Business briefing

The daily business briefing: December 13, 2022

Bahamian officials arrest FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, Twitter dissolves its Trust and Safety Council, and more

1

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried arrested in the Bahamas

Bahamian authorities on Monday arrested Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, after U.S. prosecutors filed criminal charges including wire fraud, securities fraud, fraud conspiracy, and money laundering, The New York Times reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. The government of the Bahamas, where Bankman-Fried and his company were based, said the arrest came in anticipation of an expected U.S. request to extradite the disgraced executive. The arrest came as Bankman-Fried was set to testify before the House Financial Services Committee about the sudden implosion of FTX, once the world's second largest crypto firm, which caused a run on deposits that exposed an $8 billion shortfall in its accounts.

2

Twitter disbands Trust and Safety Council

Elon Musk's Twitter on Monday dissolved its volunteer Trust and Safety Council, an advisory group of civil, human rights, and other organizations. The council was created in 2016 to address concerns about hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, and other safety issues. Twitter announced it was disbanding the group in an email canceling a scheduled Monday night meeting with council members. The email said Twitter was re-evaluating how to get outside advice as it "moves into a new phase," and "decided that the Trust and Safety Council is not the best structure to do this." Three council members last week resigned saying that "contrary to claims by Elon Musk, the safety and wellbeing of Twitter's users are on the decline."

3

Supreme Court upholds California ban on flavored tobacco products

The Supreme Court on Monday declined a request from cigarette maker R.J. Reynolds to block a California law banning flavored tobacco. The brief order, which provided no explanation and noted no dissents, cleared the way for the ban to take effect next week. R.J. Reynolds, which makes Newport menthol cigarettes, argued that the Tobacco Control Act of 2009 lets states regulate — but not ban — tobacco products. Several smaller tobacco companies had joined R.J. Reynolds in challenging the ban. State officials argued that the 2009 federal law was intended to preserve the states' traditional authority over tobacco regulations, including previous measures against flavored tobacco and e-cigarettes.

4

Stock futures rise ahead of inflation report, Fed meeting

U.S. stock futures edged higher early Tuesday ahead of November inflation data and the start of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up 0.5 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were up 0.6 percent. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect the November consumer price index report being released later Tuesday to show a monthly 0.3 percent increase in consumer prices, down from 0.4 percent in October, and a 7.3 percent annual inflation rate, down from October's 7.7 percent pace. Tuesday's inflation reading could influence the Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates at the end of its meeting on Wednesday.

5

 Musk relaunches Twitter Blue

Twitter on Monday relaunched Twitter Blue, a subscription service that lets users pay a monthly fee for accounts verified with the social media platform's coveted blue checkmark. Twitter had to pull the service a month ago due to a surge in "verified" accounts masquerading as brands or celebrities. The updated verification system, one of a series of changes Elon Musk has made since completing his $44 billion purchase of Twitter, will cost $8 per month for web subscribers and $11 per month for subscriptions purchased on iPhones and iPads. Musk has criticized Apple for the 30 percent commission it takes on in-app transactions, and apparently is passing on the fee to subscribers.

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