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The day after Halloween is known for many things, from the required cleanup of toilet-papered trees to the sugar hangover of much of America’s youth (not to mention any adults who exacted the “parent tax” on their kids’ trick or treat bounties).
But we’re starting a new tradition this Nov. 1 at the Data Sheet. After a somewhat to very bonkers “Techtober,” it’s time to hand out some awards. In honor of last night, and one of my kids’ favorite treats, let’s call them the Not Exactly Redemptive Data Sheet awards–the NERDS.
Sour Patch Kids
Whether he was defending the right of politicians to lie via Facebook advertising, explaining why he’d included an often inaccurate alt-right web site among Facebook’s “trusted” news sites, getting spanked by lawmakers AGAIN (this time for for his Libra cryptocurrency plan), or offering a ham-handed defense of the First Amendment that included an all-new origin story for his company, it’s been quite the October for Mark Zuckerberg.
We also award a Butterfingers (the mini size, not a whole bar, of course) to Hollywood scribe Aaron Sorkin, who used a New York Times op-ed in an attempt to land a few punches on Zuck for promoting dishonest discourse. Only Sorkin got Zuck’s age wrong. And the Gawker lawsuit wrong. And a Pew survey wrong. And he had to be corrected about the year his own movie, The Social Network, came out. There should be some sort of special double award for that one. Give the man a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, fun size, too.
Banana Laffy Taffy
Technically, Adam Neumann isn’t in charge of the company formerly known as WeWork anymore, and technically, the company withdrew its IPO on Sept. 30. But that shouldn’t stop us from reveling one more time in some more bananas revelations about Neumann’s time running the real estate startup. (And to my Data Sheet overlords: I am ready to drop everything and have a meeting with you in Maldives any time.) On the other hand, the laff’s on us. SoftBank’s October rescue package cashed out the former CEO to the tune of $1.2 billion. Maybe the real candy award for Neumann should be a huge sack full of 100 Grand bars.
We won’t know for a year or more whether Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg deserved all the snickers they got in October. The former Sony execs now in charge of programming for Apple TV+ faced brutal reviews for some of their initial shows along with a heap of questions about their entire prestige play strategy. Today marks the first day regular people can watch the first few shows on Apple TV+ (including Snoopy in Space!), so we’ll begin to learn how well Erlicht and Van Amburg really did their jobs.
Finally, let’s give Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey some kudos, but just a bit, for his Tweet storm revealing that his company would no longer accept political advertising. Dorsey was only giving up a tiny portion (0.3%) of Twitter revenue, but his principled stand was at least an attempt to protect the integrity of our elections.
On Twitter: @ampressman
This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Aaron Pressman.