April 27, 2022

Today's Topics

Hi! We have 3 charts for you today exploring:

  • Freedom! Free speech on social media is hard to get right... just ask Facebook.
  • Emergencies only. When do kids get their first smartphone?
  • Pepsi vs. Coca-Cola. Both companies have still got some fizz.
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So he did it. Elon Musk's $44bn deal to acquire Twitter and take it private has been accepted by Twitter's board, giving Musk carte blanche — if the deal goes through — to reshape Twitter and achieve what he believes is its full unrealized potential.

Musk's main objective with Twitter is to turn the platform into a haven for "free speech" — which is one of those terms that almost everyone agrees with in principle, but often disagrees with in practice. Facebook and Instagram are good examples of how hard it is to moderate a global social media platform.

Since 2018 Meta reports that it has deleted more than 22.1 billion (with a b) fake accounts that have cropped up on the site, and just last quarter they deleted almost 15 million pieces of content that were deemed to be "bullying & harassment" across Instagram and Facebook — just one of many categories of harmful content that Facebook tracks and moderates.

Public enemy number one: bots

Getting the bots under control is a top priority for Musk, but where he and his team end up drawing the practical line (if there is one) on what constitutes "bullying & harassment", "hate speech" or "inciting violence" is yet to be seen. And - as expected - many people are leaving or joining Twitter solely because of the news, anticipating the platform getting better, or worse, before anything has even happened.

For what it's worth Twitter shares are currently trading just under $50, just below what Musk has offered to pay for them ($54.20). Considering they were trading at ~$39 before his involvement, the market seems to be pricing in a 70-80% chance the deal goes through.

The world at your fingertips

The power of modern smartphones is nothing short of mindblowing — but with real risks to having unrestricted access to one the question for many parents is: when is the right age to give one to my child?

Data from Common Sense Media shows that the majority of American parents believe that the answer to that question is around the ages of 12-13. Indeed, 71% of children aged 12 that were surveyed last year said that they owned their own smartphone, significantly up on the 41% that had answered the same way back in 2015.

Perhaps even more surprising was that almost one-third of 8-year-olds also reported having a smartphone. Insert "back in my day we didn't even have..." comment as appropriate.

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As far as corporate rivalries go, Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi is about as classic as it gets. And this week both reported that business was good, with revenue coming in ahead of expectations for each company, despite inflation becoming more of a challenge.

Either is fine, thanks

For almost the entire time both companies have been public, Coca-Cola has been the more valuable entity of the two, with a brief exception in 2005 when PepsiCo overtook Coca-Cola for the first time in 112 years.

But if you'd bought shares in either of them 40 years ago, you'd probably not be too dissatisfied with either. $100 in Coca-Cola shares bought 40 years ago would be worth something in the neighborhood of $9,200 today, and the same in PepsiCo would be worth north of $8,100.

Ports in a storm

The stability of selling drinks and snacks is proving attractive this year, with both becoming something of a safe haven at a time when tech stocks and other fast-growing companies have been getting hammered. The S&P 500 index is down 8% in the last month, the tech-heavy NASDAQ is down 12% and yet PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are chilling — both are actually up 6% in the last month. Some things never change, even in turmoil, and drinking cola and eating snacks are very much on that list.

More Data

1) CNN was hoping for more than 10 million subscribers to CNN+ by 2024 according to a pitch deck obtained by Axios.

2) Age is but a number: The world's oldest person is now a nun who drinks a glass of wine everyday at the age of 118. For context, the oldest person ever was Jeanne Calment, who lived for 122 years and 164 days.

3) Rents are going up pretty much everywhere in the US -- this interactive map lets you explore your local area.

4) Economic nerds rejoice: the famed Phillips Curve has showed up... but this time in Google search data.

5) According to Gallup, 51% of people can't think of a source that reports the news objectively. That's where 1440 can help, with its unbiased daily newsletter. 100% free, 100% factualsign up here.**

6) Robinhood has announced plans to lay off about 9% of its full-time employees, as the company prepares to release its latest set of results tomorrow.

7) The US print book market is up 9% on 2020, and "BookTok" is playing its part (thanks Tom J for this story!).

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