🏙️ Cities vs. delivery apps


September 20, 2021

The Hustle

Today’s rundown:

  • Cities vs. delivery apps: Why everyone’s suing each other.
  • The Facebook Files: A 5-part WSJ investigation makes Facebook look really bad.
  • Digits: The Immersive Van Gogh exhibit boom, and more wild numbers from around the web.

Let’s do it.

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The big idea
DoorDash car

Why delivery apps and cities are suing each other

DoorDash, Caviar, Grubhub, Seamless, Postmates, and Uber Eats are usually competitors, but they’re pals when it comes to suing NYC over a law meant to help restaurateurs.

The backstory:

In May 2020, New York City Council passed several measures to help restaurants struggling amid the pandemic.

Among them was a temporary cap on 3rd-party app fees.

The new rule:

  • Apps could charge no more than 15% on delivery orders and no more than 5% on marketing or other fees
  • Violators could face up to $1k in fines per day, per restaurant

As restaurants complained that the ~30% fees were too much at a time when customers were only getting takeout or delivery, cities including Los Angeles, DC, and Philadelphia passed similar measures.

But in August, NYC voted to make its cap permanent

The apps argue that the cap is “unconstitutional,” while Grubhub claims it only made 1% of total food sales as profit before the cap and 0% now.

City Council says the cap protects restaurants against “predatory” practices.

But wait, there’s more:

  • Grubhub and DoorDash are also suing San Francisco over its decision to make a 15% delivery cap permanent.
  • The city of Chicago is suing Grubhub and DoorDash, accusing the platforms of deceiving customers, drivers, and restaurants.
  • Last year, DoorDash agreed to pay $2.5m to settle a DC suit alleging that it misled customers about how much of their tips went to drivers.

So, what’s a diner to do? Experts say the best way to support your local faves is to order from them directly.

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SNIPPETS

Patio push: Outer, a D2C outdoor furniture brand, raised $50m amid a rise in outdoor renovations among American homeowners. #ecommerce-retail

Tesla’s driving record: Elon Musk announced Tesla will use its own data to determine which drivers can access the newest self-driving beta software. #clean-energy

Teaming up: Walmart and Ford partnered on an experiment to test self-driving deliveries. #emerging-tech

Dark web messenger: With a focus on privacy, Telegram has grown to 500m+ users, including many cybercriminals. #privacy

Banks get in on BNPL: Goldman Sachs acquired GreenSky for $2.2B, joining the recent BNPL bonanza. #fintech-cryptocurrency

GitHub has company: GitLab, a platform where developers share code and collaborate on projects, filed for an IPO. #big-tech

Facebook Cooked
Zuck

Zuck after reading the Facebook Files (Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

‘The Facebook Files’ is not good for Facebook

“The X-Files” was a ‘90s paranormal sci-fi TV show that often sent chills down viewers’ spines.

The Facebook Files is a 5-part investigation by The Wall Street Journal that is probably sending chills down the social network’s spine.

Based on leaked internal documents…

… WSJ concludes that “Facebook Inc. knows, in acute detail, that its platforms are riddled with flaws that cause harm.”

Per the findings, Facebook:

  • Allows VIP users exemptions from its standards (including allowing some to post content that can incite violence)
  • Knows that Instagram is bad for teen girls, causing body image issues among other problems
  • Has allowed its user base to get “angrier” all in the name of engagement
  • Knew human traffickers and drug cartels were abusing the platform, but didn’t adequately respond
  • Was unable to stop the spread of vaccine misinformation

Facebook says it’s working to fix the issues

But what’s concerning is that many of these documents were from years past. Has the situation gotten worse?

Facebook’s official response states the WSJ report contains “deliberate mischaracterizations” and confers “egregiously false motives” to its execs.

After a long hiatus, “The X-Files” series was briefly rebooted. Odds are that Zuck & Co. aren’t looking for another round of the Facebook Files.

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By the numbers

Digits: Van Gogh’s business boom, America’s melatonin craze, and more wild numbers

1) Before the pandemic, 7B+ business cards were printed annually. Vistaprint saw business card sales plummet 70% between mid-March and April of 2020 (they’ve recovered some but not to pre-pandemic levels).

2) Immersive Van Gogh exhibits — which cost ~$1m to set up — are booming. Lighthouse Immersive’s project has sold 3.2m tickets across 21 cities and is the largest buyer of Panasonic projectors worldwide.

3) Between 90k-230k birds crash into NYC skyscrapers each year. NYC Audubon is pushing skyscraper owners to turn down their lights at night, because the brightness attracts the birds.

4) In 2020, US spending on melatonin exploded 42.6%. One international study last year found 40% of people were sleeping worse than in pre-pandemic times.

5) GeoComply, a company used by sports betting apps to verify people are betting in legal locations, said it processed 58.2m transactions from Sept. 9-12, +126% from last year.

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AROUND THE WEB

📽️ On this day: In 1946, the 1st Cannes Film Festival was held. It was originally scheduled for 1939, but delayed several years due to WWII.

🦑 Wild story: While diving at night in the Mediterranean Sea, photographer Alexander Semenov captured incredible, otherworldly footage of underwater life.

😴 How to: What if you could sleep better to feel better? Here are some tips for forming good sleep habits to support emotional health.

🎨 That’s cool: The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam announced the discovery of a “new” Van Gogh drawing of a very tired man. The piece had been in a private collection since the early 1900s.

🍟 That’s interesting: Twitter found an abandoned McDonald’s on Adak, an Alaskan island, that hasn’t been touched since the ‘90s. Another tweeter claimed his parents used to own it, but left when Adak’s Navy base closed.

🐾 Haha: And now, here are 2 kittens reenacting “The Lion King.”

Meme of the day
delivery meme

Math (Source: Saying Images)

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