by Shane Ormond
On May 10, 2019
Earlier this month, it seemed like the Chinese trade negotiations would come to an amicable end any day now. But after some unexpected pushback from Beijing, the U.S. is ratcheting up the pressure with tariffs of 25% on more than $200 billion of Chinese goods.
- How the heck is the New Facebook going to make money?
- Trump will ride the stock market to a 2020 victory… if he can pull this off.
- Second-largest phone producer in the world sues the U.S.
- Fort Trump’s Chinese Backdoor
- A new internet is coming… do you want to be a part of it?
The Anti-Social Network
Zuckerberg says Facebook will pivot to privacy
Mark Zuckerberg wants you to know that he’s a changed man.
(A changed human man. Certainly not a lizard from outer space. Wink.)
In a blogpost Wednesday, the Facebook CEO outlined his vision for a new, more private Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), built on a foundation of encryption and self-destructing messages.
“I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever,” said the longtime anti-privacy advocate. “This is the future I hope we will help bring about.”
In his privacy manifesto, Zuckerberg said that he is finally coming around to the idea that people no longer want to hang out in the “digital equivalent of a town square.” They want to connect with their friends with the privacy of the “digital equivalent of a living room.”
I don’t think anybody was expecting this announcement from the anti-privacy tsar himself. But it’s obviously part of an effort to keep Facebook from turning into the “digital equivalent” of a ghost town. And to keep its executives out of the not-so-digital equivalent of a prison.
Amid a never-ending parade of data privacy scandals, more than 17 million young Americans have quitFacebook in the last two years. And the company faces increasing scrutiny from lawmakers over its deceptive and manipulative privacy practices.
Practices like (but not limited to):
- Data Mining
- Tracking of non-members of Facebook
- Phone number stalking
- Sharing private messages and contacts’ details without consent
- Sending health data from apps to Facebook without user consent
- International lobbying against privacy protections
Zuckerberg doesn’t seem like the most self-aware billionaire. But he (briefly) acknowledged the public awareness of these controversies in his post:
“Frankly we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services, and we’ve historically focused on tools for more open sharing. But we’ve repeatedly shown that we can evolve to build the services that people really want, including in private messaging and stories.”
Your Mission Should You Choose to Accept It
The Zuck was a little vague on the specifics of what a more privacy-focused Facebook would look like. But he did offer up some non-committal ideas.
Self-destructing messages: Messages and, more importantly, drunk photos will delete themselves automatically after a month. No more interviews spoiled by that one drinking game you definitely lost.
WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger take center stage: Zuckerberg expects encrypted private messaging services to be the centerpiece of private Facebook. Teams are already working on a way to send messages between the two platforms.
The big question is if a private Facebook is sustainable as a business.
Facebook’s entire business model is based on stealing and sharing data. How does Zuckerberg plan to monetize “the digital equivalent of a living room?”
Reportedly Facebook has been experimenting with a number of new features that could become significant revenue generators. Most notably monetizing private communication through payment and a cryptocurrency that would allow users to transfer money through WhatsApp (ZuckerCoin?).
What do you think? Do you want to build a wall around your Facebook profile? Click here and tell us why or why not.
Keep America the Same Again
Trump will ride the stock market to a 2020 victory… or so he thinks
According to three of CNBC’s sources, President Trump sees a clear path to Re-election 2020… and it’s paved with bull markets and a certain Chinese trade deal.
As we turn the corner into campaign season (oh God, is it that time already?!), many of Trump’s touchstone campaign promises are stalled or dead in the water:
- Build a wall and have Mexico pay for it
- Repeal Obamacare
- Invest $550 billion in infrastructure
Given a full eight years, he might actually accomplish those things (hope you’re saving up your pocket money, Mexico!). But every promise unfulfilled is a dead weight on his campaign.
Trump is no slouch at this whole campaigning thing though. And reportedly he’s planning on making the stock market the focal point of his re-election.
The core message? Everything is going great. Everybody is making lots of money. Why threaten that by shaking up the status quo?
It’s not a bad plan. Trump’s argument actually has some legs. Since Trump’s election, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 40%, the S&P 500 index 30%, and Nasdaq Composite Index 45%.
But to sustain a campaign, the stock market needs to remain strong. And it’s already starting to show signs of cracking. Markets tanked in late 2018 resulting in the worst December since the Great Depression.
U.S. stocks got off to a roaring start this January. But anxiety is building over trade negotiations with China and yesterday marked the third day of the three major indexes in the red.
Last night, CNBC reported that Trump is pushing hard to strike a trade deal as soon as possible, in the hopes of buoying the stock market ahead of campaigning.
If that doesn’t work, Trump has a few other tricks up his sleeve. According to our expert economist Jim Rickards, Trump is planning a “reboot” of the U.S. dollar on March 19.
“When the president signs this secret deal, one investment could soar as much as 1,000%,” says Jim. “Creating huge windfalls for investors positioned correctly ahead of time.”
Jim was telling me he personally positioned more than $1 million of his own money ahead of this potential “reboot.” That’s how confident he is.
My Way or the Huawei
Huawei sues the U.S., alleging tech ban is unconstitutional
Trump will meet with President Xi Jinping when he visits Mar-a-lago at the end of the month in the hopes of sealing the U.S.-Sino trade deal.
