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Zuck’s Yucks, Apple Shares, China Compromise: CEO Daily for May 1, 2019

Good morning.

I used to think there were some basic commandments of crisis communication that were well understood in the business community. But recent events have proven me wrong. Among the ruptured rules :

When you screw up, fess up. (See McKinsey’s tortured response to a report it held a party a few miles from where Uighurs were interned in China).

When you have a problem, make sure you address it before everyone else does (Re: Boeing’s three-day delay in responding to the second 737 Max crash).

And now this one:

When you are being accused of violating people’s privacy rights, and you have played a significant role in efforts to undermine democracy, don’t make jokes about it.

That’s what Mark Zuckerberg did yesterday at the Facebook developer conference, as part of his attempt to explain the company’s “pivot to privacy.” You can see his comments here. You won’t hear any laughs.

Seems everyone needs a refresher course.

More on the Facebook conference here. Other news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@fortune.com

Top News

Apple Shares

Apple’s share price rose around 5% in after-hours trading, following a quarterly report that beat analyst expectations on dividends. Apple’s guidance for its June quarter sales also came in above consensus. However, the results also showed Apple’s first back-to-back drop in quarterly sales and profit—iPhone revenues were down 17%. Wall Street Journal

China Compromise

President Donald Trump has reportedly dropped the U.S.’s demand that China end commercial “cyber theft” activities, in order to seal the U.S.-China trade deal. “A lot of issues are being jettisoned from this negotiation because President Trump wants a deal,” a source told the Financial Times, which said the U.S. was likely to go with a watered-down commitment from China on the theft issue. Looks like a major win for Beijing if that’s the case, though the issue did seem genuinely intractable—the U.S. wanted China to promise to stop doing something it said it wasn’t doing anyway. Financial Times

Facebook Changes

Apart from discovering that others don’t find Facebook’s abysmal privacy record as hilarious as he does, Mark Zuckerberg used yesterday’s speech to unveil changes to a bunch of Facebook products. Facebook Messenger is now encrypted by default, Instagram is trialling a “private like counts” feature, WhatsApp’s Indian secure payments feature will expand elsewhere this year—and the Facebook app will lose its distinctive blue branding. BBC

Musk Dissent

SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson was not pleased with the deal that lets Elon Musk off the hook for breaking an agreement over the vetting of what he says on Twitter. “Given Mr. Musk’s conduct, I cannot support a settlement in which he does not admit what is crystal clear to anyone who has followed this bizarre series of events,” Jackson said. “Musk breached the agreement he made last year with the Commission—and with American investors.” Reuters

Around the Water Cooler

Venezuela Uprising

Protests erupted yesterday against the government of Nicolas Maduro, and opposition-leader-slash-self-proclaimed-president Juan Guaidó claimed Maduro had lost control of his armed forces. However, there’s little indication that the army is behind Guaidó now, and Maduro is claiming he thwarted an attempted coup—a characterization the U.S. has denied. CNBC

Mueller Complaint

Special counsel Robert Mueller was not happy with how Attorney General William Barr characterized his Trump report in that initial four-page summary, which failed to mention how strong the evidence was that the president obstructed justice. Mueller wrote Barr in a letter that the memo “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of his report. Washington Post

Huawei’s “Backdoor”

Vodafone has hit back hard against the Bloomberg piece we mentioned yesterday, which said the telecoms firm found backdoors in the Huawei equipment it was using eight to 10 years ago. The “backdoors” were actually routine mechanisms for diagnostic testing during installation and, while Vodafone made Huawei take them out, they did not risk giving Huawei “unauthorized access to the carrier’s fixed-line network in Italy.” The Register

Biometric Database

The EU is about to create one of the world’s largest biometric databases by consolidating biometric data that covers asylum seekers, foreign visitors, criminals and missing people. That means visitors from the U.S. will need to submit to a biometrics check before leaving. Technologists and privacy advocates are worried about the potential for hacks or leaks. Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer. Find previous editions here, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters here.