fantastic, but we really need a pan-European solution,” Martin Mignot, Partner at Index Ventures, which has stakes in BlablaCar, told Bloomberg. “Currently, startups face the same problems every time they expand into a new country. Talk to any entrepreneur and they tell you it’s madness, it is slowing them down and it is putting them at a disadvantage to large companies.”Macron has attempted to lure more investors to France ever since his years as an economy minister in 2014, via taxes, visas, benchmark indexes, bilingual schools and the French way to welcome new comers.In September he created the “Next 40,” a listing of France’s top 40 startups with the strongest growth potential. While only a few of them are currently “unicorns,” with values topping $1 billion, the government said it expect more of them to scale.Read more: Napoleon, Chateaus on Display as France Seeks Venture CapitalOne of the key measures taken by Macron was a 30% flat tax on capital revenues from securities, savings, capital gains, and other sources. That measure got him into trouble with some of his citizens protesting against inequalities in the Yellow Vests movement that started in December 2018.The statistic institute Insee said the increase in inequality in 2018 was linked to a sharp rise in investment incomes, which benefited from the introduction of a flat tax the same year.Still, Macron has also toughened his stance on issues like taxes and privacy. He brought it up with Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook in his first months as president and repeatedly to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Macron is currently in a tug of war with U.S. President Donald Trump over his tax on digital giants.Amazon.com Inc., like other tech companies, will make their first payment of France’s new tax on digital giants in a few weeks. The government enacted a 3% levy on large tech groups that is retroactively effective from Jan. 1, 2019.(Updated with comment from Index ventures)\--With assistance from Natalia Drozdiak.To contact the reporter on this story: Helene Fouquet in Paris at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at email@example.com, Vidya RootFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.Facebook Inc.’s Libra cryptocurrency starts 2020 looking no closer to release, with authorities in its base in Switzerland raising fresh questions about its suitability as a global currency.Swiss finance minister Ueli Maurer said on Dec. 27 in Bern that the country can’t approve Libra in its current form, telegraphing to Facebook that the product it wants to launch in Geneva isn’t going get a green light from regulators anytime soon.Maurer went further in an interview with Swiss broadcaster SRF that same day, saying the project “has failed” in its current form because the basket of currencies Libra proposed to back the digital currency haven’t been accepted by the issuing national banks.The blunt language marks a dramatic change in tone from the warm welcome Swiss regulators gave to Facebook in June when it chose Geneva as the project’s base. Back then, the social-networking giant paid homage to the city’s pedigree as a hub of international cooperation while Swiss officials raved about the “positive” signals it sent about Switzerland’s role in an “ambitious international project.”But after the Securities & Exchange Commission, U.S. and European politicians lined up to express concerns about currency sovereignty, Facebook’s recent record on misuse of data, and Libra’s potential as a magnet for financial criminals, Swiss officials began to change their tune.“As long as the SEC is concerned about Libra, saying it’s based on relatively new and unproven technology and could rival the U.S. dollar, other governments including the Swiss will take a wait and see approach,” said Nils Reimelt of Capco Digital, a financial services consulting company in Zurich.Libra also made a strategic error in not reaching out to Swiss bank regulator Finma about applying for a banking license before announcing its Geneva plans, Reimelt said. The Libra Association then decided to not include the safe-haven Swiss franc in the basket of currencies backing the cryptocurrency, creating further uncertainty, according to Reimelt.Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan voiced those concerns in a speech in September, without mentioning Libra explicitly. “If stable coins pegged to foreign currencies were to establish themselves in Switzerland, the effectiveness of our monetary policy could be impaired.”Money LaunderingFinma joined Jordan in sounding a note of caution, saying in September that Libra would be have to adopt “bank-like” rules on risk and apply the “highest international anti-money laundering standards.”Some governments and regulators have raised questions “that we take very seriously and are working hard to provide thoughtful answers,” the Libra Association said in a statement. “We are committed to a continuous and constructive dialogue” with them and “our objective remains to find the best way to launch a fast, secure and compliant international payment system.”Bertrand Perez, Libra’s chief operating officer is set to speak Monday at the Geneva Blockchain Congress. Facebook planned to launch Libra in 2020 but has since backed off on timing, with Perez saying in September that its introduction depends on discussions with regulators.“This is why indeed we cannot say that we won’t launch in 2020, or that we are certain to launch on a particular date in 2020,” he said.After Maurer’s December salvo, the Swiss government on Jan. 15 issued a more subtly-worded memo, insinuating that it might be more open to a rethink of the project. It will continue to monitor Libra, the council said, “in particular the form which Libra may take in the future.”