Welcome to the Weekly Scan. Here’s what we’re following for the week of January 11, 2021.
Social media shutdown. The largest social media companies removed President Donald Trump’s accounts for his role in inciting the mob attack on the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. last week. The list of companies includes Facebook and Instagram, Twitter, Google’s YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit and Snapchat. Additionally, cloud service provider Amazon, and app providers Google and Apple removed the right-wing conspiracy platform Parler for allowing its users to continue promoting violence against the government.
- The takeaway: President Trump has repeatedly feuded with social media companies during the course of his administration. Trump issued an executive order in May, 2020, attempting to remove legal protections for social media companies. Ahead of the election, Twitter decided to add disclaimers to the president’s tweets about mail-in voting urging users to get the facts. The administration has claimed that “Big Tech” companies such as Twitter and Facebook hold too much power.
Richie rich. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk surpassed Amazon’s Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world on Thursday, January 7. The news came after Tesla’s shares increased 7.9%, bringing Musk’s worth to $194.8 billion, $9.5 billion more than that of Bezos. Much of Musk’s wealth is reportedly in his shares of Tesla.
- The takeaway: Musk reached this milestone despite the $20 million fine he was forced to pay to the Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) in 2018 after he claimed on Twitter that he would take Tesla private. Tesla did not ultimately go private and Musk was forced to step down as the chairman of the company. Still, Tesla under Musk’s leadership saw share prices increase 743% last year, as well as its inclusion in the S&P 500 index. Remember, however, that past performance does not guarantee future growth.
Haven closes its doors. Haven, the healthcare venture between Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase, will stop its work in February, 2021. The three companies began collaborating on Haven in 2018 in an attempt to lower healthcare costs for the 1.5 million people employed collectively by the companies. The project reportedly collapsed as the companies struggled to assemble data on healthcare costs.
- The takeaway: Despite the collective power of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase, three of the largest companies in the world, the consortium struggled to leverage bargaining power with the healthcare industry. Haven also ran into the issue of conflicting independent projects from the three businesses, such as Amazon’s foray into prescription delivery and telehealth services for employees.
Find out what we covered in last week’s Scan.