Amazon Closing 68 Retail Locations; Ford Splits EV Division from Gas; Google Blocks RT & Sputnik; Facebook & Instagram Demote Russian State-Owned Content

Amazon is closing all its brick and mortar Amazon Books stores, and also Amazon 4-Star and Amazon Pop-Up stores. There will be 68 total locations affected. CNBC reports that the company will try to find roles for employees elsewhere in the company. Employees who don’t opt to stay with Amazon will get severance. The physical stores have lagged notably compared to the online business. Even Whole Foods and Fresh stores had lower sales in 2021 than in 2018. So far, no closures are indicated for Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods, or for Amazon Go or Just Walk Out locations. 

Ford has announced that it is splitting into “two distinct, but strategically interdependent, auto businesses” called Ford Blue and Ford Model E. According to theverge.com, the company feels like this will give more of a start up urgency to the EV business, which will be run by Doug Field, who previously oversaw the Ford Model E and before that worked at Tesla and at Apple on their Project Titan self-driving vehicle. Ford President and CEO Jim Farley will be president of the Model E division, while Kumar Galhotra will head up Ford Blue. Ford is saying they will stick with the franchised dealer model in North America, but will have dealers ‘opt in’ to a new setup with a ‘reworked, standardized customer experience and transparent pricing.’ 

Google has followed Apple in blocking mobile apps connected to RT and Sputnik from the Play Store. Apple moved to delete the apps from the App Store yesterday. Reuters.com says Google had already removed Russian state publishers from its news related features. A number of tech companies have limited distribution and advertising tools to Russian news outlets in recent days as the European Commission readies a ban on them out of concern that they are spreading misinformation about the war in Ukraine.

Facebook and Instagram are de-emphasizing content from Russian State-Controlled media. Cnet.com notes that the Meta owned platforms have been under pressure to take steps against Russian disinformation and propaganda since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The social media giant said it will also make content from those outlets tougher to find and demote posts globally that contain links to Russian-state controlled media on Facebook. Over the next few days, Facebook will label links and provide more information to people before they share them. The label says “This link is from a publisher Facebook believes may be partially or wholly under the editorial control of the Russian government.”



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