Tech: Facebook asks users to rank news outlets
Facebook has announced that it plans to rank news organizations by credibility “based on user feedback,” said Elizabeth Dwoskin and Hamza Shaban in The Washington Post. Facebook is not “comfortable” determining which news sources are most credible and trustworthy, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post, a stance likely driven by the harsh criticism the social network has endured for allowing fake news to spread on its platform. The new trust rankings, which will be based on ongoing customer surveys, will determine whether news sites are prioritized in the News Feed or demoted to reach fewer users.
Banking: Mulvaney shrinks consumer bureau’s scope
The acting head of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week called for more “humility” from the agency, said Alan Rappeport in The New York Times. Mick Mulvaney told staff they will no longer be allowed to “push the envelope” when it comes to jurisdiction and the scope of investigations, suggesting that companies would not be targeted without overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing. Last week, Mulvaney requested $0 from the Federal Reserve for the current quarter, saying he would rely instead on the agency’s reserve fund to pay for operations.
Trade: NAFTA renegotiations enter crucial phase
The penultimate round of renegotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement began this week in Montreal, with the 24-year-old trade pact “close to falling apart,” said Patrick Gillespie in CNN.com. With “no major progress” made in the first five rounds, “time is running out” before President Trump is likely to withdraw. “The No. 1 issue on the negotiating table involves how and where cars are manufactured in North America.” Also contentious: the “sunset phase,” with the U.S. demanding that NAFTA terminate every five years, a condition Mexico and Canada declare to be a “deal breaker.”
Finance: Bank of America withdraws free accounts
Bank of America announced this week it is eliminating its only free checking account that doesn’t require a minimum balance, “causing an uproar from customers,” said Samantha Bomkamp in the Chicago Tribune. The bank’s eBanking accounts have been free since 2010 as long as customers didn’t visit a bank teller or ask for paper statements. Account holders have been shifted into accounts that charge a $12 monthly fee unless they maintain a balance of $1,500 or receive at least $250 in monthly direct deposits. An online petition to reinstate the free accounts has garnered tens of thousands of signatures.