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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Artist Rights Alliance, a non-profit advocating for music creators, has sent a letter to the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the state Attorneys General of Vermont and California, calling for an investigation into Facebook for refusing to take action on a fraudulent concert on its platform.

Details: The letter, obtained by Axios, asks policymakers to investigate Facebook for "participating in a scheme to defraud cellist Zoe Keating, an unknown number of her fans, and undoubtedly thousands of other working artists."

  • The group, which co-signed the letter with other artist-rights groups like Advocating Against Romance Scammers, Alliance to Counter Crime Online, Freedom from Facebook and Google and Public Citizen, says that Keating was supposed to perform a concert on August 30th, but due to the pandemic the concert was cancelled several months ago.
  • Still, someone reportedly impersonated the artist on Facebook, selling access to a livestream of a fake concert, and Facebook reused to take action on the fraudulent post, the group says.
  • Axios has reached out to Facebook for comment.

The big picture: The issue of music copyright on Facebook and other big platforms has long been an issue.

  • Case-in-point: A group of music organizations recently slammed Amazon-owned Twitch in a letter claiming that the group has "failed to to secure proper synch and mechanical licenses for its recently launched Soundtrack tool," per Variety. Twitch disputes the claim.
  • Yes, but: This claim is more about false commercialization, an issue that's closely aligned with fake news. That's typically something the FTC handles.

Go deeper

Trade commission's tech cases: Hits and misfires

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With the Federal Trade Commission expected to unveil long-awaited antitrust action against Facebook in the near future, the agency's mixed record on regulating tech has experts viewing the case as a "put up or shut up" moment.

The big picture: Most of the tech cases the FTC has tackled involve consumer protection rather than restraining monopolistic behavior. Past antitrust investigations of tech mergers or companies, like a review of Google that ended in 2013, led critics to paint the FTC as toothless.

2 hours ago - World

Iran confirms assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadhe

The Iranian ministry of defense issued a statement on Friday confirming the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadhe, an Iranian scientist and the architect behind the Islamic Republic’s military nuclear program.

Why it matters: Fakhrizadhe was the head of the Amad project in the Iranian ministry of defense, which focused on developing a nuclear bomb until 2003.

U.K. to launch new watchdog next year to police digital giants

Photo: Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The U.K. government said on Friday that it will establish next year a Digital Markets Unit, which will enforce forthcoming "pro-competition" regulations aimed at curbing some of the digital platforms like Google and Facebook.

Why it matters: This is the latest move by a government to respond to growing objections to the size and power these companies have amassed.