The daily business briefing: July 5, 2023

Judge limits White House comms with social media companies, Meta prepares to release Threads, and more

Screengrab of Meta's Threads app.
(Image credit: Bloomberg / Contributor)

1. Judge limits how Biden officials can communicate with social media companies

In response to a lawsuit filed by the Republican attorneys general of Louisiana and Missouri, a federal judge on Tuesday severely limited how U.S. government officials can meet and communicate with social media companies. The attorneys general claimed that officials from Biden administration agencies encouraged the social media companies to crack down on misinformation related to Covid-19 and elections, which amounted to "the most egregious violations of the First Amendment in the history of the United States of America." Judge Terry A. Doughty, a Trump appointee, wrote in the injunction that the attorneys general "have produced evidence of a massive effort by defendants, from the White House to federal agencies, to suppress speech based on its content." Doughty has not made a final ruling in the case, and his order allows for communications regarding national security threats and criminal activity.

The Washington Post

2. Meta set to release Twitter-like app Threads on July 6

Meta is expected to unveil Threads, its alternative to Twitter, on Thursday, with the new social media app available for pre-order in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. This is Instagram's "text-based conversation app," Meta said, where users can "follow and connect directly with your favorite content creators and others who love the same things." Images from the App Store show that users will be able to like, reply and repost stories, and can also keep their Instagram usernames. As Threads prepares to launch, its rival Twitter continues to make major changes to the platform, including limiting the number of tweets users can see and forcing people to sign in to view tweets.

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CBS News

3. Sales of new cars remain high despite economic pressures

The U.S. auto industry is defying expectations as new-car sales continue to rise despite high interest rates and inflation, The Wall Street Journal reported. "American car shoppers have been flocking to dealerships" in the first half of 2023, the Journal said, and the industry is expected to report a rise of up to 14% in new vehicle sales. The high numbers are due in part to pent-up demand triggered by vehicle shortages over the last few years. "Sales are bouncing back faster than many analysts had expected," the Journal said. The average price for a new car was $46,000 in June, a near-record high. Demand is expected to fall later this year.

The Wall Street Journal

4. Stock futures fall after weak China data sparks concerns

U.S. stock futures were down early Wednesday ahead of a return to trading after the Independence Day holiday. Futures tied to the S&P 500 were down 0.5% while Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.6% and Dow futures slid 0.4%. Fresh data showed China's services sector grew slower than expected, sparking concerns about "the global economy powering down" amid tepid post-pandemic recovery, Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, told MarketWatch. Investors are awaiting minutes from the Fed's June policy meeting, which could provide clues about looming interest rate hikes.

MarketWatch The Wall Street Journal

5. UPS, Teamsters talks hit hiccup as strike looms

UPS and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are at odds after hitting what appears to be a roadblock in labor negotiations necessary to avoid a damaging strike. The Teamsters said Wednesday that UPS walked away from talks after the union rejected an allegedly unacceptable offer. But UPS claimed that it remains at the bargaining table and is encouraging continued discussion after Teamsters halted negotiations. "We have nearly a month left to negotiate," UPS said. "We have not walked away, and the union has a responsibility to remain at the table." The roughly 340,000 UPS workers represented by the union have said that without a new deal, they will not work past the expiration of their current contract, which ends July 31. The union-represented staffers also already voted last month to authorize a strike if a new agreement is not reached.

The Wall Street Journal Reuters

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