The logo of video-sharing website YouTube is displayed on a smartphone on November 19, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.
Thomas Trutschel | Photothek via Getty Images
YouTube on Tuesday barred One America News Network (OANN) from posting new videos and livestreaming for one week, after the right-leaning media organization uploaded a fake cure for the coronavirus.
“After careful review, we removed a video from OANN and issued a strike on the channel for violating our COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content claiming there’s a guaranteed cure,” a YouTube spokesperson told CNBC. “Additionally, due to repeated violations of our Covid-19 misinformation policy and other channel monetization policies, we’ve suspended the channel from the YouTube Partner Program and as a result, its monetization on YouTube.
It was unclear what specifically OANN’s video said about a Covid-19 cure that made YouTube decide to suspend the channel.
The organization will have to reapply to YouTube’s Partner Program (YPP) if it wants the ability to make money off of its existing content again. YPP is YouTube’s program that connects large YouTube channels with advertisers. YouTube said broadly that companies will only be readmitted after they’ve fixed the issues that led to suspension.
Tuesday’s move marks YouTube’s largest crackdown against OANN. The social media giant has been criticized for allowing OANN to spread misinformation, such as false claims that President Donald Trump won the Presidential election.
Axios first reported on YouTube’s suspension of OANN.
A representative from OANN could not immediately be reached for comment.
Restaurant tech start-up Toast soars to $8 billion valuation seven months after cutting half its staff
Tech companies are lining up to go public — here’s what we learned from the most recent wave of IPO filings
A DoorDash Inc. delivery person places an order into an insulated bag at Chef Geoff’s restaurant in Washington, D.C.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Tech investors have plenty of reading to do over the Thanksgiving holiday in the form of IPO filings. DoorDash, Airbnb, Affirm, Roblox and Wish all unveiled their prospectuses in the past eight days, with plans to go public before year-end.
They’re taking advantage of a post-election rally that’s lifted U.S. stock indexes near record highs and a clear demand in the public market for high-growth investments.
All five companies serve consumers and can expect a busy holiday season in the face of surging coronavirus cases and a drastically altered economy. It’s a very different slate of entrants to the market than the previous rush in September, when a number of enterprise software companies like Snowflake and Palantir made their debuts.
They each have distinct narratives tied to the coronavirus.
DoorDash revenue more than tripled in the third quarter as many restaurants turned to delivery as their primary source of business. Kids gaming platform Roblox reported 91% revenue growth in the most recent quarter (measured vs. last year), as it benefitted from school closures and more users looking for ways to stay entertained away from their friends.
Affirm, which offers point-of-sale online loans for consumers buying apparel, electronics, home goods and other items, almost doubled revenue in the latest quarter as people increasingly turned to the internet for their purchases. Wish, an online discount retail marketplace, is also benefiting from the ecommerce boom. But its third-quarter growth was more muted at 33%, in part because most of its merchants are based in China and are still dealing with supply chain challenges.
Airbnb is the company most hurt by the pandemic, which has flattened the travel economy. But it’s found a niche in combining vacation homes with remote work and is positioning itself for an economic rebound.
Here’s what we learned from each company’s S-1 filing, listed in the order of when they were filed:
Tony Xu, co-founder and chief executive officer of DoorDash Inc., smiles during the Wall Street Journal Tech Live conference in Laguna Beach, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019.
Martina Albertazzi | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Top line: Revenue jumped to $879 million in the third quarter from $239 million a year earlier, spurred by order growth of 237%. For the first nine months of the year, orders climbed to 543 million, up from 181 million in the same period last year.
Bottom line: Net loss narrowed to $42 million from $152 million a ear ago. Through three quarters of 2020, DoorDash generated a positive contribution margin of 23%, compared with a negative margin last year of 32%, meaning the company is finally, on average, making money from every order.
