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Electric truck maker Nikola’s shares fall as SEC, DOJ reportedly examine short seller’s fraud claims

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Trevor Milton CEO of Nikola

Massimo Pinca | Reuters

Shares of electric truck maker Nikola tumbled Tuesday amid reports the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice are inquiring into short seller claims that the company misled investors.

Bloomberg news Monday night first reported that the SEC was looking into whether Nikola may have violated securities laws. The Financial Times followed Tuesday afternoon, reporting that the DOJ has called people to discuss the company and the report’s allegations in recent days.

There’s no guarantee that either agency will launch a full investigation, but the reports were enough to send Nikola shares on Tuesday down 8.3% to $32.83. The stock continued to fall during extended-hours trading. 

Short seller Hindenburg accused Nikola founder Trevor Milton of making false statements about its technology in order to grow the company and partner with auto companies.

The report, titled “Nikola: How to Parlay An Ocean of Lies Into a Partnership With the Largest Auto OEM in America,” was released two days after the company announced a deal with General Motors that sent both companies’ shares soaring. It characterized Nikola as an “intricate fraud built on dozens of lies” by Milton.

The SEC declined to comment Tuesday morning. Nikola, in a statement Monday, said it “proactively contacted and briefed” the agency last week regarding the report. Nikola said it “welcomes the SEC’s involvement in this matter.”

Nikola and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which is reportedly leading the DOJ inquiries, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The report was released two days after General Motors said it is taking an 11% stake in Nikola. GM said it planned to produce Nikola’s electric pickup truck, the Badger, by the end of 2022. GM CEO Mary Barra on Monday said the automaker conducted “appropriate diligence” on the company.

Hindenburg doubled down on its claims Tuesday after Nikola’s response Monday. The short seller said Nikola failed to address a majority of questions raised by the report, which characterized Nikola’s response as having “holes big enough to roll a truck through.”

Nikola has repeatedly denied and disputed the claims, however the company on Monday confirmed one of Hindenburg’s largest claims — that it staged a video showing a truck that appeared to be functional but wasn’t.

Nikola also did not respond to a request for comment on Hindenburg’s most recent remarks.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/15/nikolas-shares-fall-as-sec-reportedly-examines-short-sellers-fraud-claims.html

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Apple will produce Ridley Scott’s upcoming Napoleon biopic

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Joaquin Phoenix poses with his Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for “Joker” in the photo room during the 92nd Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 9, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
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Apple is determined to land more big-name movies as it grows its TV+ service. Deadline has learned that Apple will back and produce Kitbag, a Ridley Scott-directed movie starring Joaquin Phoenix of Joker fame as Napoleon Bonaparte. The movie will document the rapid rise of the French emperor through the lens of his wife Josephine, battles and all — expect a budget as epic as the plot.

You won’t see Kitbag for a while, as production isn’t slated to start until early 2022.

The title will add to a rapidly growing stable of Apple TV+ movies with major directors and stars. While it has only a handful of titles to show so far, such as Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks and Tom Hanks’ Greyhound, that selection is poised to grow rapidly. The Russo brothers’ Cherry arrives in March with Tom Holland in the main role, and Apple recently signed a deal to produce Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Kitbag only serves to grow that roster.

It’s a familiar strategy. Much like Netflix and Amazon, Apple is chasing after movies that will not only draw in many viewers, but ideally lead to awards that boost its prestige and help secure more blockbusters. There’s no guarantee Kitbag will accomplish this feat (Scott’s more recent movies have been mixed), but it may stand a better chance than most.

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Google’s Android and TV leads chat Samsung, RCS and CES

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Engadget chats with Google about Android and TV
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There’s been an onslaught of news this week from CES 2021 and Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked, and even though Google didn’t have major news of its own to share, its presence was still felt. In addition to joining us on our virtual stage for a panel with Microsoft on accessibility in tech, Google was also mentioned in other launches this week. Android chief Hiroshi Lockheimer made an appearance at Unpacked today, for example while Sony and TCL unveiled their first Google TV sets. Lockheimer and VP for Google TV Shalini Govil-Pai joined us today to discuss the news this week as well as the future of Android and Google TV. Get the details in the video above.

