The daily business briefing: October 8, 2020

1. Facebook said Wednesday that it would block all political ads through Election Day as it steps up efforts to avoid being used to spread disinformation to influence the vote. “[W]hile ads are an important way to express voice, we plan to temporarily stop running all social issue, electoral, or […]

1.

Facebook said Wednesday that it would block all political ads through Election Day as it steps up efforts to avoid being used to spread disinformation to influence the vote. “[W]hile ads are an important way to express voice, we plan to temporarily stop running all social issue, electoral, or political ads in the U.S. … to reduce opportunities for confusion or abuse,” Guy Rosen, the company’s vice president of integrity, said in a blog post. The move marked a shift from Facebook’s traditional resistance to policing political ads. Last month, the social network said it would block new ads in the campaign’s final week, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg said no other changes were planned despite rising warnings that Facebook was being used to influence the election with disinformation. [Politico]

2.

Ruby Tuesday on Wednesday became the latest food chain to file for bankruptcy protection after forced shutdowns and declining restaurant traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Tennessee-based casual dining chain was already struggling against competition from a growing crowd of rivals. Ruby Tuesday CEO Shawn Lederman told the court that the company, which has 236 dining rooms that are open with restrictions, does “not intend to reopen 185 of their restaurants that were closed during the pandemic.” Lederman also said the company was battling falling mall traffic and the rising popularity of meal kits and other food delivery services. Other casual sit-down restaurants that have sought bankruptcy protection this year include Chuck E. Cheese, Sizzler, and California Pizza Kitchen. [NPR]

3.

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that President Trump’s accountant must hand over his tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors. The decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan will send the matter the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in July that that sitting presidents are not immune from state prosecution. Trump’s lawyers argued that District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s subpoena for Trump’s financial records was too broad, and politically motivated. Vance’s team is looking into alleged hush-money payments during the 2016 campaign to two women — actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal — who said they had extramarital affairs with Trump. Prosecutors said they needed the records to investigate reports of “extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.” [The Associated Press]

4.

U.S. stock index futures rose early Thursday, adding to Wednesday’s big gains as investors continued to look for signs of progress toward possible new coronavirus relief. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq were up by 0.4 percent or more several hours before the opening bell. All three of the main U.S. indexes gained nearly 2 percent on Wednesday on talk of White House support for aid to airlines and coronavirus stimulus checks to American households. It was the Dow’s best day since July. A day earlier, stocks dropped sharply after President Trump told his administration to halt coronavirus-relief negotiations with Democrats until after the Nov. 3 election. [CNBC]

5.

Six current and former chicken-industry executives have been indicted for alleged price fixing, according to court papers made public Wednesday. The executives worked at six different companies, and include former Pilgrim’s Pride CEO Bill Lovette, who retired last year. The new charges, which covered alleged activity from 2012 to early 2019, bring the total number of industry officials facing prosecution to 10. Four senior poultry industry leaders were indicted on similar charges in June. Jayson Penn, who was then chief executive of Pilgrim’s Pride, was among the executives charged in June. Prosecutors said Pilgrim’s Pride, the nation’s No. 2 chicken supplier by sales, exchanged pricing information with smaller rival Claxton Poultry Farms during bidding for the business of major restaurant chains. [The Wall Street Journal]

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