tech sector
Facebook devoting $300 million to news

Facebook announced on Tuesday it will commit $300 million to journalism projects to help local outlets strengthen their newsgathering operations and build their readership and subscription models.

“We’re going to continue fighting fake news, misinformation, and low quality news on Facebook,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships, said in a company blog post. “But we also have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to help local news organizations grow and thrive.”

Among the funded initiatives are: a $20 million investment in a program to help local outlets design and execute subscription and membership models; a $5 million endowment to create a grant program with the Pulitzer Center for local multimedia reporting projects; and a $2 million investment in Report for America, an initiative to recruit and fund journalists to cover under-covered topics in local newsrooms across the country.

Facebook’s financial commitment comes a year after Google pledged the same dollar amount, over the same timeline, to combat misinformation and support journalism. Together, the two companies command about 58 percent of the digital ad market, steering massive amounts of ad dollars to their platforms.

The firms have also come under intense scrutiny over the role their platforms played in the spread of a Russian disinformation campaign during the 2016 presidential election and after.

“Supermac’s are delighted with their victory in the trademark application and in revoking the Big Mac trademark which had been in existence since 1996,” founder Pat McDonagh told Reuters in an email.

— Hamza Shaban

U.S. online holiday shopping hits record

U.S. shoppers spent a record $126 billion on online shopping during the 2018 holiday season, taking advantage of early discounts on and other websites and with more people using smartphones to place their orders, Adobe Analytics said Tuesday.

Adobe, which collects its data by measuring 80 percent of all online transactions from the top 100 U.S. Web retailers, said the amount was 16.5 percent higher than last year’s total.

Mobile platforms made up 51 percent of traffic to retail websites during the November-December period and were responsible for nearly a third of all online spending.

Online shoppers spent $3.7 billion on Thanksgiving and $6.2 billion on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, Adobe said. Cyber Monday — the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday — was the biggest U.S. online shopping day ever, with $7.9 billion spent, the report said.

Top-selling items online were L.O.L. Surprise & Fingerlings toys; Take-Two Interactive Software’s video game Red Dead Redemption 2; Nintendo’s Switch console; streaming devices; and Dell and Apple laptops, Adobe said.

— Reuters

Papa John's founder is allowed to see records

A Delaware judge has ruled that the embattled founder of the Papa John’s Pizza chain is entitled to corporate records that the company has refused to turn over to him.

John Schnatter sued Papa John’s International last year, claiming he needs the records to inform himself to fulfill his corporate duties and to ensure that other directors are doing the same.

The company argued that Schnatter, who was pressured to resign as chairman in July, wanted the records to further his own interests. The two sides eventually resolved disputes over 13 of 17 categories of documents.

The judge ruled Tuesday that the company failed to prove that Schnatter’s purpose for seeking to inspect the remaining four categories of documents was improper.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

U.S. wholesale prices fell last month, dragged down by a steep drop in gas costs, suggesting that inflation will remain tame in the coming months. The Labor Department said Tuesday that the producer price index — which tracks cost changes before they reach the consumer — fell 0.2 percent in December from November. The drop follows a small 0.1 percent increase in November. Wholesale prices rose 2.5 percent in December from a year earlier.

A patent lawsuit filed by Qualcomm against Apple was thrown out by a German court on Tuesday, a reversal for the U.S. chipmaker after it won a recent court ban on the sale of some iPhones in the country. The regional court in Mannheim dismissed the Qualcomm suit as groundless in an initial verbal decision, saying the patent in question was not violated by the installation of its chips in Apple's smartphones. Qualcomm, waging a worldwide patent battle with Apple, said it would appeal after winning a separate case before a court in Munich in December that enabled it to ban the sale of older iPhones in Germany.

— From news services

Coming today

10 a.m.: National Association of Home Builders releases housing market index for January.

2 p.m.: Federal Reserve releases “beige book.”

4 p.m.: Treasury releases international money flows data for November

Note: The Commerce Department will withhold releasing retail sales data and business inventories reports because of the government shutdown.

Earnings: Bank of America, CSX, Goldman Sachs.