Recode Daily: Hop in for a self-driving spin around San Francisco with Recode

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Plus, BuzzFeed cuts 6 percent of its staff, how to use the redesigned Snapchat app, and meet the man who (briefly) deactivated Trump’s Twitter account.

We talk a lot about self-driving cars in this space — mostly about the deals and partnerships and infighting over the emerging technology. But what is it like to ride in one? Recode went for a spin in GM’s robot Cruise car through the twisty and congested streets of San Francisco to find out. Spoiler alert: The autonomous car still isn’t better at driving than you are. [Meghann Farnsworth / Recode]

BuzzFeed is laying off 100 employees after missing its 2017 revenue targets. Greg Coleman, who joined the company as president in 2014, is out, too, and BuzzFeed is looking for a COO to assume some of his duties. Read the memo to employees from BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti. [Peter Kafka / Recode]

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Meet the new Snapchat: Earlier this month, CEO Evan Spiegel said a redesign of the app was necessary after acknowledging that the app was too hard for many people to use. The key change in the slicker, simplified makeover: Snap is now splitting personal content from friends and content from professional media creators. Here’s our breakdown of how to use the new app, which rolls out globally in a few weeks; Spiegel himself explains it in this 60-second video. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]

Bitcoin “ought to be outlawed,” said the former chief economist of the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz, who also used the word “bubble” when he declared the run-up in bitcoin’s price to be unjustified and unsustainable After climbing more than 800 percent this year, the controversial controversial digital currency reached an all-time high of $11,000 yesterday before dropping 20 percent after volatile trading and reports of service outages and delays at some large online bitcoin exchanges, including the leading U.S. site, Coinbase. [Marc Hochstein / Coindesk]

We have a new unicorn: Medical technology company HeartFlow, which sells a product that helps doctors detect coronary artery disease, is now valued at $1.4 billion after a new $150 million financing round. [Theodore Schleifer / Recode]

“Today” show host Matt Lauer was fired by NBC News after complaints of sexual misconduct. “Prairie Home Companion” radio host Garrison Keillor was dropped by Minnesota Public Radio after allegations of improper behavior. And Android founder Andy Rubin has taken a leave of absence from his startup, Essential, after an investigation found that he had maintained an “inappropriate relationship” with a female subordinate who worked with him at Google. They join this ongoing list of high-profile men whose bad behavior has severely damaged their careers.

Top stories from Recode

An Uber lawyer says the ex-employee who made allegations about security practices was trying to extort the company.

However, Uber went on to pay the employee, Richard Jacobs, to be a consultant.

AT&T hinted at First Amendment issues in saying it’s not willing to sell CNN to acquire Time Warner.

The company’s leader, Randall Stephenson, said AT&T is still open to concessions — but ready to fight.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is swiping again at tech, Twitter and social media — this time for the spread of “harassment” and “vitriol.”

It comes a day after Pai essentially charged that web giants threatened speech online.

Arianna Huffington has raised another $30 million for Thrive Global at a $120 million valuation.

The “behavior change” startup will use the money to build out its digital platform and hire more engineers.

Refinery29 has hired a Facebook exec to help it compete against Facebook.

Sarah Personette, a former VP of marketing, will be the digital publisher’s new COO.

Andy Weir’s “The Martian” was a crowdfunding success story — but that model doesn’t work for everyone, he says.

On the latest episode of Recode Media, Weir said his new sci-fi novel, “Artemis,” already has a movie version in the works.

This is cool

Meet Bahtiyar Duysak, the man who deactivated President Trump’s Twitter account for 11 peaceful minutes in early November.

At the time, some Twitter users reacted with glee, nominating the then-unnamed contractor for a Nobel Peace Prize. Now living in his native Germany, Duysak talks about what happened during his last day at Twitter. [TechCrunch]




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