“Switzerland is generally open to projects that reduce the cost of cross-border payment transactions and seek to promote financial inclusion,” the government said.That’s a clear signal to Libra, says Capco’s Reimelt, that “governments want to stay in control and Libra has to tweak their model and align to regulations to not become a threat.”To contact the reporter on this story: Hugo Miller in Geneva at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at email@example.com, Christopher ElserFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- ByteDance Inc. is preparing a major push into the mobile arena’s most lucrative market, a realm Tencent Holdings Ltd. has dominated for over a decade: games.Sign up for Next China, a weekly email on where the nation stands now and where it's going next.The world’s most valuable startup has rapidly built a full-fledged gaming division to spearhead its maiden foray into hardcore or non-casual games, according to people familiar with the matter. Over the past few months, ByteDance has quietly bought up gaming studios and exclusive title distribution rights. It’s embarked on a hiring spree and poached top talent from rivals, building a team of more than 1,000. Its first two games from the venture will be released this spring, targeting both local and overseas players, one person said.Commonly compared to Facebook Inc. because of its billion-plus users and sway over American teens via social media phenom TikTok, ByteDance is looking to expand its horizons. It started as a popular news aggregator with the Toutiao app in China before setting the world ablaze with short-form video sharing on TikTok and its Chinese twin app Douyin. Now it’s looking to go beyond cheap ads and develop recurring revenue streams by taking on the Tencent gaming goliath in the chase for coveted distribution rights.“Having fully established itself as a leader in short video with over one billion users across its apps, ByteDance is now building multiple game studios by acquiring experienced game developers and talent,” said Daniel Ahmad, analyst with Asia-focused gaming research firm Niko Partners. “Its massive global user base and investment in gaming could make it a big disruptor in the gaming space this year.”Read more: ByteDance Is Said to Weigh TikTok Stake Sale Over U.S. ConcernsGaming in China has long been a Tencent fortress, with Netease Inc. a distant second. But ByteDance might be the one company capable of upsetting that status quo, having already defied convention by surviving and flourishing outside the orbit of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent, who between them have locked up much of the country’s internet sphere. Toutiao is a key channel for Chinese game publishers to acquire new users, with 63 of the top 100 ad spenders among mobile games in 2019 devoting most of their ads to the news app, according to data tracked by Guangzhou-based researcher App Growing.Representatives for ByteDance, Tencent and Netease declined to comment for this story. Shares in Tencent went down as much as 0.6% during morning trading on Monday.Read more: Snap CEO Spiegel Says TikTok Could Grow Bigger Than InstagramOver the past few years, ByteDance has churned out several casual games that have grown popular with the help of its video platforms, but those quick hits made money mostly through ads. Its new foray into gaming involves a much bigger investment and is shaping up to be a major strategic shift, targeting more committed gamers who will splurge on in-game weapons, cosmetics and other perks.It could help the company diversify its sources of revenue at a time when the Chinese economy shows signs of slowing and TikTok draws scrutiny in the U.S. ByteDance is also testing a new paid music app in Asia, adding to its swelling portfolio of ventures. Steady revenue sources would help position ByteDance for an eventual initial public offering.While the move into serious gaming is very much at an embryonic stage, ByteDance is making up for its inexperience by poaching veteran staff from rivals, said the people, who asked not to be named because the plans are private. One of the gaming division’s creative teams is led by Wang Kuiwu, who joined from China’s Perfect World, a major game developer and esports tournament organizer. Yan Shou, ByteDance’s chief of strategy and investment, oversees operations, the people said. The unit runs independently from existing efforts to create casual mobile titles, they said.Read more: TikTok Owner Is Testing Music App in Bid for Next Global HitByteDance is making a global push that includes hiring publishing and marketing staffers based overseas, according to job descriptions viewed by Bloomberg News. One post seeks people to work with influencers and internal platforms to promote games, while another asks candidates to be responsible for “managing indie mobile game publishing projects throughout their life cycle.” This hiring spree is also evident in postings this month for more than a dozen game-related positions on Chinese career site Lagou.com, ranging from product managers to 3-D character designers based in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.Acquiring talent also means buying up studios wholesale. Game studios acquired by ByteDance over the past year include Shanghai Mokun Digital Technology and Beijing-based Levelup.ai, as shown in public company registration information. The company also hired the core developer team from a Netease outfit called Pangu Game, after China’s second-largest gaming firm canceled the studio’s existing projects, according to people familiar with the matter.ByteDance’s game pipeline will include massively multiplayer online games with Chinese fantasy elements, said two people. Its newly acquired studios have pedigree in the genre: Pangu Game’s 2017 hit Revelation is a PC online role-playing game where warriors and sorcerers