Erdogan miffed at Modi 

Also in today’s edition: Meta could be as toxic as Facebook, All Mumbaikars get first shot, Short-video gold rush

Good morning!  Apple has found an ingenious way to boost revenues. Buy Google ads to secretly advertise expensive apps listed on App Store, reports Forbes. The ads appear as if the developers themselves have posted them. Why would Apple do that? To drive up downloads from the App Store and make money from the app makers. Remember, Apple takes a cut for apps sold on its store. An ad may cost it $10 per download but rake in $50 from the developer. A neat ad-bitrage, if you will.

Btw, our podcast has been going strong for over a month now. Tune in on your daily jog, drive to the office, or even as you WFH-ers have breakfast in bed. We promise it’ll be music to your ears.

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The Market Signal 

Stocks: Major indices ended the last week in the green. Earnings and new listings are likely to provide direction in the coming week. Inflation continues to be a worry. Retail prices rose at a rate of 4.48% in October compared to 4.35% in September.


Meta Could Threaten Facebook

Meta Platforms’ Metaverse (you read that right) could run into Facebook-like problems around safety, posing an “existential threat” to its ambitions. A Financial Times report published Meta’s incoming CTO, Andrew Bosworth’s comments from an internal memo outlining the company’s vision for the Metaverse: “Almost Disney levels of safety.” 

How? Facebook intends to “give people tools to report bad behaviour and block users they do not wish to interact with”, the report added. Besides of course building AI (in the future) to moderate the Metaverse. Sounds familiar?

Zoom Out: This also comes in the backdrop of Facebook’s latest scandal, courtesy Frances Haugen, where internal memos showed the social network’s much-touted AI-based algorithms haven’t been effective against hate speech. Facebook, these papers also revealed, was inconsistent when it came to enforcement of its own community standards.

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WHO Calls Out Booster Shot Scam 

India’s financial capital has inoculated 100% of its citizens over 18 years of age with the first jab of the Covid-19 vaccine. Himachal Pradesh was the first state to meet that milestone back in August.

More updates: Meanwhile, Karnataka has administered both doses of the vaccine to 50z% of its eligible population. India also recorded the lowest active caseload for Covid-19 since March 2020. On the other hand, things are getting worse in Russia and Europe. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported a 10% increase in Covid-related deaths in the past week. 

Stop the booster: The WHO has also called out countries that are giving out booster shots to its citizens. Calling it a “scandal”, the organization has pointed out how the number of boosters given are outweighing the first shots administered in low-income countries.  


No Dumping Coal Yet

A fortnight of intense climate change talks in Glasgow has ended with about 200 countries pledging to take steps to ensure global temperatures do not rise above 1.5 degree Celsius from pre-industrialization levels.

The vow: Key to the strategy is a promise by India and China, two of the biggest emitters, to scale down coal consumption although both rejected calling it a “phase-out” that would have bound them to eliminate, instead of reduce, coal from their energy mix. The US and China also signed a surprise deal that gave the talks new mojo.

Credit: The countries also framed rules critical to building a global carbon credit market, including a marketplace supervised by the United Nations. A key point of friction in carbon trading is double counting where the same carbon credits are counted by different entities or countries.

Protocol envy: Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was apparently miffed that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was allowed a motorcade and exclusive hotels. The only other countries that got the same treatment were the US and hosts, the UK.

The Signal

COP26 is being seen as an improvement by several notches over the 2015 Paris Agreement. India took a tough stand on responsibilities and stuck to it till the end. Developed countries too slipped through without committing to hard financing targets. India flagged the dichotomy pointing out that while there were several mechanisms in place to monitor mitigation but no commitment to measuring the progress of finance needs.

More than government commitments, a robust carbon credit market could go a long way in channelling capital flows to developing countries such as India. Many investors would see value in investing in Indian companies’ climate change mitigation efforts. Indian companies would also likely invest in green technologies.

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Crypto On Their Minds

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted about an alleged multi-crore Bitcoin scam. He alleged that its cover-up was even bigger. Blaming the BJP government in Karnataka, other Congress leaders demanded an independent investigation into the matter by a Supreme Court-monitored Special Investigation Team.

What happened? The scam dates back to 2019 and came to light last year after a hacker, Sri Krishna Ramesh, who claimed that he broke into a Hong Kong-based Bitcoin exchange in 2015 and stole about 2000 coins, was arrested. An investigation allegedly found that several police officers and politicians were involved in diverting those bitcoins to their accounts.

Different concerns: Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting on cryptocurrencies amid growing worries that they are used for money-laundering and terror financing. The government is also considering banning crypto exchange ads. RBI governor Shaktikanta Das also raised concerns over cryptocurrency last week.


Creators Hit The Jackpot

First, they copied TikTok. Now they’re baiting creators with hard cash. 

Reel It: Instagram will pay up to $10,000 for a single reel if a creator meets certain guidelines. The incentives are tied to views.

Shorts It: Select creators will earn $50,000 to publish 100 YouTube Shorts over six months. That’s from outside YouTube’s $100 million Shorts fund. Creators have to keep it exclusively on the platform for a week. 

Shop It: Facebook is rolling out Shopping in groups, product recommendations and live shopping for creators. 

Invest It: A former Facebook VP and now VC Sam Lessin is investing in ‘humans’. Lessin’s Slow Ventures has set aside $20 million to invest in creators and has made its first investment in YouTuber Marina Mogilko. The terms of the deal? A $1.70 million investment in return for 5% of her earnings over the next 30 years. Conditions apply.

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What Else Made The Signal?

Lethal air: A smog-choked Delhi has ordered schools and offices shut. It is now the most polluted metro in the world and is closely trailed by Mumbai and Kolkata. 

Back on rails: Indian Railways is set to resume regular services and discontinue special trains. It’s expected to bring down fares by 30%.

Split up: Johnson and Johnson is hiving off its consumer business. The 130-year-old company will focus on its pharmaceuticals business. 

Toys of war: Russia has started delivering knocked down pieces of the S-400 missile defence system that can shoot down aircraft and ballistic missiles. They’ll be first deployed, where else, on the western front.

Exodus: Myntra’s top leadership, including the chief finance and marketing officers, has left the company.


FWIW

Gone too soon: A wealthy tech mogul, Glen de Vries, who travelled to space with the OG Captain Kirk, William Shatner, on a Blue Origin spacecraft last month, has been killed in a plane crash. De Vries was flying a Cessna 172 when it crashed in northern New Jersey.

Meta Icelandverse: Facebook/Meta’s new promotional video has set off a flurry of memes. But the latest parody, Icelandverse, is not just funny but a great ad for Iceland. It’s so real that it is real, the ad says. 

Tokens for tickets: AMC Theaters, the king of all meme stocks, now lets customers pay with Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptos after months of anticipation. But this is probably only for online payment.

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