Facebook VP Brian Boland, in charge of partnership data, resigns

Long-time Facebook Vice President Brian Boland announced last week that he will be leaving the social network to focus on his foundation.

Courtesy of Facebook

The Facebook vice president in charge of the partnership product marketing team resigned last week, a source familiar with the matter told CNBC. 

Brian Boland, vice president of partnerships, product marketing, operations, partner engineers and analytics, announced his resignation from the company last week on Workplace, the company’s internal social network. Boland posted a picture of his badge, a custom among Facebook employees when they leave the company. 

Facebook confirmed Boland’s departure to CNBC. Boland will continue in his day-to-day role until the end of September, and he will continue to help Facebook find a new leader for the partnerships organization until the end of the year, a spokeswoman for the company told CNBC. 

“Brian has had an incredible, 11-year track record of accomplishments at Facebook,” said Marne Levine, Facebook’s head of global partnerships, business development and corporate development, in a statement. Boland reported directly to Levine. “We’re so grateful for all he’s done for Global Partnerships, and Facebook. He will be missed and we wish him all the best in his new venture working on philanthropic initiatives that are near and dear to him.”

Following his departure, Boland plans to focus his efforts on The Delta Fund, a foundation he co-founded with his wife that is focused on addressing poverty alleviation and inequity.

One of Boland’s roles is overseeing partnership data, which includes advertising data the company and its partners share with each other and developers that tap into the company’s application programming interfaces, or APIs. In April 2018, Facebook imposed new limits on how apps could use information from some of its APIs as part of a tighter focus on user privacy following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a political consultancy used information about Facebook users that it had gained improperly, although that case did not involve Facebook APIs. 

Boland also served in a number of other roles during his time at the company, including the company’s product marketing division.

At one point, Boland was in charge of Facebook’s Audience Network, a tool that lets third-party software developers use Facebook’s data to target ads to users on their apps. Last week, Facebook announced that it expects an upcoming change in Apple’s iOS 14 to reduce revenue from Audience Network by as much as 50%. 

Boland is one of Facebook’s longest-tenured employees, having joined the company in 2009. Over that time, he has become a key insider, growing close with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg. Boland is also known for having high moral character, the source familiar said. 

Biden condemns Kenosha violence and rebuts Trump’s ‘law and order’ message

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday issued a stinging rebuke to President Donald Trump’s false accusations that the Democratic nominee is anti-law enforcement, or that he condones violence that has erupted in cities like Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Portland, Oregon. 

“Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is reelected?” said Biden, part of a broader argument he made that the president himself is a contributing factor to the unrest and racial strife that has roiled the nation this summer.

Property damage and clashes with police in several large cities have followed peaceful demonstrations opposing police brutality against Black people, which were triggered by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May. The latest police shooting of an unarmed Black man, Jacob Blake, occurred in Kenosha earlier this month, sparking protests and counterprotests there. 

“Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting, it’s lawlessness, plain and simple,” said Biden. “And those who do it should be prosecuted. Violence will not bring change. It will only bring destruction. It’s wrong in every way.”

Democratic presidential nominee former US Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at Mill 19 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, August 31, 2020.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

The speech was Biden’s most direct rebuttal so far of Trump’s and the GOP’s attacks last week during the virtual Republican National Convention. 

“Ask yourself, do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters?” Biden said, dismissing false claims like the one Trump made last week, when he said Biden was a “Trojan horse for socialism.” 

“I want a safe America. Safe from Covid. Safe from crime and looting, safe from racially-motivated violence, safe from bad cops. Let me be crystal clear. Safe from four more years of Donald Trump,” said Biden. “The simple truth is Donald Trump failed to protect America, so now he’s trying to scare America.” 

On Tuesday, Trump will travel to Kenosha, where he plans to meet with law enforcement. As of Monday afternoon, the president did not plan to meet with the family of Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back seven times by a police officer in front of his children.

Democrats have criticized Trump’s visit as a divisive stunt during a time when tensions between law enforcement and Kenosha’s Black community are especially raw. White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Monday that Trump was going partly to “visit hurting Americans,” but also for a more overtly political reason: “Highlighting that the federal government has done a lot in the way of using law and order to create peace,” she said.

Biden’s 30-minute formal speech, delivered on location in Pittsburgh, represents a concerted effort to shift the focus of the election back into a referendum on Trump, and on the president’s leadership of the country over the past 3½ years, especially during the past six months of the coronavirus pandemic.

Political strategists on both sides of the aisle have acknowledged that if November’s election is a referendum on Trump, then the president will have a very difficult time getting reelected. But if Trump can manage to shift the focus of the race to Biden, then the president’s odds improve. 

