Good morning. We held our annual DealBook “Playing for the Long Term” conference yesterday, featuring some of the biggest newsmakers in business and policy. Thanks to everyone who attended. Here’s what stood out to NYT reporters at the event, along with our regular Speed Read news roundup. (Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here.)
Airbnb vows to verify all of its listings
Airbnb will conduct a comprehensive review of every property listed on its platform as part of a series of initiatives to improve trust, Brian Chesky, the company’s C.E.O., announced at the DealBook Conference yesterday.
“We want to give peace of mind to our guests,” Mr. Chesky said. The pledge comes less than a week after five people were killed at a party in an Airbnb rental house in Northern California on Oct. 31.
He didn’t describe exactly how the verification would work, perhaps because it’s such a gargantuan task, but said Airbnb would “be coming back with more details.” He said that the company would also conduct rigorous reviews of “high-risk” reservations, open a hotline for concerned neighbors and put in place new guarantees for dissatisfied customers.
Mr. Chesky reflected on the increasing responsibility held by internet companies. “We have to take more responsibility for the stuff on our platform,” he said. “This has been a gradual, maybe too gradual, transition for our industry.”
Asked about the company’s potential I.P.O. next year, and whether it might instead opt for a direct listing as Spotify and Slack did, Mr. Chesky was noncommittal. “I certainly don’t have any news to make,” he said. But, he added, “we also don’t need to raise new money.”
— David Yaffe-Bellany
Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jamie Condliffe and Gregory Schmidt.
Let the streaming wars begin
Reed Hastings, the C.E.O. of Netflix, was clear at the conference about many of the things that his company will not do:
• Show ads, as Hulu does.
• Make games like Fortnite.
• Create short-form content, as Quibi does.
• Produce news.
• Show sports.
But on streaming movies and TV, huge competition is brewing, from the likes of Amazon, Hulu and YouTube as well as new rivals like Apple TV Plus (started last week), Disney Plus (next week) and HBO Max (early next year).
“The tricky thing in this streaming war is Apple and Disney are not going to break out revenue,” he said. Unlike Netflix, both Apple and Disney own several businesses, and sales figures for streaming will be mixed in with other divisions.
“The real measurement will be time,” Mr. Hastings said. “How do consumers vote with their evenings?”
— Edmund Lee
Kim Kardashian West reflects on her influence
Kim Kardashian West, with Kris Jenner onstage and Kanye West in the audience, discussed social media, her influential empire and how her clout could help prison reform.
She likes the idea of removing “likes” from Instagram.“Taking the likes away and taking that aspect away from it would be really beneficial for people,” she said.
Ms. Kardashian West is focused on prison reform. “There’s a lot that we have to get done in prison reform, and I believe I will be more beneficial if I just focus on that at the moment,” she said.
She says business partnerships can advance her activism. “If I have a paid post that comes in and I think, ‘O.K., well this can fund x amount of people that are behind bars, that can help free them with simple legal fees that they just can’t afford,’ then that would be worth it to me, even if the post might be a little bit off-brand for me.”
She said she dismissed advice from people who said she should not meet with President Trump to discuss prison reform. “I would go see anyone in power that would have that decision to change someone’s life,” she said.
— The Styles Desk
Boeing’s C.E.O. ‘thought about’ resigning
Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s C.E.O., said he had considered stepping down in the wake of two fatal accidents involving the company’s 737 Max jets.
“I’ve thought about it,” Mr. Muilenburg said at the conference during a discussion about how he had handled the fallout from the crashes, which killed 346 people. Mr. Muilenburg said he had decided to remain in his position because he felt responsible for getting the company through the crisis.
“I don’t see running away from a challenge, resigning, as a solution,” he said. “These two accidents, they happened on my watch on Boeing. And I feel obligated, I feel responsible to stay on.”
— Natalie Kitroeff
‘Twitter got it right’ on political ads
Hillary Clinton thinks Facebook made the wrong call by allowing paid political advertisements, including those that contain false information, on its platform.
“It’s very difficult for the average person to make sense of” the proliferation of misleading political advertising online, Ms. Clinton said at the conference. She said it was “a real threat to our democracy.”
“Twitter made the right decision to say, ‘We don’t want to get into the judging game,’” she said. “That should be the decision that Facebook makes as well.” (The WSJ reported yesterday that Google was considering making changes to its own ad policy.)
