DealBook Briefing: Social Media Wrestles With Its Role in Terror

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Good Monday. Want this by email? Sign up here.Domestic terror attacks rattle social mediaThe suspects in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and the pipe-bomb mailings shared something in common: They posted reams of hateful messages online. Now the platforms they used are having to reckon with their role.Gab, an extremist-friendly messaging service used by Robert Bowers, the suspect in the Pittsburgh rampage, has been dumped by the web hosting service GoDaddy and the payment processors Stripe and PayPal. Meanwhile, Twitter and Facebook pulled down social media accounts linked to Cesar Sayoc Jr., who is suspected of mailing pipe bombs to prominent Democrats. (But Twitter did so weeks after having first been warned about Mr. Sayoc’s threatening online behavior.)There are lingering questions about the way Gab, Twitter and Facebook allowed Mr. Bowers and Mr. Sayoc to post messages that decried Jews and others. (“Jews are the children of Satan,” Mr. Bowers’s profile on Gab read. Mr. Sayoc’s Facebook feed overflowed with screeds against Hillary Clinton, Islamist terrorism and illegal immigration.)Kevin Roose of the NYT writes that mainstream social networks belatedly “have come to realize that an anything-goes approach is ripe for exploitation, and ultimately bad for business.” But Gab appears defiant, writing on its site that it “will continue to fight for the fundamental human right to speak freely.”IBM bets on the cloud for a rebootIBM agreed yesterday to buy Red Hat, the biggest distributor of the open-source Linux operating system, for $34 billion. It was the tech giant’s biggest-ever takeover and a wager that cloud computing software can turn around its fortunes.Amazon, Microsoft and Google have outpaced IBM in providing cloud services to companies. The Red Hat deal is a bid to fix that, based on a belief that customers won’t want to rely on just one cloud provider: Instead, IBM hopes, businesses will adopt a hybrid model, using multiple cloud services, bridged with their own data centers — which will run on Red Hat systems.It’s an expensive bet. IBM will pay $190 a share for Red Hat, a 60 percent premium over Friday’s closing stock price. But some commentators think the deal makes sense: “Linking arms and fighting the tech giants together may be their best bet,” Shira Ovide of Bloomberg Opinion writes.What does the stock sell-off say about the economy?Strong earnings last week did little to ease investors’ concerns, as the S.&P. 500 briefly nudged into correction territory on Friday. The index is down 9 percent from its peak in September, putting it on track for its worst month since the 2008 financial crisis.Peter Eavis of DealBook points out that much of the selling behind this rout is in tech stocks, whose soaring stock market valuations left them vulnerable to a sharp sell-off. More telling, he suggests, are bank stocks, which have also slid — and which might also be a better barometer of the wider economy:A rout helps investors decide what’s worth really worrying about. With the United States economy growing strongly, they may soon decide they’ve been freaking out too much. A sustained upturn in bank stocks may show that their optimism is returning. But if they remain in the doldrums, real trouble may lie ahead.But there are other reasons to fear an economic stutter. Commerce Department figures released on Friday show that growth of the U.S. gross domestic product has slowed slightly, and some economists told the WSJ that they think it may have passed its peak.More markets takes: Central banks are no longer cushioning the markets from volatility. Why investors hate everything. And have the markets fallen out of love with President Trump?Coming upW.T.O. hears U.S. concerns on Chinese trade. The organization’s dispute resolution body will hear a complaint in Geneva today about Chinese infringements of intellectual property rights. China could block a first hearing but cannot block a second, American officials say.The Commerce Department releases personal income and spending figures. Economists predict that both grew at a steady pace last month.Britain announces its final pre-Brexit budget. The chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, is expected to warn that tax cuts and higher spending could be put at risk if Britain fails to strike a deal with the E.U. before it exits the bloc.Trump’s trade war is helping corn beat soybeansSoybeans threatened to overtake corn as the king of America’s crops in recent years, thanks to outsize Chinese demand. But the trade fight between Washington and Beijing may be helping corn retake its crown.The WSJ points out that Chinese tariffs on soybeans are crimping exports, and prices for oilseeds are down 11 percent this year. America’s biggest rival in soybean farming, Brazil, is also working hard to improve its export infrastructure. More from Jesse Newman and Jacob Bunge:“You’re not going to raise a crop that you lose $2 a bushel on every year,” said Joel Schreurs, a Minnesota farmer who considers switching up to 30 percent of his soybean acres into corn next year if Chinese duties remain in place and federal assistance dries up.The shift away from soybeans couldn’t have come at a worse time for some