Biden, like Trump, is acutely aware of this dynamic. In Pittsburgh, he accused Trump of resorting to fear mongering because more traditional reelection pitches wouldn’t work in his favor.

“The simple truth is Donald Trump failed to protect America. So now, he’s trying to scare America,” said Biden.

“Since Donald Trump and Mike Pence can’t run on their record that has seen more American deaths to a virus than this nation suffered in every war since Korea combined. … Since they can’t run on their economy that has seen more people lose their jobs than at any time since the Great Depression. … Since they can’t run on the simple proposition of sending our children safely back to school. … And since they have no agenda or vision for a second term Trump and Pence are running on this: ‘You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.’ And what’s their proof? The violence you’re seeing in Donald Trump’s America.”

“These are not images from some imagined ‘Joe Biden’s America’ in the future,” Biden continued. “These are images from Donald Trump’s America today. He keeps telling you if only he was president it wouldn’t happen. He keeps telling us if he was president you would feel safe. Well – he is president. And it is happening. And you don’t.”

For Biden, there is a lot riding on whether or not his argument about safety resonates with voters. 

After leading Trump in polls by significant margins for more than a year, the presidential race appears to have tightened in the past several days. It’s a shift driven in part by Trump’s hammering of a “law and order” message that distorts both Biden’s positions and the nature of the social justice protests this summer.

But it also likely reflects public anxiety in the wake of two killings — the double homicide of two protesters in Kenosha allegedly by a 17-year-old vigilante, and the shooting of a man at a Trump support demonstration in Portland, Oregon.

While Biden has led Trump overall in nationwide polls, Trump polled 4 points better than Biden this month on the question of who voters trust most to deal with crime, 43-39, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Following Biden’s speech, the Trump campaign claimed that Biden had “failed to condemn the left-wing mobs burning, looting, and terrorizing American cities.”

Zoom (ZM) earnings Q2 2021

Eric Yuan, founder and chief executive officer of Zoom Video Communications Inc., center, celebrates during the company’s initial public offering at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York on April 18, 2019.

Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Zoom Video Communications shares rose as much as 6% in extended trading on Monday after the company reported fiscal second-quarter earnings that were better than analysts had expected and raised its full-year guidance significantly.

Here’s how the company did: 

  • Earnings: 92 cents per share, adjusted, vs. 45 cents per share as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.
  • Revenue: $663.5 million, vs. $500.5 million as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.

Revenue grew 355% on an annualized basis in the fiscal second quarter, which ended on July 31, and income neared $186 million, according to a statement. In the prior quarter Zoom’s revenue grew 169%.

People became more dependent on Zoom’s video-calling software for business, educational and personal use during the quarter, after the coronavirus pandemic led officials to direct people to stay home around the world, meaning that people could no longer meet in person as before. The company hired information security and diversity leaders, added Lt. Gen. Herbert Raymond “H.R.” McMaster to its board, announced plans for research and development centers in Phoenix and Pittsburgh, and said it acquired secure messaging start-up Keybase.

Zoom averaged 148.4 million monthly active users in the quarter, up 4,700% year over year, RBC analysts led by Alex Zukin wrote in a note distributed to clients on Aug. 17, citing data from app analytics start-up SensorTower. The analysts have the equivalent of a buy rating on Zoom stock.

Excluding the after-hours move, Zoom shares are up 369% since the beginning of the year, while the S&P 500 index is up about 9%. During Monday’s trading session Zoom stock increased almost 9%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 ended the day lower.

With respect to guidance, Zoom sees fiscal third-quarter earnings of 73 cents to 74 cents per share on an adjusted basis and $685 million to $690 million in revenue. Analysts polled by Refinitiv had been expecting adjusted earnings of 35 cents per share on $492.9 million in revenue.

Zoom raised its guidance for the full 2021 fiscal year. It called for $2.40 to $2.47 in adjusted earnings per share and $2.37 billion to $2.39 billion in revenue. Consensus among analysts polled by Refinitiv was $1.30 in adjusted earnings per share and $1.81 billion in revenue. Zoom’s prior full-year guidance was $1.21 to $1.29 in adjusted earnings per share on $1.78 billion to $1.80 billion in revenue.

Executives will discuss the results with analysts on a conference call starting at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

WATCH: Zoom Video, up 330% this year, could have more room to run, trader says

Amazon Prime Air drone delivery fleet gets FAA approval

Amazon received federal approval to operate its fleet of Prime Air delivery drones, the Federal Aviation Administration said Monday, a milestone that allows the company to expand unmanned package delivery.

The approval will give Amazon broad privileges to “safely and efficiently deliver packages to customers,” the agency said. The certification comes under Part 135 of FAA regulations, which gives Amazon the ability to carry property on small drones “beyond the visual line of sight” of the operator. 

