The daily business briefing: October 25, 2023

Dozens of states accuse Meta of making social media addictive, the UAW expands its strike to GM's biggest plant, and more

Teenagers addicted to social media
Teenagers addicted to social media
(Image credit: The Good Brigade / Getty Images)

1. States sue Meta, saying its sites harm kids

Dozens of state attorneys general on Tuesday sued Meta, parent of Facebook and Instagram, accusing the social media powerhouse of harming young users with addictive features, including frequent notifications and infinite news feeds. The lawsuit accuses the company of contributing to a national mental health crisis. "Meta has profited from children's pain by intentionally designing its platforms with manipulative features that make children addicted to their platforms while lowering their self-esteem," said New York Attorney General Letitia James. Meta said it was "disappointed" the officials sued instead of "working productively" with the company, saying it shared "the attorneys generals' commitment to providing teens with safe, positive experiences online." CNN

2. UAW expands strike to GM's biggest plant

The United Auto Workers union on Tuesday expanded its unprecedented strike against all three of Detroit's big automakers, with 5,000 union members walking out at General Motors' biggest plant. GM's Arlington assembly plant in Texas makes the Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade, big SUVs that are some of GM's most profitable models. GM said it was "disappointed by the escalation of this unnecessary and irresponsible strike," saying it had just made a "comprehensive" new offer increasing the total value of its proposed agreement by 25%. A day earlier, union members walked out at a Michigan factory the UAW called the "largest plant and biggest moneymaker" for Chrysler's Stellantis. Bloomberg

3. Alphabet cloud division falls short of expectations

Alphabet's cloud division on Tuesday reported that the third quarter was its slowest in nearly three years. Google's parent company beat analysts' expectations for profit and sales, but the cloud slowdown dragged down Alphabet's stock by about 6% in overnight trading. Software giant Microsoft reported that its cloud business had a strong quarter. Microsoft said revenue at its Intelligent Cloud unit, which includes its Azure cloud computing platform, grew to $24.3 billion, surpassing Wall Street estimates of $23.49 billion, according to LSEG data. Azure revenue was up 29%, beating market research firm Visible Alpha's growth estimate of 26.2%. Microsoft shares were up 3.5%. Reuters

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4. IEA says fossil fuel demand to peak in 2030

Global oil, gas and coal demand will peak by 2030 as countries shift to cleaner energy sources and China's economic growth slows, the International Energy Agency forecast in its annual World Energy Outlook report, released Tuesday. "The transition to clean energy is happening worldwide and it's unstoppable," said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. "It's not a question of 'if', it's just a matter of 'how soon' — and the sooner the better for all of us." The IEA's forecast, Reuters noted, conflicted with the view of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which says oil demand will keep rising beyond 2030, justifying massive investment in new production projects. Reuters

5. Stocks fluctuate as earnings reports pour in

The three major stock indexes rose on Tuesday as several big companies, including Coca-Cola, General Electric and 3M, boosted their 2023 outlooks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 gained 0.6% and 0.7%, respectively. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 0.9%. Stock futures struggled early Wednesday. Dow futures were up 0.1% while those tied to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were down 0.3% and 0.6%, respectively, at 7 a.m. ET. More major companies report third quarter earnings Wednesday, including IBM and Meta in the afternoon. About a quarter of S&P 500 companies have reported results so far, with 78% of them beating expectations. The Wall Street Journal, CNBC

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