slay Chinese mythological beasts, while Shanghai Mokun has created several similar titles since its founding in 2013.The challenge of invading Tencent’s turf will nevertheless be immense. Tencent has three of the world’s most popular multiplayer mobile titles in PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile and Honour of Kings. They are the blueprint for games that are free to play but rich on in-game purchases -- which accounts for a huge swath of mobile revenues -- that rivals like ByteDance try to emulate. More broadly, Tencent’s locked in a billion-plus users across Asia into a WeChat app that mashes elements of payments, social media, on-demand services and entertainment.Read more: China Will Drive Mobile Spending to Record $380 Billion in 2020Tencent and Netease also enjoy the advantage of having long-established relationships with Chinese regulators, who in 2018 began a campaign to root out gaming addiction that drastically constricted the number and variety of games allowed to be published in the country. Tencent saw hundreds of billions of dollars wiped off its market value as a result and is still recovering. Getting into gaming potentially exposes ByteDance to more regulatory scrutiny domestically, even as it battles U.S. lawmakers’ accusations that TikTok can be used to spy on Americans.Still, ByteDance can’t call itself a true internet giant without a substantial presence in gaming. Last year, 72% of all consumer spending on mobile came in games, according to App Annie, and the market is fiercely competitive. ByteDance’s critical advantage is that it already has a vast and engaged audience among the all-important teenage demographic: it can leverage Douyin/TikTok to channel users toward its games. That mirrors the winning approach Tencent took more than a decade ago when it exploited the reach of its social media platforms to enter gaming. ByteDance will have to prove that the strategy still works.“Gaming is a strategic vertical for tech companies in China as it is a key way to generate additional revenue from a large audience,” Ahmad said. “While they may be able to develop a number of hit titles in the China market, we believe it will still be difficult for them to truly challenge Tencent.”(Updates with analyst comment from fourth paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Zheping Huang in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at email@example.com, Edwin Chan, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Every year for the past decade I have been making a list of what I got wrong. This act of contrition allows me to own my mistakes, recognize my fallibility and learn from the experience. I hope you find some value in doing the same exercise.Let’s get to the errors:No. 1. Trading commissions: Last February, I cited a Morningstar survey that found that “fees fell 8 percent in 2017, the largest one-year decline ever reported.” It seemed, according to data on fees, that the point of diminishing returns had been reached. “The race to zero may be reaching its natural limits,” I wrote.Boy, did Charles Schwab Corp. prove me wrong.Although commission-free trading has been around awhile, it was either a niche product or offered as a teaser for other products. After investment giant Schwab said in October that it would offer commission-free trading, everyone from Fidelity to Vanguard to TD Ameritrade followed suit.One caveat: There is no free lunch, and free trading means that offsetting fees may be hidden or buried in the fine print. I continue to believe that, at least in finance, cheap is better than free. No. 2. University endowments underperform: Each October, many college endowments release their investment performance data for the past fiscal year. I wrote about the Ivy League endowments and how they had failed to beat benchmark returns.But I made an assumption that the benchmark these endowments were being compared against was a globally diversified portfolio. I was wrong. As it turns out — buried in a footnote of the research I relied on — the benchmark used for the study was a domestic portfolio. This is not a good comparison because the endowments invest globally. It stands to reason that they would look like laggards in a period of U.S. market outperformance versus the rest of the world. The lesson learned: The footnotes matter — a lot.No. 3. Brexit: I have been saying that the British will eventually come to realize that Brexit is a self-destructive and needless exercise and eventually would reverse the referendum mandating that the U.K. leave the European Union. I said it here, here and here.The election as prime minister of Boris Johnson, an opportunistic Brexiteer, pretty much means that the exit is going to be fast-tracked in a way that his predecessor, Theresa May, could never manage. There is no need to wait for it to be official: I was wrong about Brexit. The only argument left is whether the U.K. will leave the EU with or without a deal setting the terms of the departure.No. 4. Fiduciary rule: I have long argued that the brokerage industry owes consumers a higher level of care than now on offer and that putting client interests first should be the standard. In other words, rules should require brokers to serve as fiduciaries rather than as the glorified used-car salesmen that they historically have been.Despite opposition from the brokerage industry to any rule change, investors have been voting with their dollars and hiring financial advisers that conform to this better standard. It is all but inevitable, I wrote, that this fiduciary standard would be adopted by the industry, albeit with a nudge from the government.But I underestimated what the deeply motivated and deep-pocketed brokerage industry can accomplish in a deeply corrupt Washington. For now, rules requiring the adoption of the fiduciary standard