Breakfast Briefing, 9.21.2017: Say goodbye to brand advocates in Whole Foods

Plus: The news gets worse on the Equifax data breach, and Facebook promises to do better on ad targeting.

Amazon plots big changes for Whole Foods. New corporate parent Amazon will no longer allow brand advocates to promote their products or check on placement in Whole Foods stores as of next April, according to The Wall Street Journal. The decision is part of the retail giant’s push to make the grocery chain more like a conventional market, according to the newspaper.

The Equifax hack gets worse. Hackers were navigating Equifax’s databases as early as March, two months earlier than the company publicly acknowledged, according to the Journal. Intruders’ first interaction with the company’s data took place on March 10, according to a note to customers from an IT security firm hired by Equifax. Plus: Why the U.S. was wide open to a disaster like Equifax, via CNBC. And if cybersecurity isn’t already keeping you up at night, the SEC said hackers may have traded stock using stolen information, according to Reuters.

Some good news and more bad news for President Trump. First the good news: Though still at a record low for this point in a first-term presidency, President Donald Trump’s approval numbers have ticked up slightly, according to The Hill. Now for the bad news: Special Counsel Robert Mueller has requested documentation pertaining to Trump’s decisions to fire former FBI Director James Comey and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to The New York Times. Former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort also offered to give a Kremlin-tied Russian oligarch campaign updates last year, according to The Washington Post.

Of interest to investigators: Sean Spicer’s notebooks. The former White House press secretary took copious notes during his time at the Republican National Committee and the White House, according to Axios’ Mike Allen, who had a terse exchange with the onetime top Trump administration spokesman while asking for comment.

Facebook vows improvement on ad targeting. The social network’s number two, Sheryl Sandberg, penned a blog post on Wednesday acknowledging that allowing advertisers to target uses with anti-Semitic and other unseemly terms was "totally inappropriate and a fail on our part." Facebook is planning to restart the targeting program, shut down last week, with more safeguards, according to Recode.

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