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Montauk: Where fintech dealmakers go to the beach…

Here’s a riddle—what do the following all have in common?: Intuit buying Credit Karma for $7.1 billion. Morgan Stanley buying E*Trade for $13 billion. Visa buying Plaid for $5.3 billion. Charles Schwab buying TD Ameritrade for $26 billion. PayPal buying Honey for $4 billion. Answer: All those dealmakers were in the same room (well, technically, tent) in Montauk, NY last June at Fortune Brainstorm Finance. (And yes, they’re also finance deals that happened in the last 100 days.) Watch our interviews from the event featuring Credit Karma CEO Ken Lin, Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger, and Plaid CEO Zach Perret with Morgan Stanley’s tech transformation head, Sigal Zarmi. This year, we’ll be heading back to the Hamptons June 17-18 for the second edition of Brainstorm Finance, with new blockbuster addi...

Facebook takes issue with Michael Bloomberg’s stealthy campaign posts

Facebook has flagged Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign for posting messages on Facebook without disclosing who is paying for them. The social network said it has asked the campaign workers who posted the messages through their personal accounts to retroactively disclose that the posts are sponsored by Bloomberg. But it’s unclear whether the Facebook plans to delete the posts if the candidate’s team ignores the request. “We think it’s important that political campaigns have the guidance and tools to be transparent,” Facebook said in a statement. “That’s why we recommend campaign employees make the relationship clear on their accounts.” Sabrina Singh, a Bloomberg campaign spokeswoman, said in a statement that the initiative “was not intended to mislead anyone.” The project...

Cryptocurrency, “Decentralized Finance,” and the sweet promise of 8% interest

Good morning. The U.S. economy may be going gangbusters, but for those looking for a return on their savings, the picture is less pretty: Even so-called high yield savings accounts offer a pittance in interest—Goldman Sachs’ Marcus product, for instance, currently offers a measly 1.7%. That’s what makes the new world of decentralized finance, or DeFi, so intriguing. This exotic corner of the cryptocurrency markets has been around for barely two years, but is attracting outsize interest because users boast of earning 4 to 8% interest on deposits. Those higher interest rates are possible, DeFi boosters say, because there is no bank or other middleman to profit off consumer deposits. Instead, the system relies on pairing individual borrowers and lenders who rely on automated “smart contracts”...

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg looks to calm ‘tech lash’ with call for government rules on political ads and data

For years, Facebook Inc. lobbied governments against imposing tough regulations, warning in some cases that they could harm the company’s business model. Now, it’s pleading for new rules for the good of its business. “If we don’t create standards that people feel are legitimate, they won’t trust institutions or technology,” Facebook’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said in an op-ed in the Financial Times on Monday. It coincided with a visit to Brussels, home of the European Union’s institutions that have crafted some of the toughest rules in recent years. Silicon Valley firms have suffered from what’s been dubbed as a “tech lash,” with users frustrated over how web platforms profit from their data. Facebook has borne the brunt of that disenchantment following a series of missteps ...

Facebook cancels conference while IBM pulls out of one due to coronavirus fears

Facebook and IBM are cancelling their tech conferences plans due to fears about coronavirus. IBM said Friday that it will not attend the annual RSA cybersecurity conference in San Francisco later this month, citing concerns about its employees potentially catching the virus that has killed over 1,000 people and infected over 44,000 people globally.  “The health of IBMers continues to be our primary concern as we monitor upcoming events and travel relative to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19),” an IBM spokesperson told Fortune in an email. “As a result, we are cancelling our participation in this year’s RSA conference taking place February 24 – 28 in San Francisco.” Meanwhile, Facebook said it is cancelling its Global Marketing Summit that was scheduled to ...

Why Facebook’s Hobbi app shouldn’t be a ‘major concern’ for Pinterest investors

Pinterest shares tumbled 5% on Thursday and another 1% on Friday after Facebook introduced a new app called Hobbi that lets users create photo collections for their projects and interests. While Hobbi isn’t exactly a Pinterest copycat, the existence of the stealthily-launched app, which was first reported by The Information, was enough to spook investors in the short term.  “Facebook has 2.5 billion users. Anytime they roll anything out, there’s a lot of power behind that user base,” Ygal Arounian, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, told Fortune. “If it’s a compelling product, just because they have that base built-in, there is a risk [for investors].” The app was built by Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) Team and was listed under the NPE brand name⁠—not Facebook...