Amazon said it will use the FAA’s certification to begin testing customer deliveries. The company said it went through rigorous training and submitted detailed evidence that its drone delivery operations are safe, including demonstrating the technology for FAA inspectors. 

“This certification is an important step forward for Prime Air and indicates the FAA’s confidence in Amazon’s operating and safety procedures for an autonomous drone delivery service that will one day deliver packages to our customers around the world,” David Carbon, vice president of Prime Air, said in a statement. “We will continue to develop and refine our technology to fully integrate delivery drones into the airspace, and work closely with the FAA and other regulators around the world to realize our vision of 30 minute delivery.”

Amazon added that while the Prime Air fleet isn’t ready to immediately deploy package deliveries at scale, it’s actively flying and testing the technology. 

The company has zeroed in on drone delivery as part of a push to get packages quicker to Prime members. Since last year, Amazon has also invested billions of dollars to transition from two to one-day delivery. 

Amazon began testing delivery drones in 2013, aiming to drop off packages at customers’ doorsteps in 30 minutes or less. In August 2019, the company submitted a petition for FAA approval of those plans. In its petition, Amazon said deliveries would occur in areas with low population density and packages would weigh 5 pounds or less.

The company debuted a new, electric delivery drone at its 2019 re:MARS conference that’s capable of carrying packages under 5 pounds to customers within a half-hour and can fly up to 15 miles. Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO of worldwide consumer, said at the time that the drone could be used by the company “within months” to deliver packages.

Amazon isn’t the only company seeking to expand commercial drone delivery. Last April, Alphabet-owned Wing became the first drone delivery company to receive FAA approval for commercial deliveries in the U.S. UPS last October won approval from the FAA to operate a fleet of drones as an airline. 

Correction: Updated headline to reflect the name of the drone service is Amazon Prime Air.

JC Penney lenders to make bid for department store in bankruptcy

An empty parking lot is seen outside a closed JC Penney Co. store in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, on Thursday, April 16, 2020.

Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Talks had been progressing with three potential bidders, including the mall owners Simon Property Group and Brookfield, to salvage the department store chain J.C. Penney — and possibly keep hundreds of stores open for business. 

But those discussions have since hit a “stalemate,” and time is running out to keep the company alive, according to the department store chain’s attorney. 

Penney’s top lenders, including H/2 Capital Partners, are now set to make a credit bid to own the retailer as a standalone company, attorney Joshua Sussberg of Kirkland & Ellis said during a Monday bankruptcy court hearing. He said the transaction should be completed within 30 days. 

“Our lenders are no longer going to be held hostage in negotiations with third parties,” Sussberg said. “While it is possible that one of the bidders comes back into the transaction, we can no longer stand idly by and allow for negotiating postures to stand in the way of 70,000 jobs and our vendor base.” 

He added that Penney is set to close a number of additional stores, as talks with bidders have fallen through. The department store chain last month announced it would be laying off roughly 1,000 employees, as it moved forward with shutting about 150 locations across the U.S. When it filed for bankruptcy, it was still operating about 860 stores. 

“Several locations that were on our original closing list but were removed … because of negotiations … will be closed promptly,” Sussberg said. 

Penney filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 15, weighed down by debt and battered by the coronavirus pandemic. 

At the end of July, Sussberg had said during a virtual hearing that Penney was moving forward with a sale set to be completed by this fall. A liquidation was “not in the cards,” he said at the time. 

The three bidders for Penney had included the private-equity firm Sycamore, a duo of Simon and Brookfield, and Saks Fifth Avenue owner Hudson’s Bay Co., according to a person familiar with these discussions. 

This story is developing. Please check back for updates. 

Former Trump advisor Michael Flynn loses appeal bid in criminal case

President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on June 24, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Alex Wroblewski | Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Monday overwhelmingly rejected a bid by Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s first national security advisor, to force the prompt dismissal of the criminal case in which he had been convicted of lying to FBI agents.

In an 8-2 ruling, the appeals court judges indicated that Flynn’s request was premature, since U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan of Washington had not even ruled on the dismissal bid yet.

The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit also said that Flynn had failed to show that he had a clear right to have a judge other than Sullivan handle his case.

The ruling sends the case back for consideration by Sullivan. 

Flynn had the appeals court asked the to compel Sullivan to sign off on a request by the Justice Department that he dimiss Flynn’s conviction after the judge did not promptly grant that request.

Flynn also asked that Sullivan be removed from the case, saying that he had overstepped his authority in asking for a lawyer unconnected to the case to argue to the judge against the Justice Department’s motion, and in allowing outside parties to weigh in on the matter,

Earlier this summer, a three-judge panel of the appeals court had ruled in Flynn’s favor, saying that the case had to be dismissed.

But Sullivan then asked that the entire line-up of judges on the appeals court rehear the case.