Follow all of the latest news from CES 2021 right here!

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Bumble disabled its politics filter after it was used to out Capitol rioters

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The Bumble app is seen on an iPhone on 16 March, 2017. The app is resembles Tindr in that it let's heterosexuals find each other however Bumble only lets female users start a conversation after interested parties have made a match. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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The dating app Bumble has disabled its politics filter after it was supposedly used to reveal the identities of Capitol rioters, Mashable has reported. Bumble support posted on Twitter that it “temporarily removed our politics filter to prevent misuse,” adding that it “prohibits any content that promotes terrorism or racial hatred.” Bumble has promised in another tweet that it will “be reinstated in the future.” It also stated that it has removed users confirmed as participants in the US Capitol attack.

After the Capitol riots, the FBI asked the public to help identify participants. That led amateur sleuths to pore through apps, including dating sites like Bumble. “There are DOZENS of men on DC dating apps right now who were clearly here for the insurrection attempt yesterday,” tweeted NextGen co-chair Alia Awadallah. “Some say it directly, others are obvious from MAGA clothing, location tags, etc.”

Another user, immigration attorney Allison Norris, replied. “I know a friend of a friend who changed her preference on Bumble to conservative,” she tweeted. “She’s matching with MAGA bros and they’re bragging and sending her pics and videos of them in the Capitol. She’s sending them to the FBI.”

While that statement hasn’t been confirmed by any means, a user quote-tweeted it and tagged Bumble. Shortly afterward, its Twitter support replied that it would remove the politics filter to curtail “misuse.” Bumble gave the following statement to Mashable:

Bumble prohibits content that encourages any illegal activity including terrorism and the incitement of violence. Additionally, the spreading of misinformation, such as the certified results of the U.S. Election, is prohibited.

On January 6, we immediately ensured that our hate speech scanning and protocols addressed the attack on the U.S. Capitol and began removing any insurrection-related content from our platform. If we see anything that would suggest someone has or is in the process of committing a potentially criminal act we will take appropriate steps with law enforcement. 

The company added that it would ban any AI-detected content promoting the insurrection, promising bans for repeat offenses or extreme content. Still, the idea of eliminating the politics filter didn’t go down well with everyone. “It looks like I broke Bumble? But I guess Bumble was already broken if it’s so quick to protect terrorists,” Norris tweeted in response.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Amazon built a customized Alexa assistant that’s coming to cars

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A screen in a Cadillac XT6 SUV displays Alexa on the infotainment system at the Amazon booth during the 2020 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 7, 2020. REUTERS/Steve Marcus
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Amazon is opening up its AI tech to automakers and other third-companies with a new product called Alexa Custom Assistant. It will allow brands to build their own custom intelligent assistants that “co-exist” with Alexa, according to Amazon. That will allow them to create unique wake words, voices and capabilities “to each company’s unique personality and customer needs,” the company wrote in a press release.

Alexa Custom Assistant will let customers use both Alexa and their own branded assistant to do something called “simultaneous multi-assistant cooperation. “This allows the brand’s assistant to act as the product specialist, while Alexa is still available to help with everyday needs,” Amazon wrote. All of that will supposedly help companies build voice experiences with reduced “cost, complexity and time to market.”

At CES 2021, Amazon revealed that it would bring its Alexa assistant to Lamborghini and Rivian vehicles, promising it would let you control climate control, windows and other basic car functions by voice, on top of regular functions like navigation and calls. That sounds similar to what Amazon is referring to here, with Alexa functions working on top of customized vehicle functions — though Amazon didn’t say those automakers would use the new product.

Amazon didn’t reveal the costs or other details about the Alexa Custom Assistant. However, it makes a lot of sense for Amazon to take all the AI tech it’s developed and market it to other brands. The company announced that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will be the first to integrate Custom Alexa Assistant.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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