Did Amazon violate federal laws? Lawmakers ask for DOJ probe
Lawmakers have made good on their threat to seek a criminal investigation of Amazon, asking the Justice Department to investigate whether Amazon and its senior executives obstructed Congress or violated other laws in testimony on its competition practices.
Mark Zuckerberg's $23.4 million in security costs last year is more than the combined cost of keeping 10 other top execs safe
Facebook said Zuckerberg's security costs rose due to the US presidential election, and several companies reported increased costs from the shift to remote work.news.yahoo.com
Google postpones return-to-work until October, will require vaccinations
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is extending its office return for employees until Oct. 18 amid the latest Covid-19 outbreaks. In an email to employees Wednesday, Pichai also said the company will require anyone coming to the office to be vaccinated, beginning in the U.S. in coming weeks. Previously, employees were able to voluntarily return to offices until September. Pichai said the company will monitor the data carefully and let employees know at least 30 days in advance before transitioning into our full return to office plans. "Seeing Googlers together in the offices these past few weeks filled me with optimism, and I'm looking forward to brighter days ahead," he added.cnbc.com
Google delays return to office, mandates vaccines
Google is postponing a return to the office for most workers until mid-October and rolling out a policy that will eventually require everyone to be vaccinated once its sprawling campuses are fully reopened in an attempt to fight the spreading Delta variant. In a Wednesday email sent to Google's more than 130,000 employees, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is now aiming to have most of its workforce back to its offices beginning Oct. 18 instead of its previous target date of Sept. 1. The decision also affects tens of thousands of contractors who Google intends to continue to pay while access to its campuses remains limited.news.yahoo.com
The Latest: Twitter grilled about blocking a NY Post article
Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON – The latest news from a House committee questioning the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter. ___2:30 p.m.Rep. Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, raised the long-running conservative talking point that Twitter, Facebook and Google are biased against conservative viewpoints and censor material based on political or religious viewpoints. Scalise highlighted Twitter’s blocking of a New York Post article on Hunter Biden, which CEO Jack Dorsey said was a mistake that the company corrected within 24 hours. AdThis would include product vice presidents of integrity, trust and safety and vice presidents of platform policy — at Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (rather than Google, which owns YouTube) and perhaps an upstart like TikTok. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Sundar Pichai, CEO of YouTube parent Google, are facing questioning at a hearing by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Lawmakers press Big Tech CEOs on speech responsibility
Republicans raised long-running conservative grievances, unproven, that the platforms are biased against conservative viewpoints and censor material based on political or religious viewpoints. There is increasing support in Congress for legislation to rein in Big Tech companies. The tech CEOs defended the legal shield under Section 230, saying it has helped make the internet the forum of free expression that it is today. Trump enjoyed special treatment on Facebook and Twitter until January, despite spreading misinformation, pushing false claims of voting fraud, and promulgating hate. The tech blog Gizmodo eventually revealed the device was a “BlockClock” that shows the latest prices of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum.
Report: Extremist groups thrive on Facebook despite bans
More than two-thirds of the groups and pages had names that aligned with several domestic extremist movements, the report found. Facebook acknowledged that its policy enforcement “isn't perfect,” but said the report distorts its work against violent extremism and misinformation. In October, it banned QAnon groups across its platform. It has also banned extremist and militia movements and boogaloo groups with varying degrees of success. ___This story has been corrected to show that the groups were still active on the platform as of Feb. 24, not March 18.
Australian media law raises questions about 'pay for clicks'
It's a question dividing proponents and critics of the proposed Australian law: does it effectively make Google and Facebook “pay for clicks” and might it be the beginning of the end of free access? The battle is being watched closely in the European Union, where officials and lawmakers are drafting sweeping new digital regulations. Google contends the law does require it to pay for clicks. Google has reacted to the threat of compulsory arbitration by stepping up negotiations on licensing content agreements with Australian media companies through its own News Showcase model. Google has reached pay deals with more than 450 publications globally since it launched News Showcase in October.
In surprise move, Facebook blocks news access in Australia
“In response to Australian government legislation, Facebook restricts the posting of news links and all posts from news Pages in Australia. “Facebook’s actions were unnecessary, they were heavy-handed and they will damage its reputation here in Australia,” Frydenberg said. Major Australian media organization Seven West Media reached a deal earlier in the week. who have had their Facebook pages blocked, that’s a public safety issue,” Fletcher said. Some non-Australian outlets also appeared affected, with posts disappearing from Facebook pages belonging to Britain's Daily Telegraph and Sky News.