are on hold.No. 5. Facebook didn't flip the 2016 election: I made a mistake on the long-running debate about the role of a weaponized Facebook in the 2016 election, arguing that very few people change their minds based on social media. Mostly, I argued, social media is a giant echo chamber and that people aggressively avoid ideas that challenge their established opinions.Given how close the 2016 election was — decided by a tiny share of the votes cast in three or four states — I am willing to admit that maybe Facebook content did persuade a few people to change their votes or stay home. Theoretically, this could have swung the election. And while I was predisposed to discount the role of social media in 2020, I now believe it could matter a lot. Let’s hope the 2020 election isn’t so close that the role of social media even matters.To contact the author of this story: Barry Ritholtz at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and was previously chief market strategist at Maxim Group. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Facebook has been forced to apologise after a “technical issue” caused Chinese president Xi Jinping’s name to be rendered as an obscenity in Burmese-to-English translations. On Saturday the Chinese president’s name appeared as “Mr Shithole” in translations from Myanmar’s main language into English, including on the Facebook pages of news website The Irrawaddy and Ms Aung San Suu Kyi’s office. “Mr Shithole, President of China arrives at 4pm,” one of the posts read when translated into English.
(Bloomberg) -- Democrats seeking to counter President Donald Trump’s use of “socialism” as a slur can look to a yearlong effort to fight back now underway in Florida.Trump frequently attacks Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders as socialists in the mold of progressives in Congress like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who are pushing the party to adopt far-left policies.This attack has particular resonance among Hispanic voters, particularly those from socialist countries. Democrats were stung by a narrow loss in a gubernatorial race in 2018 that featured similar accusations, and Florida Democrats are looking to blunt those attacks in the crucial 2020 swing state. The party is reaching out to voters whose negative experiences with governments in Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba have heightened their concerns about socialism and made them receptive to Trump’s criticisms.Over the past year, the state Democratic Party has hired a Latino outreach director, launched a Spanish-language radio show and trained surrogates to make their case on Univision, Telemundo and local TV and radio. It’s also seeking to register more Latino voters as part of a $2.8 million effort on voter registration.Roughly one in six registered voters in Florida is Hispanic, according to the Pew Research Center. Exit polls showed that Cuban Americans, who make up roughly a third of Florida Hispanics, were about twice as likely to vote for Trump in 2016 as non-Cuban Hispanics.Democrats nationally fear that the attack is effective enough to peel off votes from other Latin American immigrants in 2020.Charges of socialism have “absolutely worked” in the past, said Evelyn Perez-Verdia, a Colombian-American consultant who works in South Florida. “They are playing with the fears of our communities,” she said.Joshua Karp, a former spokesman for Andrew Gillum, a Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 2016, said he’s concerned that the national party is underestimating the potency of that messaging, especially in such a closely fought state.Gillum lost by slightly less than half a percentage point in a race in which both Trump and the Republican candidate, Ron DeSantis, painted him as a “far-left socialist” who “wants to turn Florida into Venezuela,” a label Gillum rejected and fact-checkers rated as false.Still, Karp said the accusation may have been effective in damaging Gillum’s campaign in a state where races are often decided by the thinnest of margins.“In the research I have seen, this word is a gateway to people believing other negative narratives about Democrats,” he said. “By leading with socialism, Republicans can inject other arguments about Democrats that would otherwise be dismissed by a lot of voters.”Trump has signaled that he will intensify those attacks, regardless of the eventual Democratic nominee.One recent series of ads by the Trump campaign on Facebook claimed that “every 2020 Democrat candidate” has embraced “the ideas of radical socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar to try and appeal to their extreme left-wing base.”“We’ve seen socialism completely FAIL in countries like Venezuela and Greece,” the ad says before asking voters to take an “official socialism approval poll.”Trump is hardly the first Republican to paint an opponent as a socialist. John McCain and Mitt Romney both used the label to describe Barack Obama at times. Among the crowded Democratic field, only Sanders calls himself a “democratic socialist,” while the attacks have helped push Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden to state they are capitalists.At a debate in September, Sanders was pressed by a Univision reporter to explain the difference between his views and those of authoritarian socialists like Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. ”Let me be very clear: Anybody who does what Maduro does is a vicious tyrant,” Sanders responded.Trump is already pushing hard on the attack line in online ads that are aimed at building up lists of potential voters and donors.Online AdsA recent online ad segues from a news segment on the Green New Deal proposal endorsed by Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez to images of Joseph Stalin, Fidel Castro and a flag-burning by a fringe