Facebook Tries to Rebuild Image as Privacy Defender
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) came out with a blog post late Friday about how it has suspended tens of thousands of apps by about 400 developers for inappropriately sharing data obtained from Facebook and making it publicly available without consent. “Our App Developer Investigation is by no means finished. But there is meaningful progress to report so far. To date, this investigation has addressed millions of apps. Of those, tens of thousands have been suspended for a variety of reasons while we continue to investigate,” the company’s VP of product partnerships wrote. Whether this is a sincere effort to maintain privacy among its users or a publicity stunt to help alleviate some pressure from the Federal Trade Commission is yet to be seen. Facebook has inked an agreement with the FTC on a set of requirements for app developers that will supposedly help improve oversight.
Facebook shares may have put in a double top just past $200 a share. The stock has stopped making new highs for the past 14 months.
POMO Now a Step Closer as Fed Will Flood Repo Market This Week
Are we at QE4, or do we need a new acronym for diluting the dollar supply by inventing currency out of nothing and pouring it into the overnight repurchase markets, AKA repo? How about POMO, for Permanent Open Market Operations? That’s what looks to be on the way to happening, as the New York Federal Reserve has just announced that it will continue intervening in the overnight repo market for another week after an emergency operation last week helped calm a serious overnight liquidity crunch that resulted in interest rates rocketing up to 10%. Total liquidity to be injected this week amounts to about $465 billion, depending on how much of the operation is subscribed by banks. That’s more than half the TARP bailouts of 2008.
The Fed used to do this all the time before the financial crisis but excess reserves in the system have obviated the need for these sorts of operations on a daily basis. Until now, that is. It looks like excess liquidity is finally all soaked up and banks are holding on to the rest for dear life. The Fed now needs to go back into the business of printing for the overnight crowd once again. The Fed’s balance sheet is already reflecting this, up about $80 billion in a week. See this blip at the end of this chart. It should tell you all you need to know about the jump-starting of QE4. Tune in next week to see if this week’s OMO becomes next week’s POMO, and other acronyms for money-printing near you.
US Army Threatens to Murder American Civilians With Stealth Bomber, Apologizes
Somebody’s got itchy Twitter fingers. A United States military unit apologized over the weekend for threatening to bomb civilians planning to raid Area 51. The tweet came from the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service account, one of the many myriad of sprawling bureaucracies that makes up the world’s most heavily funded military. No word yet on whether the Tweet violated Twitter’s terms of service, which may or may not include a ban on threatening to bomb civilians. The tweet read, “The last thing #Millennials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today,” with an attached picture of a B2 Stealth Bomber. The Area 51 raid turned out to be a dud, with only about 150 people showing up, some of them dressed up as aliens, or at least the common cultural perception of aliens. The army has since clarified that it has no intention of killing people in alien costumes, if that really is who they are and the aliens haven’t come back to get their friends locked away in Area 51. It is unclear if the military worker who sent the tweet was fired, or if he or she was just transferred to another department. Twitter (NASDAQ:TWTR) made no comment on the affair.
Iran Rattles, Bares Teeth, Upset About US Troops Sent to Saudis
The head of the Revolutionary Guards has said that Iran will pursue any aggressor, even if it carries out a limited attack, and seek to destroy it. This came after attacks on Saudi oil sites that is widely blamed on Iran. “Be careful, a limited aggression will not remain limited. We will pursue any aggressor,” said Major General Hossein Salami. “We are after punishment and we will continue until the full destruction of any aggressor.” Meanwhile, President Trump is sending troops to help out Saudi Arabia’s air and missile defense systems. Democrats in Congress aren’t too happy about this, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling it the “latest outrageous attempt” to circumvent Congress. On that note, Congress has been circumvented in matters of war ever since the Korean War, with the first president to ever initiate a war without Congressional consent being Democrat Harry Truman. “These unacceptable actions are cause for alarm,” she said. “The United States cannot enable more brutality and bloodshed,” she added. “Congress will do our job to uphold the Constitution, defend our national security and protect the American people.”
It’s unclear of Pelosi is actually going to do anything about this besides bluster a bit.
Walmart Axes E-Cigarettes
Walmart (NYSE:WMT) will no longer sell any e-cigarettes and other vaping devices, because now everyone thinks they kill you faster than regular cigarettes. This has really tightened the regulatory landscape for the nicotine products, making it harder to sell as well as making it a public relations hazard. Walmart had earlier this year increased the minimum age for tobacco products to 21. About 500 people have contracted lung diseases possibly linked to vaping, but it is unclear what kind of vapes were being used in those cases and whether they may have been black market products with harmful filler. 8 people have died from complications, though no definitive connection to e-cigarettes has been made yet. Michigan and the city of San Francisco have already banned them.