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Would a Biden Administration Disappoint Foes of Big Tech?

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With a little over two months to go until the presidential election and former Vice President Joe Biden leading in most polls, the tech industry has begun to speculate about whether a Democratic victory would significantly alter Silicon Valley’s beleaguered standing in Washington, D.C. Would a Democratic administration adopt a relatively business-friendly tone, or would Biden be responsive to intensifying pressures from within his own party to restrain the influence of big corporations?

Proponents of both approaches have begun jockeying for influence—and possible jobs—should Biden capture the White House. Hoping to build on the enthusiasm generated by Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who called for the breakup of big tech companies during their presidential campaigns, the party’s left-leaning activists are pushing tougher antitrust laws and other aggressive measures. While those efforts have worried corporate interests, the business lobby in Washington is betting that a Democratic administration ultimately would stake out the relatively moderate positions that have been the hallmark of Biden’s decadeslong career.

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/would-a-biden-administration-disappoint-foes-of-big-tech

Venture Capital

Facebook Researchers Found Company’s ‘Political Whitelist’ Influenced Misinformation Spread

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During a September 2019 speech in Washington, D.C., Facebook’s global policy and communications chief Nick Clegg gave an ardent defense of the company’s policy to not fact-check politicians, saying that it wasn’t the social network’s role to “intervene when politicians speak.”

Behind the scenes that summer, some of Facebook’s employees had argued just the opposite, warning that exempting politicians from fact-checking “is protecting content that is especially likely to deceive,” according to an internal presentation reviewed by The Information and two people familiar with the matter. They cited a survey they did that found Facebook users were more likely to believe false information if it is shared by a politician.

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/facebook-researchers-found-companys-political-whitelist-influenced-misinformation-spread

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Private Equity

Venture Capital: Toast Valued At $8B In Secondary Share Offering By Employees

Toast, which makes software for restaurants, has rebounded from the pandemic like a phoenix. Consider this: In February, shortly before the pandemic, the start-up raised $ 400 million at a valuation of $ 4.9 billion. After the virus, in April, Toast faced up to the economic devastation and cut its workforce by 50% through layoffs and furloughs. It also was forced to cut executive pay, freeze hiring, and halt bonuses. However, the startup’s software for takeout orders enabled in-house dining restaurants to pivot to the alternative mode of service. Result: business is good again.

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Venture Capital: Toast Valued At $8B In Secondary Share Offering By Employees

https://platodata.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/venture-capital-toast-valued-at-8b-in-secondary-share-offering-by-employees.png

Vested shares held by employees sold at $75 each.

Toast, which makes software for restaurants, has rebounded from the pandemic like a phoenix. Consider this: In February, shortly before the pandemic, the start-up raised $ 400 million at a valuation of  $ 4.9 billion. After the virus, in April, Toast faced up to the economic devastation and cut its workforce by 50% through layoffs and furloughs. It also was forced to cut executive pay, freeze hiring, and halt bonuses. However, the startup’s software for takeout orders enabled in-house dining restaurants to pivot to the alternative mode of service. Result: business is good again. (CNBC)

Toast valued at $8 billion

In a nutshell, despite the ravages from the virus pandemic, Toast managed to hike its valuation from nearly $ 5 billion in February to $ 8 billion in November.

With business now booming, Toast did not forget its employees. It allowed them to encash some of their shareholdings by selling up to 25% of their vested shares for $ 75 each in a secondary sale.

People with knowledge of the matter told CNBC that the secondary offer was for 800,000 shares worth about $ 60 million.

“In order to support our employees and former employees as they navigate the impact of Covid-19, we did complete a secondary offering recently,” a company spokesman confirmed to CNBC, though he refused to reveal the identity of the buyer(s) or the valuation.

A sea change in Toast’s fortunes

According to CNBC, recent bids in the secondary market have valued Toast significantly above this $ 8 billion valuation.

The company also rehired many of the personnel it had laid off earlier.

Meanwhile, the market considers the start-up as a candidate for an IPO in 2021.

Related Story:  Restaurant Software Maker Toast Raises $400 Million

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/toast-valued-at-8b-in-secondary-share-offering-by-employees/

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To Regulate Social Media, Forget Net Neutrality

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The conservative Federalist Society’s virtual national convention recently hosted a panel on “Regulating Social Media” featuring a prominent cast of government officials and outside experts. I tuned in, expecting a robust discussion on privacy, data portability, algorithmic bias and content moderation.

It was a disappointment. They spent most of the time relitigating the merger between Sprint and T-Mobile and the net neutrality debate around broadband internet service providers.

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/to-regulate-social-media-forget-net-neutrality

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