U.S. group, the Revolutionary Communist Party, all shown beneath a banner urging viewers to text the campaign.Trump is spending big on online ads already, putting $28 million toward ads on Facebook and $13 million for ads on Google so far, making him one of the biggest advertisers on both platforms.But Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Luisana Pérez Fernandez said many of the key voters there can be reached better through local radio and TV shows. That led the party to launch “Democracia al Dia,” a half-hour radio show on Saturdays that reaches about 6,000 listeners each week, and why it’s training media surrogates to appear on local news shows.Among the arguments that Democrats are making: criticizing the Trump administration’s handling of Venezuela’s troubled government, deportations of Cuban residents and failure to grant temporary protected status to Venezuelans. They’re also hitting back with an epithet of their own, calling Trump a “caudillo,” a Spanish word for an authoritarian leader.“His systematic attacks against the free press, his intentions to pack the judiciary, his idea of justice -- where the whole Justice Department, the FBI and the intelligence community has to be loyal to him -- this is exactly what we fled in Latin America,” said Leopoldo Martinez, a Democratic National Committee member who fought the regime of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. “This is not a thing of left or right.”But Republicans argue that Democrats brought the charge of socialism on themselves. Rory Cooper, a Republican political strategist, said that Democratic proposals for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal and free college have reinvigorated the debate over socialism, as has the prominence of Sanders in the primary.“If you look at the platform that the Democrats are struggling with right now, it’s very clear that within their own party there is this generational tension between the Bernie Sanders platform and the Obama-Biden pragmatic platform,” he said. “I think it makes complete sense for Republicans to take advantage of that tension.”(Updates Trump spending on Facebook ads in 19th paragraph. A pervious version of this article corrected name of Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Luisana Pérez Fernandez in 20th parargraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Teague Beckwith in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at email@example.com, Steve GeimannFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
At most, 7 million of Instagram's 1 billion-plus users have downloaded its standalone IGTV app in the 18 months since launch. For reference, TikTok received 1.15 billion downloads in the same period since IGTV launched in June 2018. In just the US, TikTok received 80.5 million downloads compared to IGTV's 1.1 million since then, according to research commissioned by TechCrunch from Sensor Tower.
(Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.For only the third time in America’s history, a president is about to go on trial. Donald Trump’s impeachment case — in which he faces charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — got underway Thursday with a show of pageantry in the Senate.It came a day after the U.S. and China signed a phase-one deal that’s aimed at stemming the damage from their bruising trade war.In Tehran, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave his first Friday sermon in eight years, seeking to rally Iranians around an embattled establishment after a furious domestic backlash over the government’s attempts to cover up the unintentional downing of a passenger jet.Dig deeper into these and other topics and click here for Bloomberg’s most compelling political images from the past week.Xi’s Wider Fight With U.S. Only Just Beginning After Trade DealIn a letter read out during Wednesday’s trade deal signing at the White House, Chinese leader Xi Jinping asked Trump to take steps to “enhance mutual trust and cooperation between us.” But as Bloomberg News reports, that won’t be easy.With Iowa Looming, Bernie Sanders Is Poised for an UpsetThe cantankerous senator’s campaign appears to have taken off at just the right time, Joshua Green reports. But it will take more than just his hardcore supporters for Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination.The Tokyo Job: Inside Carlos Ghosn’s Escape to BeirutDespite being under intense surveillance, with a camera trained on his front door and undercover agents tailing him when he left his house, Ghosn somehow made it to Lebanon. Matthew Campbell reports on the elite extraction team that spirited the former CEO out of Japan.Fury at Air Crash Cover-Up Puts Iran’s Leaders Back on DefensiveThe admission by authorities in Tehran that they accidentally shot down a passenger jet packed with Iranian students last week shattered a brief moment of unity, Marc Champion, Arsalan Shahla and Golnar Motevalli write.Strength in Weakness: Why Iran Fights the Way It DoesThe pinpoint accuracy of Iran’s response to the killing of commander Qassem Soleimani, striking two U.S. bases in Iraq while avoiding causing casualties, has signaled Tehran’s capacity to harm American assets. As Marc Champion reports, it’s also shown the limitations on Iran’s freedom to openly do so.Trump Bailout Means Farmers Emerge Optimistic From Trade WarDonald Trump is boasting that he’s made farmers “really happy.” He’s not wrong, Mike Dorning reports, but it’s not just the trade deal that’s left farmers optimistic for 2020.The European Union Is Going to Miss the U.K. When It’s GoneWith one foot inside and one foot out, the U.K. was never sure which way to turn — and the European Union never seemed to know how to make it more comfortable. Now, the overriding feeling among the EU’s political elite remains one of regret, Ian Wishart writes.How