Covid story: DoorDash has taken advantage of its share gains in recent years — it has almost 50% control of the U.S. meal delivery market — to get its brand in front of consumers at a time when they’re ordering food at unprecedented rates. Americans will eventually return to eating out, and restaurants reliant on delivery will continuously look for more affordable ways to operate. As DoorDash warns in its prospectus: “The circumstances that have accelerated the increase in Total Orders stemming from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may not continue in the future, and we expect the growth rate in Total Orders to decline in future periods.”
Top line: Third-quarter revenue dropped 18% from a year ago, to $1.34 billion. It’s a big decline, with a steeper bookings drop expected in the fourth quarter because the pandemic is keeping people close to home. But people are using Airbnb for non-urban rentals and to find creative ways to work remotely, helping the company weather the crisis better than hotels, airlines and online travel agencies.
Bottom line: Airbnb reported a net income of $219 million in the third quarter, a slight drop from a year earlier. The company cut its workforce by 25% in May and slashed its marketing budget, leading to a 75% plunge in sales and marketing costs.
Covid story: Airbnb was poised to be the tech IPO of the year coming into 2020, sporting a $35 billion valuation with a continuing promise to transform the way consumers travel. When business came to a halt late in the first quarter, Airbnb had to turn to the debt markets, raising $2 billion in high-interest loans, and cut its valuation. Potential long-term investors can look at Airbnb’s ability to adapt to a new reality faster than its rivals as a reason to get in now, along with the expectation that we’re not going to be locked down forever.
Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal and Affirm
Contributor | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Top line: For the period ended Sept. 30, revenue jumped 98% from a year ago, to $174 million. The most growth came from its merchant network, the online businesses that offer Affirm loans when items are being purchased. The company works with over 6,500 merchants, including Peloton, West Elm and Pottery Barn, and it has a partnership with Shopify.
Bottom line: Affirm’s net loss in the quarter narrowed by about half from a year ago, to $15.3 million. On a percentage basis, the biggest cost increase came in sales and marketing, where expenses quadrupled to $22.6 million tied to its new relationship with Shopify.
Covid story: The number of active consumers surged to 3.9 million in the quarter from 2.4 million a year earlier. The direct-to-consumer trend that’s fueling online commerce and pushing Shopify’s stock higher is also driving Affirm. Look no further than Peloton, which accounts for 30% of Affirm’s revenue and is flourishing from the at-home boom. Peloton’s revenue in the latest quarter more than tripled and the stock is up 290% this year.
A rendering of the hit Roblox video game “Jailbreak.”
Top line: Revenue in the third quarter increased 91% to $242 million. The company’s gaming platform lets kids build an avatar that they can take between games, and spend money on a virtual currency called Robux for premium features. Daily active users almost doubled in the period ended September from the year-ago quarter, to 36.2 million. A metric the company calls “hours engaged” more than doubled to 8.7 billion.
Bottom line: Net loss in the third quarter more than doubled to $48 million from a year earlier. Sales and marketing costs were flat, but there was a steep increase in developer exchange fees, which more than tripled to $81.9 million. That’s the money Roblox shares with game developers when consumers spend money in their titles. “Many users eventually become developers and creators, and nearly all developers and creators started as users,” the company says in its prospectus.
Covid story: In addition to spending more time and money on the app because they’re home, users are also hosting virtual birthday parties and other gatherings on Roblox, generating another revenue stream for the company. While Roblox has lured many more users during the pandemic who are likely to keep using the app, there simply won’t be as many screen hours available when schools reopen.
Top line: Revenue in the third quarter rose 33% to $606 million. Wish, known for deep discounts, continues to benefit from the move to online commerce, and the increased comfort that consumers have buying items from their phones. Monthly active users rose to 108 million in the first nine months of 2020 from 81 million in the same period a year ago.
Bottom line: Net loss narrowed to $99 million from $134 million due to a 13% drop in sales and marketing costs as the company shifted investment to its logistics platform.
Covid story: Wish was particularly exposed to the early days of the pandemic because most of its merchants are based in China, where Covid-19 first started spreading. Revenue dropped in the first quarter then picked up in the second. But the company said that merchants continue to suffer from supply chain disruptions and slow delivery times to various parts of the world.