Facebook says its dating service is hot—but experts say it’s probably not

It may be Valentine’s Day, but Facebook Dating isn’t getting much love. About two and half years after it first debuted, the social network’s dating service has shown limited signs of progress. Instead, indicators suggest the service may be having difficulty challenging major dating rivals and rolling out in certain countries. Facebook Dating, which the company first introduced in Colombia in 2018, debuted in the U.S. in September and is currently available in 20 countries. The social network aimed to capitalize on the growing use of online dating, hoping that some of its 2.5 billion users would tap on the match-making tab on its service. And while the company announced Facebook Dating with much fanfare at its F8 developer conference in 2018, it hasn’t provided many details about it ...

Facebook’s Twitter account appears to have been hacked

Facebook’s corporate account on Twitter appears to have been hacked. The official account @Facebook on Friday sent out a tweet saying, “Hi, we are O u r M i n e. Well, even Facebook is hackable but at least their security better than Twitter.” Facebook didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, and the tweet was removed quickly. The group OurMine has been linked to other Twitter hacks, most recently the official accounts for more than a dozen National Football League teams. The group also took credit for a hack of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account last year. When it hacks accounts, OurMine markets its security services. In a statement following the post’s removal, Twitter confirmed the @Facebook account was hacked and said it was breached via a third-party platform...

Flaws in WhatsApp’s desktop app allowed remote access to files

Enlarge / Facebook has patched a WhatsApp bug that would let someone read files off your desktop. (credit: NurPhoto/Getty Images) Facebook has issued a security advisory for a flaw in WhatsApp Desktop that could allow an attacker to use cross-site scripting attacks and read the files on MacOS or Windows PCs by using a specially crafted text message. The attacker could retrieve the contents of files on the computer on the other end of a WhatsApp text message and potentially do other illicit things. The flaw, discovered by researcher Gal Weizman at PerimeterX, is a result of a weakness in how WhatsApp’s desktop was implemented using the Electron software framework, which has had significant security issues of its own in the past. Electron allows developers to create cross-platform appl...

Facebook’s ‘Clear History’ button is basically a farce

This is the web version of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the top tech news. To get it delivered daily to your in-box, sign up here. Jeff John Roberts here, filling in for Adam. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is talking tough. Days after an earnings call in which he declared his new goal isn’t to be “liked” but to be “understood,” he told a Utah confab that his company’s commitment to free speech is “going to piss off a lot of people.” (Political ads will remain allowed on the platform.) The company’s approach to consumer privacy might do the same. Case in point: Facebook’s “clear history” button that Zuckerberg promised to deliver in the wake of 2018’s Cambridge Analytica data breach, implying people would be able to opt out of Facebook co...

Facebook says its ad machine is being weakened by privacy changes

Facebook’s mean, green ad targeting machine is expected to be increasingly impacted by new privacy regulations and tools that give users more control over their data. “While we’ve experienced some modest impact from these headwinds to date, the majority of the impact lies in front of us,” David Wehner, Facebook’s chief financial officer, said during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Wednesday. Facebook said its future revenue growth is expected to “decelerate” compared to the fourth-quarter, when ad sales grew 25%. That represented Facebook’s slowest quarter of ad revenue growth in at least two years. Facebook’s has been able to grow its massive business by offering advertisers the ability to target specific audiences among the 2.9 billion users of its family of apps. Facebook ...

Facebook to pay $550 million in one of largest privacy settlements in U.S. history

Facebook will pay $550 million to resolve claims it collected user biometric data without consent in one of the largest consumer privacy settlements in U.S. history, according to a statement Wednesday by lawyers for consumers. The accord, which requires a judge’s approval, will avert a trial that may have exposed the social networking company to billions of dollars in damages. Facebook fought unsuccessfully to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to derail the class action case. The users alleged that the company’s photo-scanning technology violated an Illinois law by gathering and storing biometric data without their permission. Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The settlement was disclosed to investors on a quarterly earnings call. While Facebook has weathered cont...