Who knows what two of the world’s most powerful men will talk about behind closed doors? But I bet I can hazard a guess!
Early this morning, China’s largest smartphone producer Huawei announced a lawsuit against the U.S., alleging Trump’s tech ban as unconstitutional.
Under the ban, the U.S. government and its contractors are banned entirely from using Huawei equipment.
Fort Trump’s Chinese Backdoor: Poland proposed building a permanent U.S. military base and calling it “Fort Trump” (must have heard the President like seeing his name on things). Unfortunately, U.S. officials said no dice, as long as Poland is considering using Huawei’s 5G internet.
The ban is based on fears that China could place backdoors into Huawei’s hardware that would allow them to spy on U.S. citizens… which is 100% true.
Of course, the head of Huawei has said that the Chinese government has no involvement with the company’s business. But if a duck told you he was a horse, would you believe him?
- Huawei was founded by a former military engineer in the People’s Liberation Army.
- Huawei is now the second-largest producer of smartphones in the world. But it only got where it is today because the government supported the company and undermined others.
- China’s National Intelligence Law requires organizations and citizens to “support, assist and cooperate with the state intelligence work.” Under this law, the Chinese government could force Huawei to do anything, even if they didn’t want to.
In its lawsuit, Huawei alleged that the ban was unconstitutional and tantamount to a corporate “death penalty.” (I see their drama lessons are finally paying off.)
No matter how this plays out, one thing is clear: this is seriously going to impact Huawei’s chance of 5G dominance in the U.S.
In fact, a major announcement relating to a brand-new, 5G-related product is expected imminently. And one company’s share price could double, triple, or even quadruple on the news.
ONE LAST THING
A Tale of Two Internets
“It was the best of times, it was worst of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.”
— Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Everything in today’s issue of One Last Thing ties into one big idea.
One that could change the world and leave the internet as we know it completely unrecognizable.
Fewer cat pictures or more cat pictures?
Over the next few years, we could see the internet split into two distinct internets.
On the one hand, you have the internet as we know it now: Essentially porn, cat pictures, and the freedom to trash talk the government as much we like.
On the other hand, you have the Chinese model of internet: Censorship, cat pictures, and heavy regulation of speech.
Right now, the Chinese model is only active in China, where they can legally enforce any ridiculous thing they like (it’s illegal to post pictures comparing President Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh).
But through Huawei, China has a chance to extend its influence and spread its version of the internet across the globe. Huawei and other Chinese companies are “generously” offering to build 5G infrastructure in countries all over Europe, Asia, and potentially the U.S.
But at any time, using its National Intelligence Law, China could take control of any internet built on this infrastructure and use it for spying or to enforce its own censorship rules.
Why would anyone allow China to have that much control over their internet?
Well, if you’re a wealthy nation that can build your own 5G infrastructure, it doesn’t make sense to outsource the work to China.
But there are poor and developing countries that can’t afford to build their own infrastructure and are afraid of being left behind when ultra-fast 5G internet becomes the norm.
If Huawei offers to pick up the bill, how could they refuse?
Right now, the president of the Czech Republic’s office is hooked up to Huawei’s internet. Meaning every email he sends goes all the way to China before it goes anywhere else.
And it’s not just poor countries that will take China up on its offer. Dictators who want to enforce their own censorship laws would jump at the chance for an internet they could exercise total control over.
Sure, the tradeoff might be that their citizens can’t find the Wikipedia page for Tiananmen Square. But at least people won’t be able to make memes about their glorious leader.
Two internets would be a seismic shakeup for every single online company in the world. But it’s hard to see who would benefit from this right now.
With two internets, cybersecurity will become more important than ever. And anyone who can prevent information passing between the two internets will make out like bandits. Our researchers are going to keep a close eye on one.
What about you? Which internet would you rather be on? Click here to email us and tell us why.
Closing Data for 3/6/19:
|S&P 500||2,771.54||↓ 0.65%|
- Stocks tumble as the European Central Bank signals a freeze on interest rates amid market slowdown in the Eurozone.
- Euro falls to four-month low and gold futures drop amid the news.
Click here to send us your comments and tell us what you think. Do you agree with us? Do you think our ideas are stupid? Bring it on. We can take it.
Would you know how often states go from allowing medical marijuana to permitting fully recreational use?
If they do, how long does it typically take?
The short answer is 1) Yes and 2) It takes about 12 years to from medical to full legalization. The long answer is a little more complicated. Typically the process is: Decriminalization > Medical > Full Legalization. Washington, Colorado, and Vermont took 14, 12, and 10 years respectfully to move from medical to full legalization. But as more states legalize and folks start to see those tax dollars roll in, there will be a snowball effect, with each legalization happening faster than the last, eventually resulting in legalization on a federal level. Heck, in 2017, West Virginia blew straight past decriminalization and medical and went straight to full legalization.
- A 65-year-old, billionaire diamond trader died during penis enlargement surgery at a private clinic in Paris.
- Woman wins $10,000 in secret contest for reading the fine print on her insurance policy. (Sigh, better get my reading glasses.)
- Archeologists discover hidden tunnels below Alcatraz prison.
- Russia passes a law to jail people for 15 days for “disrespecting” the government.
Editor, One Last Thing