Putin Was Thrown Off Course by a Furious Libyan GeneralKhalifa Haftar was expecting the Kremlin red carpet. Instead he was cooped up in the Russian Foreign Ministry hoping for an audience with President Vladimir Putin, Samer Al-Atrush, Ilya Arkhipov and Selcan Hacaoglu write. In the end, the Libyan commander stormed out.No Soul Searching for Xi After Taiwan Rebuffs China in ElectionIn a democracy, two resounding election defeats in a matter of months might prompt some soul searching in the losing camp. But as Samson Ellis and Peter Martin report, in China a snub at the polls in places it claims is more a minor setback rather than a sign of a flawed strategy.Bloody Mutiny in Sudan Casts Shadow Over Drive for DemocracyWhen disgruntled Sudanese spies took up arms and gunfire rang out across Khartoum, even members of the most powerful pro-government militia were startled, Mohammed Alamin and Samuel Gebre report.Drones Target Polluters in One of Europe’s Smoggiest PlacesKrakow was one of the most choked-up urban areas on the continent, James M Gomez and Dorota Bartyzel write. Then the Polish city became ruthless in its fight for clean air.And finally ... Whenever somebody on Twitter takes issue with the network’s policies, they almost always resort to the same strategy: They send a tweet to @jack. But while Dorsey is the company’s public face, the taxing job of creating and enforcing Twitter’s rules don’t actually land on the CEO’s shoulders. Instead, that falls to Twitter’s top lawyer, Vijaya Gadde, Kurt Wagner writes. \--With assistance from Kathleen Hunter.To contact the author of this story: Ruth Pollard in New Delhi at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Karl Maier at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Shares of Google parent Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) have jumped 9% in 2020 to help it ascend into the $1 trillion market cap club. Is it time to buy?
(Bloomberg) -- Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called for the repeal of Section 230, part of a U.S. law that protects internet companies from liability for content their users post online.In an interview with the New York Times editorial board, Biden said companies should be responsible for libel on their platforms. The former vice president focused his ire on Facebook Inc., the largest social-media company, and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg.Section 230, a provision of the Communications Decency Act passed in 1996, “should be revoked, immediately,” Biden said.The rule has allowed internet giants to take a hands-off approach to content on their sites, but has also spurred free expression online. Overturning Section 230 could make internet companies far more cautious about what they let users write on their platforms. Smaller websites could be hurt the most.Read more: The 26 Words That Helped Make the Internet a MessTechnology companies have lobbied to protect Section 230, but there have been successful efforts to weaken it already. Congress passed a sex trafficking law in 2018 that chipped away some of the protections.Biden’s remarks to the New York Times, published Friday, came as part of the newspaper’s presidential endorsement process. He focused particularly on Facebook. “It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false,“ Biden said. “You guys still have editors. I’m sitting with them. Not a joke. There is no editorial impact at all on Facebook. None. None whatsoever. It’s irresponsible.”“I’ve never been a fan of Facebook, as you probably know,” Biden added. “I’ve never been a big Zuckerberg fan. I think he’s a real problem.”Other Democratic presidential candidates have expressed concern about Section 230. At tech industry conference SXSW, Amy Klobuchar said, “It is something else that we should definitely look at as we look at how we can create more accountability.”Biden also said the U.S. should embrace some privacy protections like those in Europe, where citizens have more rights to remove negative content about them posted online.To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Newcomer in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at email@example.com, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Major technology and internet companies have long fueled the U.S. stock market’s climb to record levels, but that trend has come with one notable exception: Amazon.com Inc., which has languished in a fairly narrow trading range for months.Amazon shares haven’t notched an all-time high since September 2018, in contrast to mega-cap peers like Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and Facebook, which have been hitting records on a near-daily basis. Many of these names experienced pronounced draw-downs over the past year and a half, mostly due to disappointing earnings reports or outlooks. But they regained their momentum last year, as their growth assuaged investor caution. Amazon, however, remains about 8.5% below its own peak.Because of its long-term prospects, Amazon is about as close as a stock can be to a consensus choice among Wall Street firms. Over the near term, though, it is “the most hotly debated among investors” as “debates persist on both AWS and next day shipping efforts,” according to UBS analyst Eric Sheridan, referring to its Amazon Web Services cloud-computing business.Since the start of 2019, Amazon shares are up about 24%, below the 32% rise of the S&P 500, as well as the much larger gains seen in other bellwethers. Microsoft and Facebook are both up more than 60% since the start of last year, while Apple has doubled. The rally resulted in trillion-dollar valuations for Apple, Microsoft and Google-parent Alphabet, a milestone that Amazon briefly eclipsed in 2018.The underperformance reflects concerns over Amazon’s earnings trends, even as it has continued to grow revenue at a double-digit clip. Major investments into initiatives like one-day shipping are seen as headwinds, and shares “may be range bound ‘tactically’” given the impact of this spending, Morgan Stanley wrote on Thursday. The firm added that “near-term profitability is likely to still disappoint” because of these investments, even as it sees the effect as temporary and one-day shipping deepening Amazon’s competitive moat within e-commerce.Another key issue is the waning dominance of Amazon Web Services, which has long been a major driver for earnings and margins, but has faced growing competition from rivals like Alphabet and especially Microsoft. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, which cited IDC data, Amazon Web Services was 12 times larger than Microsoft’s cloud business in 2014. By 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, it was just four times larger.James Bach, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote that Amazon was particularly facing “stiffer competition” with government contracts. “Microsoft’s extensive sales experience, installed base within U.S. agencies and broad range of edge-computing products all make a compelling offering,” he wrote. Microsoft is “uniquely positioned to claim market share as federal agencies upgrade and secure IT systems.”In October, Microsoft beat out Amazon for a $10 billion Pentagon cloud contract, a deal Amazon had been seen as the favorite to win. The company subsequently claimed it lost the contract because of political interference by President Donald Trump, and filed a lawsuit challenging its validity.Amazon earlier this week named a new sales chief for AWS. Deutsche Bank wrote that the “magnitude of personnel changes” at AWS, along with rising competition, underscored the “increased risk of further deceleration” at the business.Separately, Morgan Stanley this week wrote that a quarterly survey of chief investment officers suggested some cause for caution about AWS growth. “Quarterly survey results can be volatile, but AWS saw a notable [quarter-over-quarter] drop in net expected budget share gains” over the next three years, analyst Brian Nowak wrote. “It will be important to continue to monitor these metrics going forward as we think about AWS forward growth.”Amazon is expected to report fourth-quarter results later this month. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, Wall Street is looking for revenue growth of nearly 19% and expecting net income to fall by nearly a third. AWS revenue is seen growing more than 30% on a year-over-year basis, according to a Bloomberg MODL estimate.Wall Street remains almost unanimously positive on the stock. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, 53 firms recommend buying the stock, compared with the four with a hold rating. None advocate selling the shares.To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Vlastelica in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Catherine Larkin at email@example.com, Steven Fromm, Janet FreundFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine’s top politicians cemented a bond of mutual loyalty when the president rejected the resignation of his prime minister, who had offered to quit after being caught on tape criticizing his boss’s grasp of the economy.The move to quash the scandal may strengthen confidence in the efforts of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his right-hand man, Premier Oleksiy Honcharuk, as they tackle challenges less than a year into their partnership.They include healing an economy that plunged into recession after a 2014 revolution and mending ties with Russia following the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea and support for a separatist rebellion in Ukraine’s east.Zelenskiy acknowledged he had received Honcharuk’s resignation offer and noted it was “linked to the latest scandal and, let’s say, unpleasant situation.” The president said set a list of tasks for the cabinet and asked his premier to replace ministers that he considered “weak” but also said it wasn’t time to shake up the country.“Society in general and I personally granted you and the government a high level of confidence. It seems to me you haven’t repaid that yet, and you have sufficient energy to do so,” Zelenskiy said in a statement. “It seems to me right if I give a chance to you and a chance to your cabinet.”The comments from Honcharuk, a 35-year-old handpicked by the president to lead the economic overhaul, highlights a the youth of the less-than year-old administration. On the tapes, ministers and central bankers discussed their struggles in explaining the currency market and economic trends to the president.‘Sort It Out’At the same time, the scandal is relatively benign compared to leaks in Ukraine’s past that included politicians discussing corruption -- and even murder. And Zelenskiy, a former comedian who entered politics just a year ago, ran on his willingness to introduce change rather than his ability to understand the intricacies of monetary policy and financial engineering.