Bill Gates is ‘all for super progressive tax systems’
The Microsoft founder and philanthropist is not persuaded by Senator Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax, which includes a proposal to aggressively tax billionaires, he said yesterday.
“I don’t know how open-minded she is or if she’d even be willing to sit down with somebody who has large amounts of money,” he said. He added that he was “all for super progressive tax systems,” but he said that aggressive taxation could risk innovation and capital formation.
On his meetings with Jeffrey Epstein, Mr. Gates said he had “made a mistake in judgment.” “I thought those discussions would lead to billions of dollars going to global health,” he said. “It turns out that was a mirage, and I gave him some benefit by association.”
— Sophia June
A defense of Facebook’s cryptocurrency
David Marcus, who leads the company’s Libra cryptocurrency project, said he knew there would be an enormous amount of backlash to Libra, Facebook’s cryptocurrency announced earlier this year. In hindsight, he said he would have done things differently in announcing the initiative.
Mr. Marcus said he would have stayed away from any intimation that Libra was a “new currency.”
Instead, he would have underlined the idea that creating new financial infrastructure would help people, especially those in developing countries. “The way I think about it is as a responsibility, we have to innovate” on behalf of those underserved communities, Mr. Marcus said.
But Libra has faced heavy criticism from regulators and central bankers. Facebook initially had 27 partners that it hoped would help give the cryptocurrency legitimacy, but seven have pulled out.
— Davey Alba
The speed read
• Xerox reportedly made a $33 billion cash-and-stock offer for the computer maker HP. (Reuters)
• Some of China’s state-owned entities are reportedly discussing a potential investment of $5 billion to $10 billion in Aramco’s I.P.O. (Bloomberg)
• Masa Son of SoftBank acknowledged poor judgment over WeWork and its founder, Adam Neumann. “I shut my eyes to a lot of his negative aspects,” Mr. Son said. (WSJ)
Trump impeachment inquiry
• House Democrats will begin convening public hearings next week, calling three marquee witnesses to begin making a case for President Trump’s impeachment. (NYT)
• Mr. Trump reportedly asked William Barr, the attorney general, to hold a news conference stating that no laws were broken in his call with Ukraine’s president. Mr. Barr declined. (NYT)
• William Taylor, the top American diplomat in Ukraine, identified Rudy Giuliani as the instigator behind the Ukraine pressure campaign. (NYT)
Politics and policy
• How the president and his supporters, including his family, have used Twitter to attack his Democratic inquisitors and try to undermine public officials. (NYT)
• Lawmakers are calling for investigations into the misuse of opportunity zones, the tax incentives created to encourage investors to pump money into the nation’s poorest neighborhoods. (NYT)
• Jeff Sessions, President Trump’s former attorney general, plans to announce today that he will enter the 2020 Alabama Senate race to try to reclaim his old seat. (NYT)
• Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party, announced that he was quitting politics. He has often tussled with the party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, over Brexit. (FT)
• Pimco is pulling back on British government debt over concerns about borrowing promises made by the major political parties in the election campaign. (FT)
• Two former Twitter employees have been charged by the Justice Department with spying for Saudi Arabia, raising questions about the security of technology companies. (NYT)
• California’s attorney general is suing Facebook over accusations that the company failed to cooperate with his inquiry by ignoring requests for documents and internal correspondence about the handling of personal data. (NYT)
• Alphabet’s board is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct and inappropriate relationships by current and former executives. (NYT)
• Bob Iger, the Disney C.E.O., said his big bet on streaming felt “absolutely vital.” (Bloomberg Businessweek)
• China announced that it was already preparing to develop 6G wireless networks. (Quartz)
Best of the rest
• Federal prosecutors charged Joe Ashton, a former vice president of the United Automobile Workers union, with conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering. (WSJ)
• Sandra Bullock and Ellen DeGeneres are suing over false advertising and the unauthorized use of their names and likenesses to endorse products. (NYT)
• The New York Times Company added 273,000 new online subscribers in the third quarter, and its advertising revenue fell 6.7 percent. (NYT)
• After years of providing financial support to keep the economy humming, China is building a bankruptcy system to take on corporate defaults. (WSJ)
• The percentage of women enrolled in full-time M.B.A. programs is increasing as business schools become more savvy about recruiting. (WSJ)
• How to plan for a more secure retirement. (NYT)
Thanks for reading! We’ll see you tomorrow.
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