farmers: This year’s yield is expected to be the biggest ever. Farmers who took out debt to bet on soybeans may find themselves unable to afford a quick switch to corn.Big Tech faces big taxes in Asia and Latin AmericaEurope’s tough stance on technology companies might be catching on. The WSJ reports that “at least” nine Asian countries, including South Korea and India, are considering new taxes on the revenue of tech companies like Google and Facebook. Mexico and Chile may do so, too. They might all be inspired by what the E.U. proposed earlier this year.More from Timothy W. Martin and Sam Schechner of the WSJ:Such taxes, which are separate from corporate income taxes many companies already pay, are broadly known as digital taxes and could add billions of dollars to companies’ tax bills. They seek to impose levies on digital services sold by global companies in a given country from units based outside that country. In some cases, the proposed taxes target services involving the collection of data about local residents, such as targeted online advertising.Opponents of the taxes worry about double taxation and argue that they could dampen international investment. But while the E.U. proposal has faced criticism, a growing number of similar efforts around the globe may make such taxes more likely.Is the M.B.A. past its prime?The master’s in business administration was once almost a prerequisite for climbing the corporate ladder. But more U.S. business schools are dropping the degree, as 70 percent of American institutions reported drops in enrollment in two-year programs, the FT reports.Among the possible factors: Online courses offer many of the same skills, and a booming labor market means fewer people want to go back to school. Some people are now bearish about the future of the degree, according to Jonathan Moules and Andrew Jack of the FT:“I think the M.B.A. has peaked,” says Arnoud de Meyer, former dean of Insead, Europe’s highest ranked school, and now president of Singapore Management University. “There were a few very good years in the U.S. in the 1980s. Then with the emergence of European M.B.A.s there was an explosion of the good, the bad and the ugly. Now we have a bit of rationalization.”The speed readDeals• Epic, the maker of the video game Fortnite, raised $1.25 billion from KKR and others. (NYT)• Old-line consumer product companies like Kellogg, Clorox and Campbell Soup might all be better off going private. (CNBC)• A London court refused to reinstate a criminal case against Barclays over its 2008 fund-raising from Qatari investors. (FT)• Non-tech companies are succeeding more in buying start-ups because they offer friendly terms to founders. (Business Insider)• Sweetgreen, the salad chain, is said to be raising $200 million at a $1 billion valuation. (CNBC)Politics and policy• Several members of President Trump’s cabinet, including Jim Mattis and Wilbur Ross, are expected to leave after the midterms. (Politico)• Mr. Trump’s attacks on the news media seem to be working. (NYT)• The far-right populist Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’s presidential election. (NYT)• Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain is still trying to woo skeptical businesses. (FT)• Saudi Arabia is using its wealth to buy friends again. But some critics think Saudi money may become too toxic to accept in the West.• Why the U.S. unemployment rate could fall even further. (Bloomberg Opinion)Trade• President Trump’s trade war may create new auto jobs — in China. (NYT)• An Iranian port project poses a quandary for the U.S.: Should it punish Iran, or help India and Afghanistan? (WSJ)• Canada ratified a major Pacific trade deal. (Bloomberg)Tech• The F.B.I. is reportedly investigating whether Tesla misstated information about the production of its Model 3 vehicles. Meanwhile, the founder of Oracle, Larry Ellison, disclosed that he holds a large personal stake in the automaker.• Qualcomm says that Apple owes it $7 billion in royalty payments. (Bloomberg)• Facebook removed from its sites an Iranian network that was spreading disinformation. (It also initially blocked posts containing NYT photographs of a starving girl in Yemen for infringing community standards, but reinstated the posts after pressure from users.)• Investment in Chinese tech companies appears to be slowing. (WSJ)• America’s public schools are promoting devices with screens, while the rich are banning them from class altogether. (NYT)• Why Silicon Valley might not be able to escape its ties to the defense industry. (NYT Op-Ed)Best of the rest• Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the Thai billionaire and owner of the Leicester City professional soccer team, died in a helicopter crash on Saturday. (FT)• Terry Laughlin, the head of Bank of America’s global wealth and investment management division, has died. (Bloomberg)• Men feel better about the economy than they have in over a decade. Women are far more skeptical. (NYT)• How the Obama administration secretly stymied JPMorgan Chase’s growth. (Bloomberg)• Why you might want to buy into the Chinese bear market. (Barron’s)• Cannabidiol oil, or CBD, is everywhere. Why? (NYT)Thanks for reading! We’ll see you tomorrow.We’d love your feedback. Please email thoughts and suggestions to bizday@nytimes.com.

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