It agreed to do so. And in Monday’s decision, the court ruled in the judge’s favor, saying that he should have more time to weigh the question of whether to dismiss Flynn’s case.

Neither a lawyer for Flynn nor the Justice Department immediately responded to CNBC’s requests for comment on Monday’s ruling.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

Mail delays plague USPS as election approaches

The U.S. Postal Service is slowing down, based on an informal test by the NBC Owned Television Stations, NBCLX and Telemundo.

Reporters in a dozen cities mailed 155 letters on a single Friday in mid-August to measure the Postal Service’s on-time performance. Though half the letters reached their destinations within two business days, two weeks later a couple have yet to arrive.

The slowdown in mail service has big implications for the November presidential election when a record number of voters are expected to cast mail ballots.

The unscientific test underscores complaints about the Postal Service’s performance, complaints that were highlighted in recent congressional hearings.

We mailed 155 letters from a dozen cities nationwide on Aug. 14, sending about a third within the same region, another third in the same state and the remaining third to a different state.

The USPS said that in the three months that ended on June 30, 93 percent of local first-class mail arrived within two days. In our test, by comparison, 75 percent of local letters arrived within two days, and 90 percent arrived within three days.

The USPS said that 82.5 percent of mail traveling longer distances arrived within 3 to 5 days. In our test, 75 percent of interstate mail arrived within 3 days and 90 percent arrived within four days.

However, two of the 155 letters in our test, 1.3 percent, failed to arrive after a 12 business days.

The NBC stations plan to repeat the mail test in September and again in October.

Complaints about missing or delayed mail have become increasingly common since new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy took office in mid-June with a mandate to cut costs.

Postal Service documents released by the House Oversight Committee bear out the complaints of delayed mail. A PowerPoint presentation made for internal Postal Service use shows that the on-time performance record for presorted first-class mail – which for months had routinely approached 95 percent — plunged in early July to about 85 percent. 

In the Postal Service’s Eastern district, which encompasses most of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, another internal document released by Congress showed that on-time performance dropped in just three weeks from the low 90s down to 79 percent.

During testimony to the House Oversight Committee, DeJoy said there was a “temporary service decline, which should not have happened, (but) we are fixing this.”

He insisted that the Postal Service can reliably deliver mail ballots for the November election, calling it a “sacred duty” and “my number one priority.”

We reached out to the USPS, who referred us back to DeJoy’s testimony.

The coronavirus pandemic is expected to prompt a record surge in mail ballots this November. The New York Times has estimated that as many as 80 million mail ballots will be cast – more than twice as many as in 2016.

While all states allow voters to cast ballots by mail under some circumstances, this year a record nine states plan to conduct their elections mostly or exclusively by mail.

Oregon, Washington, Utah and Colorado have run their elections by mail for years. Because of the pandemic, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Vermont and the District of Columbia are, at least temporarily, joining the list.

Other states are loosening restrictions on voting by mail because of the pandemic.

President Trump has claimed without evidence that mail voting will be “substantially fraudulent.”

Millions will be casting ballots by mail for the first time. The latest CNBC/Change Research Poll, conducted August 21 – 23 found 33% of voters expect to vote-by-mail, but that’s down from 36% earlier this month.

One potential obstacle to the mail option: unforgiving deadlines.

In 28 states mail ballots are due on Election Day, Nov. 3, according to the political data site, fivethirtyeight.com. In a 29th state, Louisiana, they are due the day before. The remaining 21 states and the District of Columbia accept ballots with Election Day postmarks, provided they arrive by a date ranging from Nov. 4 (Texas) to Nov. 23 (Washington State).

The NBC mail test offers an implicit warning for people who plan to vote by mail in states with hard deadlines: Vote early or risk losing your vote.

If you mail your ballot on Friday, Oct. 31, allowing the Postal Service Saturday, Monday and Tuesday to work, the test shows there is a 10 percent chance your vote will not reach the election office on time. In states where the postmark is enough, that’s fine. In states where delivery is required by Election Day, your vote will not count.

Postal workers blame the delays on their new boss.

“Mail’s backing up,” said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union. “There’s some veteran postal workers, 35 years (on the job), who said they’ve never seen anything like this in their 35 years.

“There’s no question that the policies of reducing the hours of work of the workers, if the mail is there to be worked and you’re just arbitrarily reduced hours, then guess what? The mail doesn’t get work,” Dimondstein said.

In his testimony to Congress, DeJoy denied that he personally ordered steps such as halting overtime or removing collection boxes and sorting machines. He said he has suspended “these practices to remove any misperceptions about our commitment to delivering the nation’s election mail.”

He did have some advice for voters, however.

“Get your ballot early,” he said, “and please vote early.”