CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a Facebook conference in April. Photo: Amy Osborne/AFP/Getty Images

Tech executives and Wall Street analysts were generally surprised by the sudden antitrust squeeze planned by both the administration and the House.

Why it matters: Going into 2020, neither party wants to be seen as being asleep at the wheel when it comes to holding Big Tech accountable. 

Conventional wisdom in both Washington and on Wall Street had pegged regulatory action around privacy, First Amendment issues and advertising rules.

  • A Republican administration wasn't expected to take a hard line against the "bigness" of successful American icons.
  • After hearings focused on social media's impact on elections, Facebook and Twitter looked more vulnerable to D.C. action than Amazon, Apple and Google — which are included in new investigations by DOJ and the FTC.

The bottom line: Meaningful privacy legislation looks less likely than it did just six months ago, so regulators are looking at other approaches. 

Go deeper: What Apple, Facebook and Google each mean by "privacy"

Editor's note: This story originally described an antitrust inquiry as by House Democrats. The effort by the House Judiciary Committee is bipartisan.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.

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Opposition leader Leopoldo López flees Venezuela

Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López outside the Spanish embassy in Caracas, in 2019. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

Leopoldo López, a former political prisoner and prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, has left the country, his Popular Will party confirmed in a statement Saturday.

Why it matters: He's been highly influential in the push to oust President Nicolás Maduro's regime and a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. He'd been in the Spanish ambassador's Caracas residence since escaping house arrest in April 2019 following a failed military uprising.