In Australia, Google makes publisher deals, Facebook walks
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)CANBERRA – Google is striking deals in Australia to pay for journalism but Facebook is vowing to restrict news sharing as Australian lawmakers consider forcing digital giants into payment agreements. These are good deals for the Australian media businesses,” he added. Google and Facebook, which take a combined 81% of online advertising in Australia, have condemned the code as unworkable. Google did not provide the terms of its News Corp. deal Wednesday. AdThe Australian deals with Google are being negotiated under Google’s own model, News Showcase.
Australia to amend laws to make Google and Facebook pay
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)CANBERRA – Australia’s government said on Tuesday it will amend draft laws that would make Google and Facebook pay for news to clarify that publishers would be paid in lump sums rather than per click on news article links. “On face value, the amendments keep the integrity of the media code intact,” the center’s director Peter Lewis said in a statement. Google and Facebook, which take a combined 81% of online advertising in Australia, have condemned the bill as unworkable. Google has threatened to make its search engine unavailable in Australia if the code were introduced. Seven West Media on Monday became the largest Australian news media business to strike a deal with Google to pay for journalism.
Major Australian media company strikes Google news pay deal
Kerry Stokes, chairman of Seven West Media, which owns 21 publications, thanked the government and the Australian competition regulator for their proposed law that the Parliament will consider Tuesday. Google has reached pay deals with more than 450 publications globally since News Showcase was launched in October. Neither Google nor Seven West Media mentioned how much the deal was worth. “If it goes through as is, it will be very beneficial for Australian media,” Barnet said of the code. Seven West Media said it will release more details about the deal after those details are finalized within 30 days.
Australian leader has 'constructive' talk with Google boss
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also welcomed the support of Google rival Microsoft, which has touted Australia’s proposed laws that would make Google and Facebook pay as an example for the rest of the world. Google regional director Mel Silva told a Senate hearing last month that the company would likely make its search engine unavailable in Australia if the so-called News Media Bargaining Code forced Google and Facebook to pay for Australian news. While Google and Facebook have condemned the legislation as unworkable, Microsoft President Brad Smith said his business would be willing to pay for news if its search engine increased Australian market share. The law would initially only apply to Google and Facebook, but the government could add other platforms in the future if Google abandoned Australia. AdAlthough Bing is Australia’s second most popular search engine, it has only a 3.6% market share.
Google Search, Maps now showing COVID-19 vaccination sites in San Antonio and Texas
Google Search and Maps will soon give information on places to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Texas. SAN ANTONIO – COVID-19 vaccine sites in Texas can now be found with a quick Google search. The tech giant on Tuesday confirmed to KSAT that Google Search and Maps have now rolled out a vaccine finder for cities in Texas, as well as cities in Arizona, Louisiana and Mississippi. People can search terms like “covid vaccine San Antonio” and find vaccination sites along with details like if an appointment or referral is required or if the vaccine is limited to certain groups, a spokesperson said. You can see an interactive map of COVID-19 vaccines available in Texas here.
Google Maps will start showing COVID-19 vaccine sites in Texas
Google Search and Maps will soon give information on places to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Texas. SAN ANTONIO – Google will soon enable a tool to make it easier for Texans to find a COVID-19 vaccination site. The vaccine hub providers in Bexar County are the San Antonio Metro Health District, University Health and UT Health San Antonio Wellness 360, according to the state health department. This week, the city will receive about 9,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, University Health will receive about 10,725 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and Wellness 360 will receive about 5,850 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The four current COVID-19 vaccine distribution sites in San Antonio include the Alamodome, the WellMed Elvira Cisneros Senior Community Center, the Alicia Treviño López Senior Community Center, and University Health at Wonderland of the Americas.
Google's antitrust case won't go to trial until Sept. 2023
FILE - This Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, file photo shows Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, set a tentative trial date of Sept. 12, 2023. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta on Friday set a tentative trial date of Sept. 12, 2023 for the landmark case that the Justice Department filed two months ago. He estimated that once the trial begins it will last about 5 1/2 weeks in his Washington, D.C., courtroom. Another antitrust case filed Thursday is seeking to preempt Google's dominance in other still-emerging fields of technology such as voice-activated devices in the home and internet-connected cars.
