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FAANG Report: Apple throws privacy 'shade' at rivals; Amazon hit for anti-union video at Whole Foods

Facebook shows off election 'war room' to fight election manipulation; Google introduces privacy tweak on Chrome after privacy gripes; and Netflix subscriber growth expanding at incredible pace
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Apple updates privacy standards, in apparent dig at Facebook and Google.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) has thrown shade at fellow tech giants Facebook and Google, under fire over privacy gaffes, by updating its privacy website that includes the ability to delete your Apple account in the US, a report by Business Insider said.

Part of the website focuses on Apple's privacy features and the ways it limits the data it collects. The other part focuses on how a user can limit the data that's collected about him or her, including a new portal for downloading your personal data and deleting your Apple account, the report said.

"We believe privacy is a human right," it starts, echoing language that Cook has made in public speeches. The Apple CEO will give a speech at a European privacy conference next week, where he will likely use that phrasing or something similar again, it added.

Apple shares fell 1.6% to $217.65 by midsession on Thursday.

READ: Alphabet's Google hit by data breach and did not report it over regulation fears

Alphabet Inc's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Chrome 70 browser has a new setting added so that users can prevent Chrome from assuming you want to be signed into the browser itself just because you sign into one of Google's web apps in a nod to privacy concerns, a report by Forbes said.

The privacy tweak is apparently in response to an outcry by users who would not want another account connection to Google. When Chrome 69 started signing in users without prompting them, the outcry was swift and loud.

Google notes that even if you do sign in to the Chrome browser that it won't sync your data automatically, the report said. Sync is a process that you have to choose to enable. Chrome may prompt you to do that from time to time, but it's always your choice. It's a choice you can undo later, too, by turning sync off in your settings, it added.

Google shares dropped 2.1% to $1,091.99.

US Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren demanded that Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos provide information over a video sent to Whole Foods employees warning them against joining a union and urging supervisors to report efforst among workers to unionize, a report by The Hill said.

The two lawmakers said in a letter to Bezos the video could have violated labor laws if employees were warned that stores could close as a result of unionization. Whole Foods is owned by Amazon.

"The video reportedly tells supervisors, 'you might need to talk about how having a union could hurt innovation which could hurt customer obsession which could ultimately threaten the building's continued existence,'" the two senators wrote in describing the contents of the video.

"It is unclear how this statement could be reasonably interpreted as anything other than a threat that an employee's workplace may close if he or she supports a union or engages in union activity," Warren and Sanders said, noting that such a statement would be a clear violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). 

The letter requests information from Bezos on the contents of the video no later than November 1.

Amazon shares retreated 1.95% $1,769.01.

READ: Amazon raises minimum wage to $15 per hour as CEO Jeff Bezos admits critics of its pay scale were right

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has set up a 'war room' by assembling teams from across the company to help identify and stop attempts to manipulate elections, including the US mid-terms on November 6, a report by CNBC said.

All members of the Facebook universe - WhatsApp, Instagram, operations, software engineering, data science, research operations, legal, policy, communications - were all represented in the room.

This demonstration of Facebook's internal efforts comes after a long string of security breaches and privacy hacks, going back to Russian manipulation of the 2016 presidential elections.

Since the revelation of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal in March, Facebook shares have fallen 14%. Now, the social-media giant is pulling out all the stops to prevent another debacle and more negative headlines, the report said.

Facebook stock lost 2.64% to $155.21.

Barclays estimated that streaming giant Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) is on pace to add 27.4 millon global subscribers this year, a report by CNBC said. 

Netflix has nearly matched last year's total subscribers added in three fewer months, Barclays noted, putting the online streaming service on track to set a new record this year.

"Any doubt about [Netflix's] momentum should be assuaged given the guide," Barclays said in the report.

The company forecast it will add 9.4 million net subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2018. "We're getting a little better on the forecasting," CEO Reed Hastings said after the earnings report.

Netflix stock came off by 3.59% to $351.59.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on [email protected]

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