Welcome to the Weekly Scan. Here’s what we’re following for the week of October 13, 2020.

Stimulus standoff. After ending further talks with House Democrats on a multi-trillion dollar economic stimulus plan until after the presidential election, the White House suddenly proposed a $1.8 trillion bill on Friday, October 9. The House’s $2.2 trillion stimulus bill would have provided more money to unemployed workers, struggling small businesses, and potentially an airline industry grappling with massive layoffs.

  • The takeaway. It’s unclear whether the House will take up negotiations on the new bill. Ending economic aid talks was a politically perilous gamble just a few weeks ahead of the presidential election, with the nearly 13 million people unemployed, and the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, saying the economy desperately needs a boost from the federal government to avoid a sustained recession. 

NYT and Washington Post

Elections “about-Face”? Social media platform Facebook announced it would end all political and issues-based ads immediately following the November 3 presidential election, in an attempt to limit the spread of misinformation following the national vote. In September, Facebook said it would ban new political ads in the week immediately prior to the November presidential election, in an effort to prevent misleading information and potential civil unrest. Twitter has also said that it will add a screen hiding tweets from politicians, public figures, political parties, and candidates with false information about the election and Covid-19 that is meant to mislead voters. 

  • The takeaway. Facebook has been responding to criticism that it hasn’t done enough to prevent false and misleading information and intimidating speech by politicians. The change comes as Russia has reportedly ramped up a disinformation campaign meant to confuse voters via social media, and as President Trump and other Republicans have sought to create doubts about the validity of mail-in votes, despite little evidence of fraud related to voting by mail.

Washington Post

5G takes the stage. Apple is expected to introduce the iPhone 12 on Tuesday, October 13. The latest version of the iPhone will reportedly have 5G capabilities, which can make internet speeds faster for users. Some experts have said that 5G could drive massive sales of the new phone. Others have predicted lower sales since some phone manufacturers, such as Samsung, have already been selling phones with 5G access for over a year. Apple also reportedly has plans to sell different sizes of the new phone at different prices to increase sales of the phone. 

  • The takeaway: With the newest iPhone, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is attempting to reach sales figures last seen in 2015 and 2018. In 2015, after Apple revealed the iPhone 6 Plus, the company sold $155 billion in iPhones. The iPhone X, which was unveiled in 2018, led to $167 billion in iPhone sales. In 2019 and 2020, Apple recorded $142 billion and $140 billion in sales, respectively. Keep in mind that past performance is not an indication of future growth.

Wall Street Journal

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