All you need to know today
1. Wirecard is missing $2 billion, CEO resigns
Long story short, the German fintech giant is up to something. The company is reportedly missing $2 billion. The payments processor said that it couldn’t publish its financials for 2019, as auditors at EY couldn’t account for the $2 billion on the balance sheet.
Following that, it was announced that CEO Markus Braun had resigned “with immediate effect”.
There’s a long story behind Wirecard’s string of fraudulent claims and accusations.
The company processes electronic payments for merchants such as FedEx and Fitbit. It pursued some aggressive international expansion strategies, such as launching an Asia-Pacific subsidiary in Singapore and reaching into the US market through the acquisition of Citigroup’s prepaid card services division.
Stories began circulating last year about how Wirecard forged and backdated contracts at its Singapore office to inflate revenue.
Wirecard says that if it cannot produce audited financials this week, about 2 billion euros worth of loans could be terminated.
Now, to the news of the missing money, shares of Wirecard is down 46% last Friday, from Thursday’s 62% loss.
2. Facebook buys mapping app, Mapillary
Facebook has made another splurge. This time, it’s acquired Mapillary, a Swedish mapping startup that uses software to tell what is in photos taken at ground level.
The company then lets other map builders use this street-level data to improve their own maps.
Mapillary’s street-level data could help Facebook to bolster its map function against Google and Apple, by improving accuracy.
The terms of investment was not disclosed, but Mapillary has raised $24.5 million from investors over the last seven years from investors such as Sequoia and BMW iVentures.
Facebook is trying to ramp up its mapping efforts to compete with other big tech players. It is using a combination of machine learning, satellite imagery and partnerships with mapping communities to improve its maps.
With the acquisition, Mapillary’s users will still be able to continue uploading imagery and using the map data from images on the platform.
3. Details of China’s Security Law for Hong Kong released
This weekend, China released a blueprint of its National Security Law, the law that re-sparked a series of protests in Hong Kong last month.
Critics say the law threatens political and civil freedoms in Hong Kong and broadens Beijing’s direct control on the city.
According to the blueprint, Beijing would be able to override Hong Kong’s prized independent legal system and mainland officials will establish a national security office in Hong Kong, further eroding the city’s autonomy.
The draft is being reviewed by China’s top legislature.
And while Hong Kong courts will preside over national security criminal cases, mainland Chinese security organs will have the power to “exercise jurisdiction” that threatens national security over special circumstances.
The proposed legislation has been criticized by opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong, human rights groups and politicians worldwide.
If passed, China will have a significant power hold over Hong Kong in matters of the law.
4. Trump’s Tulsa rally was pranked by TikTok
The rising power of TikTok.Hundreds of teenage TikTok users and K-pop fans say they’re at least partially responsible for President Trump’s underwhelming rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Apparently, the campaign had fielded more than a million ticket requests, but reporters at the event noted the attendance was much lower than expected.
TikTok users and K-Pop fans claimed to have registered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets for Mr. Trump’s campaign rally as a prank. Thousands of other users posted similar tweets and videos to TikTok that racked up millions of views.
“It spread mostly through Alt TikTok, we kept it on the quiet side where people do pranks and a lot of activism,” said YouTuber Elijah Daniel.
“Trump has been actively trying to disenfranchise millions of Americans in so many ways, and to me, this was the protest I was able to perform,” said 18 year old Erin Hoffman to the New York Times.
We can imagine Trump is furious with Chinese owned TikTok now, the next possible target after Twitter.