Google hires new personnel head amid rising worker tensions
This photo provided by Google shows Fiona Cicconi, right, who is leaving the biotech firm AstraZeneca to become the head of Google's people operations, effective Jan. 5, 2021. (Courtesy of Google via AP)Google has hired a top executive from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to oversee its personnel policies amid ongoing tensions with many employees who are upset with the company's policies. The hiring of Fiona Cicconi also comes while Google sets up plans to allow people to continue to work from home for at least eight more months. The rift incensed hundreds of Google employees who have signed a public letter of protest. Pichahi last week told employees that Google is beginning a thorough review into Gebru's exit, a process that now seems likely to involve Cicconi.
Google CEO says company will review AI scholar's abrupt exit
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has apologized for how a prominent artificial intelligence researcher's abrupt departure last week has “seeded doubts” in the company. Pichai's note doesn't call it either a firing or a resignation but says "we need to accept responsibility for the fact that a prominent Black, female leader with immense talent left Google unhappily." The dispute centered around Google's push to disassociate itself from a research paper Gebru co-authored examining the societal dangers of an AI technology used by Google. Gebru criticized Pichai's memo Wednesday on Twitter, saying she saw “no plans for accountability” in it and because it offered no apology for what happened to her. Thousands of people, many of them Google employees, have signed an open letter showing support for Gebru and accusing Google of “unprecedented research censorship,” racism and defensiveness.
Twitter, Facebook CEOs vow election action; GOP touts curbs
Republican senators, including Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, revived complaints of censorship and anti-conservative bias against the social media platforms. The actions that Twitter and Facebook took to quell the spread of disinformation angered Trump and his supporters. They have focused their concern on hate speech and incitement on social media platforms that can spawn violence. Twitter and Facebook have both slapped a misinformation label on some content from Trump, most notably his assertions linking voting by mail to fraud. For days after the election as the vote counting went on, copycat “Stop the Steal” groups were easily found on Facebook.
Facebook, Twitter CEOs to be pressed on election handling
The committee summoned the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google to testify during the hearing. (Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – The CEOs of Facebook and Twitter are being summoned before Congress to defend their handling of disinformation in the 2020 presidential election, even as lawmakers questioning them are deeply divided over the election's integrity and results. Twitter and Facebook have both slapped a misinformation label on some content from Trump, most notably his assertions linking voting by mail to fraud. Facebook insists that it has learned its lesson from the 2016 election and is no longer a conduit for misinformation, voter suppression and election disruption. The organization had pressed Facebook to take down the “Stop the Steal” group.
Social media CEOs get earful on bias, warning of new limits
The committee summoned the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google to testify during the hearing. Facebook, Twitter and Google's YouTube have scrambled to stem the tide of material that incites violence and spreads lies and baseless conspiracy theories. Republicans, led by Trump, have accused the social media platforms, without evidence, of deliberately suppressing conservative, religious and anti-abortion views. Critics in both parties say that immunity under Section 230 enables the social media companies to abdicate their responsibility to impartially moderate content. In their efforts to police misinformation about the election, Twitter and Facebook have imposed a misinformation label on some content from the president, who has about 80 million followers.
Social media CEOs to face grilling from Republican senators
WASHINGTON – Less than a week before Election Day, the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google are set to face a grilling by Republican senators who accuse the tech giants of anti-conservative bias. With the election looming, Republicans led by President Donald Trump have thrown a barrage of grievances at Big Tech’s social media platforms, which they accuse without evidence of deliberately suppressing conservative, religious and anti-abortion views. The tech platforms are gateways to news online. It proposes that Congress enact rules preventing tech platforms from taking local news content without fair payment. “For too long, social media platforms have hidden behind Section 230 protections to censor content that deviates from their beliefs,” Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the committee chairman, said recently.
Facebook, Twitter CEOs ordered to testify by GOP senators
FILE - This combination of photos shows logos for social media platforms Facebook and Twitter. (AP Photo/File)WASHINGTON – The GOP push against Facebook and Twitter accelerated Thursday after Republican senators threatened the CEOs of the social media companies with subpoenas to force them to address accusations of censorship in the closing weeks of the presidential campaign. Russia backed President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign through hacking of Democratic emails and a covert social media campaign. It was the first time in recent memory that the two social media platforms enforced rules against misinformation on a story from a mainstream media publication. With Trump leading the way, conservatives have stepped up their claims that Facebook, Twitter and Google, which owns YouTube, are biased, charging without evidence Silicon Valley’s social media platforms are deliberately suppressing conservative views.