“We are one team,” Honcharuk said in parliament Friday after announcing his offer to resign. “We all got into parliament and into government to change the country thanks to this person, thanks to Volodymyr Zelenskiy.”Even though Honcharuk is staying on, the leak has exposed the challenges that Zelenskiy faces at the head of a former Soviet country where billionaire oligarchs, Vladimir Putin, the European Union and the U.S. are wrangling for influence.Ukraine’s currency, the hryvnia, fell to a two-month low against the dollar, taking this year’s decline to 2.1%. Last year, the currency was the world’s best performer with a 16% gain.On the tape, a man with a voice that sounds like Honcharuk said Zelenskiy’s economic knowledge is limited and suggests illustrating the effects of a stronger hryvnia and slower inflation to the president through the price of a popular salad.One TeamHoncharuk thanked Zelenskiy for his confidence after his offer was rejected. Earlier, in a Facebook post, he hailed the government’s achievements, including renewing a financial aid agreement with the International Monetary Fund and a natural-gas transit deal with Russia.Those have come amid setbacks as well, including Zelenskiy’s involvement in the phone call at the center of the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump and a close relationship with Ukraine’s richest man, Igor Kolomoisky, who is fighting to take back control of the nation’s biggest bank after its nationalization and near collapse.Honcharuk, a lawyer who led Zelenskiy’s economic team after the president won last year’s election, was appointed prime minister in August. Before that, he led an NGO aimed at improving the investment climate.The premier flashed a confident smile when he and his ministers appeared in parliament for a weekly Q&A session Friday. He refused to answer questions, and dozens of lawmakers shouted “Shame on you!” as he left the assembly. But he made his allegiance clear.“We all respect” Zelenskiy, “and for us it’s very important to have 100% trust inside the team,” Honcharuk told the assembly before leaving. “We are ready to do much more together with you, but for that we must be united.”\--With assistance from Marton Eder.To contact the reporters on this story: Andrea Dudik in Prague at firstname.lastname@example.org;Volodymyr Verbyany in Kiev at email@example.com;Daryna Krasnolutska in Kyiv at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at email@example.com, Andrea Dudik, Michael WinfreyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Brittany Kaiser has released new documents today that illuminate the initial jockeying between the company and Facebook as they discussed the need for Cambridge Analytica to delete data associated with 87 million Facebook users' profiles. The data was improperly obtained in 2014 by researchers with access to Facebook's developer platform who were being paid by Cambridge Analytica to obtain and process social media users' information for the purpose of targeting political ads. In December 2015 a Guardian article about Cambridge academic Dr Aleksandr Spectre (Kogan) outlined how he had acquired the Facebook profiles for research, and that Cambridge Analytica had improperly acquired that data.
(Bloomberg) -- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro fired the country’s culture secretary after he paraphrased notorious Nazi politician Joseph Goebbels in a video that stirred outrage in the nation.Roberto Alvim said that Brazilian art over the next decade will be “heroic” or “it will be nothing,” similarly to remarks made by Goebbels decades ago, according to a video posted on social networks early on Friday. Within hours, the term “Goebbels” became one of the top trending topics on Twitter in Brazil, and lawmakers including Senate President Davi Alcolumbre, who is Jewish, called for Alvim’s immediate removal.Music by Richard Wagner, who was Hitler’s favorite composer, plays in the background of the video posted by the culture secretary. An official photo of Bolsonaro looms over him, while a cross and a Brazilian flag can also be seen.In a subsequent interview with a local radio station, Alvim denied that he was a Nazi and said he was unaware that he had copied part of a speech made by Goebbels. “It was an unfortunate rhetorical coincidence,” he said. Alvim also said in a post on his Facebook page that “there is nothing wrong with the sentence.”In a statement dismissing Alvim, Bolsonaro said that “unfortunate” remarks made it impossible for the secretary to remain in the job. “I reiterate our repudiation of totalitarian and genocidal ideologies,” Bolsonaro said in the statement. “We also express our total and unrestricted support to the Jewish community.”The remarks represent the latest source of public uproar under the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro, who rose to the nation’s top job in part due to his non-conventional views. Bolsonaro has maintained a loyal support base, many of whom criticize the political left for being overly sensitive.Read More: Oscar-Nominated Netflix Film Is Slammed by Brazil’s BolsonaroWhile lacking status as a ministry, Brazil’s culture secretary oversees the nation’s culture and entertainment and provides millions of reais in financing to projects in those areas. In the local radio interview later Friday, Alvim said that he had explained the misunderstanding to Bolsonaro, and that his explanation was accepted by the president.Hitler ConfidantGoebbels was a government minister and close confidant of Adolf Hitler. He was known for his virulent antisemitism and calls for extermination of Jewish people, as well as for his strong oratory skills.Alvim’s remarks are unacceptable, according to a statement from Brazil’s Israeli confederation, known as Conib. “A person with those thoughts should not command the culture of our country and should be removed from the post immediately,” the statement said.In recent months, Bolsonaro has drawn international scrutiny by suggesting that NGOs were to blame for Amazon rainforest fires and making sarcastic comments about the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron. Before assuming the presidency, he downplayed Brazil’s history of slavery and made offensive comments against groups including women.(Updats with firing of Brazil’s top culture official)To contact the reporter on this story: Simone Iglesias in Brasília at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Walter Brandimarte at email@example.com, ;Juan Pablo Spinetto at firstname.lastname@example.org, Matthew MalinowskiFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.