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Business Highlights: Twitter's struggle; Crytpo takeover – The Washington Post

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Twitter’s pared-down staff struggles with misinformation
Twitter is struggling to respond to political misinformation and other harmful posts on the social media platform after Elon Musk fired roughly half of its workforce just days before the U.S. midterm elections, according to employees who survived the cuts and an outside voting rights group. The recent mass layoffs spared many of the people whose job it is to keep hate and misinformation off the social media platform. But in preparation for the layoffs, employees said the company also sharply reduced how many employees can look into a specific account’s digital history and behavior — a practice necessary to investigate if it’s been used maliciously.
Musk’s partisan tweets call Twitter neutrality into question
Elon Musk used his Twitter megaphone to appeal to “independent-minded voters” on Monday, urging them to vote Republican in Tuesday’s U.S. midterm elections, stepping into the country’s political debate that tech company executives have for years worked to stay out of so their platforms wouldn’t be seen as favoring one side over the other. While Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion, has expressed political views in the past, such a direct endorsement of one party over another raises worries about Twitter’s ability to remain neutral under Musk’s rule.
Crypto exchange Binance to buy rival FTX in apparent bailout
NEW YORK — The cryptocurrency exchange Binance said it plans to buy its rival FTX Trading, in the latest example of how fortunes can change rapidly in the crypto world. The owners of the two exchanges — Samuel Bankman-Fried of FTX and Changpeng Zhao of Binance — announced the deal on Twitter Tuesday, but did not disclose any details. The deal was pending due diligence, Zhao said on Twitter. It’s a surprising turn of events after Bankman-Fried was hailed as somewhat of a savior earlier this year when he helped shore up a number of cryptocurrency companies that ran into financial trouble. Prices of bitcoin and other digital currencies fell sharply.
EU’s Call of Duty: Probe Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal
BRUSSELS — The European Union has launched an investigation into Microsoft’s planned takeover of video game giant Activision Blizzard, fearing the $69 billion deal would distort fair competition to popular titles like Call of Duty. Microsoft, maker of the Xbox gaming system, first announced the agreement to buy the California-based game publisher in January. It still awaits scrutiny from antitrust regulators in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. If it goes through, the all-cash deal would be the largest in the history of the tech industry. Members of the European Commission said Tuesday that “the point is to ensure that the gaming ecosystem remains vibrant to the benefit of users in a sector that is evolving at a fast pace.”
Disney posts Q4 results below Wall Street estimates
The Walt Disney Co. has posted lower-than-expected profit and revenue for its fiscal fourth quarter. The company said Tuesday it earned $162 million nearly flat compared to the $160 million it earned a year earlier. Revenue grew 9% to $20.15 billion. Analysts were expecting revenue of $21.27 billion. Disney said it ended the fiscal year with more than 235 million subscribers to its streaming services. That’s above analysts’ expectations of 231.5 million.
Kohl’s CEO steps down to take president role at Levi Strauss
NEW YORK — Michelle Gass, CEO of department store chain Kohl’s, is stepping down from her role early next month and will become the president of denim giant Levi Strauss & Co. Levi’s said in a release that Gass will start on Jan. 2 and the board of directors has put in motion a succession plan for her to succeed Chip Bergh, president and CEO in the next 18 months. She is expected to join the board of directors on that date. Kohl’s said in a separate release that Gass plans to step down on Dec. 2, and Tom Kingsbury will serve as interim CEO.
Adidas appoints boss of rival Puma as CEO after Ye fallout
BERLIN — Adidas has appointed Puma CEO Bjørn Gulden as its new chief executive. He will take over in January as the German sportswear brand weathers the fallout from its split with the rapper formerly known as Kanye West. The departure of Kasper Rorsted, Adidas’ CEO since 2016, was announced in August. The company said Tuesday that he and the supervisory board “mutually agreed” he will leave the company Friday. The chief financial officer will head Adidas until the end of the year. The company ended a partnership with Ye last month after mounting outcry over the rapper’s offensive and antisemitic remarks. Adidas is expected to take a hit of up to 250 million euros this year from the decision.
Bid for new trial fails, Elizabeth Holmes awaits sentencing
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge has rejected disgraced Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes’ bid for a new trial after concluding a key prosecution witness’s recent attempt to contact her wasn’t enough to give award another chance to avoid a potential prison sentence for defrauding investors in her blood-testing company. The ruling issued late Monday is the latest setback for Holmes, a former Silicon Valley star who once boasted an estimated net worth of $4.5 billion but is now facing up to 20 years prison that would separate her from her 1-year-old son. The 38-year-old Holmes is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 18 in San Jose, California.
Italian EV startup takes on US, Chinese rivals with design
MILAN — A new fully electric vehicle startup in Italy is challenging U.S. and Chinese rivals with “Made in Italy” design. AEHRA is being launched by a former oil trader who hired a former Lamborghini designer to infuse the cars with Italian emotion and is placing emphasis on aerodynamics over performance. Its biggest hurdle to success is an already crowded market of EV startups and traditional carmakers. And AEHRA doesn’t plan to launch its first vehicles until mid-2025. The ultra-premium cars plan to sell for $160,000 to $180,000, rolling out first in the United States and key European markets before expanding to China.
The S&P 500 rose 21.31 points, or 0.6%, to 3,828.11. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 333.83 points, or 1%, to 33,160.83. The Nasdaq rose 51.68 points, or 0.5%, to 10,616.20. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 0.88 points, or less than 0.1%, to 1,808.93.