CEOs of 3 tech giants to testify at Oct. 28 Senate hearing
WASHINGTON – The CEOs of technology giants Facebook, Google and Twitter are expected to testify for an Oct. 28 Senate hearing on tech companies’ control over hate speech and misinformation on their platforms. It marks a new bipartisan initiative against Big Tech companies, which have been under increasing scrutiny in Washington and from state attorneys general over issues of competition, consumer privacy and hate speech. With Trump leading the way, conservative Republicans have kept up a barrage of criticism of Silicon Valley’s social media platforms, which they accuse without evidence of deliberately suppressing conservative views. The Justice Department has asked Congress to roll back long-held legal protections for online platforms, putting down a legislative marker in Trump’s drive against the social media giants. Democrats, on the other hand, have focused their criticism of social media mainly on hate speech, misinformation and other content that can incite violence or keep people from voting.
Senate panel moves to compel 3 social media CEOs to testify
(AP Photo/Amr Alfiky, File)WASHINGTON – A Senate panel voted Thursday to compel testimony from the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter as lawmakers opened a new front in the battle over hate speech, misinformation and perceived political bias on social media a month before the presidential election. With Trump leading the way, conservative Republicans have kept up a barrage of criticism of Silicon Valley’s social media platforms, which they accuse without evidence of deliberately suppressing conservative views. The Justice Department has asked Congress to roll back long-held legal protections for online platforms, putting down a legislative marker in Trump’s drive against the social media giants. At a White House event last week, officials said the legislative proposal would protect the open internet and prevent hidden manipulation by social media. The subcommittee, which is expected to issue a report on its findings soon, held a hearing Thursday at which experts discussed proposals to strengthen the antitrust laws and promote competition among Big Tech companies.
Google to pay $1 billion over 3 years for news content
LONDON – Google will pay publishers $1 billion over the next three years for their content, the company's latest effort to defuse tensions over its dominance of the news industry. “This financial commitment - our biggest to date - will pay publishers to create and curate high-quality content for a different kind of online news experience," CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post. It will appear first on Google News on Android, then Apple iOS, before it is rolled out to Google Discover and Search. News companies want Google, and its Silicon Valley rival Facebook, to pay for the news content that they siphon from commercial media while taking the lion's share of ad revenue. Australia's government is drafting a law to make Facebook and Google pay the country's media companies for the news content they use by early October.
Australia leader expects 'sensible outcome' to news pay plan
CANBERRA Australias prime minister said Monday that he expected a sensible outcome to his governments plans to make digital platforms pay for journalism after Facebook threatened to block Australian publishers and individuals from sharing news stories. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had discussed his proposed laws with very senior-level executives including Google's chief executive, Sundar Pichai, last week. Im quite certain well come to a sensible outcome on this and it wont need coercion wherever it comes from. Australia is drafting the final version of the legislation after a consultation period ended in late August. If the U.S.-based platforms could not agree with Australian media businesses on pricing after three months, arbitrators would be appointed to make binding decisions.
Inside Big Tech: Pulling back the curtain with 'hot' email
(Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON The House Judiciary chairman was closing in on his Perry Mason moment with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Fortified with hot internal company documents, Rep. Jerrold Nadler was building his case at a hearing that seemed almost like a trial for Facebook and three other tech giants over alleged anti-competitive tactics. Looking ahead, the hot documents dont by themselves guarantee successful legal action by regulators, legal experts say. But it can be a violation of antitrust law for a company at the top of the heap to use its power to kick competitors off the hill. The head of the Federal Trade Commission has said that as a result of the review, the government may require tech giants to unwind earlier takeovers and divest assets if the agency finds violations of antitrust law.
Lawmakers batter Big Tech CEOs, but don't land many blows
(Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON Congressional lawmakers finally got a chance to grill the CEOs of Big Tech over their dominance and allegations of monopolistic practices that stifle competition. While the executives faced hostile questioning and frequent interruptions from lawmakers of both parties, little seemed to land more than glancing blows. But Stephen Beck, CEO of the management consulting firm cg42, said the tech companies and their brands emerged relatively unscathed. As Democrats largely focused on market competition, several Republicans aired longstanding grievances, claiming the tech companies are censoring conservative voices and questioning their business activities in China. While forced breakups may appear unlikely, the wide scrutiny of Big Tech points toward possible new restrictions on its power.
The Latest: Zuckerberg questioned on viral misinformation
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks via video conference during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on antitrust on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Washington. His comments came Wednesday during a congressional hearing into the market dominance of four tech giants Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple. Zuckerberg's comments came at hearing that also featured Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. The questioning came at a congressional hearing that also featured Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. He is Jeff Bezos.