Roblox CEO David Baszucki
Roblox, whose online gaming software has been hugely popular with kids during the pandemic, filed its IPO prospectus on Thursday, joining a growing crop of companies that are trying to go public before the end of the year.
Revenue in the third quarter jumped 91% from a year ago to $242.2 million, Roblox said in the filing. Its net loss more than doubled to $48 million.
Airbnb, DoorDash and online lender Affirm have also filed to go public in the past week, taking advantage of a post-election rally in U.S. stocks and investor demand for high-growth tech names. The companies are trying to hit the market in the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, people familiar with their plans told CNBC last week.
Roblox was founded in 2006, but has never seen a year like 2020. Daily active users almost doubled in the period ended September to 36.2 million. A metric the company calls “hours engaged” more than doubled to 8.7 billion.
“We have experienced rapid growth in the three months ended June 30, 2020, September 30, 2020 and for a portion of the three months ended March 31, 2020, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic given our users have been online more as a result of global COVID-19 shelter-in-place policies,” the company said in the filing.
This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.
Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, October 23, 2019.
Erin Scott | Reuters
Facebook executives on Thursday defended the company’s decision to bring content moderators back into offices in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, one day after more than 200 of these contractors published an open letter urging the company to let them work from home.
Facebook vice president of integrity Guy Rosen said the company needs some of its most sensitive content reviewed from an office setting but has taken steps to make those environments safe.
“We’re not able to route some of the most sensitive and graphic content to outsourced reviewers at home,” Rosen said on a press call Thursday morning. “This is really sensitive content. This is not something you want people reviewing from home with their family around.”
In the letter, which was addressed to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the moderators claim Facebook is needlessly risking their lives. The moderators demand that Facebook maximize working from home, offer hazard pay and end outsourcing.
Asked what portion of the company’s content review workforce has returned to their offices, Rosen declined to give a specific figure but said that the majority of those workers are still working from home.
“We’ve always had some employees in critical jobs who needed to come into some of our global facilities, these are things like data centers and so forth, and we have very strict safety standards that we are employing at those locations,” Rosen said.
Other roles that have also returned to the offices include security teams and hardware engineers, Rosen said. Among the health and safety measures in place are significantly reduced capacity, physical distancing, mandatory temperature checks, mandatory masks, daily deep cleanings, hand sanitizers and air filter changes, Rosen said. The company has also brought on full-time employees to help with content review, asking them to handle more sensitive content, Rosen said.
“The facilities meet or exceed the guidance on a safe work space,” Rosen said.
The company also addressed the open letter’s criticism that Facebook’s AI software is not up the task of detecting all the type of content that breaches the company’s policies.
“Our investments in AI are helping us detect and remove this content to keep people safe,” Rosen said. “The reason … we are bringing some workers back to the offices is exactly in order to ensure we can have that balance of people and AI working on these areas.”
Additionally, the company on Thursday for the first time disclosed how much hate speech content it removed from Facebook and Instagram. During the third quarter, the company removed 22.1 million pieces of hate speech. That came out to 0.11% of content viewed on Facebook being hate speech.
The company also provided an update on its efforts to moderate content related to the U.S. election and Covid-19.
Facebook also shared that since March it removed more than 265,000 pieces of content in the U.S. from Facebook and Instagram for violating the company’s voter interference policies. Rosen said that 140 million people visited the company’s voting information center, with 33 million listing it on Election Day. The company also placed warning labels on more than 180 million pieces of debunked misinformation.
Between March and October, Facebook removed more than 12 million pieces of content from Facebook and Instagram that contained misinformation related to Covid-19 that could lead to imminent physical harm. This includes content related to exaggerated cures or fake preventative measures. The company also displayed warnings on about 167 million pieces of content containing debunked Covid-19 misinformation.
Rosen said 95% of users do not click to view content that is covered by a warning screen.