4 Big Tech CEOs getting heat from Congress on competition
A key question: Whether existing competition policies and century-old antitrust laws are adequate for overseeing the tech giants, or if new legislation and enforcement funding is needed. While forced breakups may appear unlikely, the wide scrutiny of Big Tech points toward possible new restrictions on its power. The companies face legal and political offensives on multiplying fronts, from Congress, the Trump administration, federal and state regulators and European watchdogs. I understand that people have concerns about the size and perceived power that tech companies have, Zuckerberg's statement says. He is making the case that the fees Apple charges apps to sell services and other goods are reasonable, especially compared with what other tech companies collect.
Spotlight on 4 Big Tech CEOs testifying in competition probe
The House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust is capping its yearlong investigation of Big Techs market dominance with Wednesdays teleconferenced hearing spotlighting the four CEOs. The tech companies now face legal and political offensives on multiplying fronts, from Congress, the Trump administration, federal and state regulators and European watchdogs. Facebooks fiercest critics in Congress, including liberal Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren and conservative Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, have put breaking up Big Tech companies on the table. He also met privately with key lawmakers and with President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly criticized the tech companies and asserted without evidence that they are biased against him. Cook is expected to lay out the case that the fees Apple charges apps to sell services and other goods are reasonable, especially compared with what other tech companies collect.
Twitter and Facebook become targets in Trump and Biden ads
Biden is paying Facebook handsomely to show ads that accuse Facebook of posing a threat to democracy. Meantime Trump is paying Facebook to run ads trashing the medium he uses like none other, Twitter. Before this years election, Twitter banned political ads altogether, a decision a company spokesman told the AP it stands behind. And Facebook, along with Google, began disclosing campaign ad spending while banning non-Americans from buying U.S. political ads. Twitter became a Trump campaign target after the company rolled out its first fact check of his inaccurate tweet about voting in late May.
Zuckerberg, Bezos, other tech CEOs testify on competition
This Sept. 19, 2019 photo shows Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos arriving to a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington. Bezos is willing to testify to the congressional panel investigating the market dominance of Big Tech, but along with other tech industry CEOs, lawyers for the company say, according to a published report Monday, June 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)WASHINGTON Four Big Tech CEOs Facebooks Mark Zuckerberg, Amazons Jeff Bezos, Google's Sundar Pichai and Apple's Tim Cook will answer for their companies practices before Congress at a hearing Wednesday by the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust. The panel has conducted a bipartisan investigation over the past year of the tech giants market dominance and their effect on consumers. Its the first such congressional review of the tech industry.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak slams YouTube for scam videos
(AP Photo/Ben Margot)SAN RAMON, Calif. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is launching a legal attack against Google's YouTube video site for allowing con artists to use him as a pawn in a Bitcoin scam believed to have heisted millions of dollars from people around the world. The suit also represents 17 alleged victims of the bitcoin scam, including 10 people who live outside the U.S. Videos spread on YouTube as part of the scheme entice viewers to send their bitcoins to an anonymous digital address, promising to return double that amount. Wozniak, though, said he has been trying to get Google and YouTube to prevent videos peddling the scam with his name and picture in it since May 10. YouTube will try to persuade a judge to dismiss Garlinghouse's lawsuit during a hearing scheduled next month.
Google announces $10 billion 'digitization' fund for India
NEW DELHI U.S. tech giant Google is investing in a $10 billion fund to help accelerate Indias transition to a digital economy in the next five to seven years. The company also announced it will invest $1 million to support digital education in India. It said the fund will enable 1 million teachers in 22,000 schools across the country to use Google services that can facilitate online learning. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made digitization a major priority for India. He envisions a Digital India, where high-speed Internet access will empower entrepreneurs to build software and other technology products to help raise the standard of living in a country where many households are still impoverished.
8:46: A number becomes a potent symbol of police brutality
Even as prosecutors have said little about how they arrived at the precise number, it has fast grown into a potent symbol of the suffering Floyd and many other black men have experienced at the hands of police. In Boston and Tacoma, Washington, demonstrators this week lay down on streets staging die-ins" for precisely 8 minutes, 46 seconds. ViacomCBS, owner of MTV and Nickelodeon, stopped its programming earlier this week to air a silent, somber video honoring Floyd for 8 minutes, 46 seconds. Pausing for a full 8 minutes, 46 seconds helps turn the abstract into a reality, said Monica Cannon-Grant, the founder of Violence in Boston Inc., which organized a Tuesday protest that included the minutes of silence. Using those, Chauvin had his knee on Floyd for 7 minutes and 46 seconds, including 1 minute and 53 seconds after Floyd appeared to stop breathing.