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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

For a decade-plus, Washington worshiped the power of the tech giants because they were cool and had coin.

A new day: When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is sworn in on Capitol Hill today around 2:15 p.m., it'll mark the official start of a new era that will be defined by skepticism, regulation and constant collision.

  • Silicon Valley, after dismissing Washington, now plans constant engagement. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will speak in Washington tomorrow, and Axios has learned that LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner has booked a visit.

Be smart: A longtime Washington maestro texts: "The next titanic political struggle will be over regulating tech/social media. The government often interrupts the aggregation of economic power over time. These companies have economic and political power. Politicians do not often ignore that combination."

The conversation ... The CGCN Group, a well-wired lobbying firm, says in a memo to clients headlined, "Tariffs, Populism and Mark Zuckerberg":

  • "Zuckerberg’s appearance is just one flashpoint in a larger political fight. These companies must come to terms with the reality that they are politically homeless — facing harsh rhetoric, tough questioning and policy differences from critics on both sides of the aisle."
  • "[A] victory for Zuckerberg under these circumstances is to stop the bleeding and do no further harm."
  • "These companies should take a page from the trade fight by emphasizing how their products are helping workers and businesses between the coasts."

Yes, but: Some Republican lawmakers are torn between their traditional philosophies of deregulation versus the pressure to take tech regulation seriously in light of recent events, per Axios' Sara Fischer and David McCabe:

  • These Republicans, like Sens. John Thune and John Kennedy, have been more open to talks of industry regulation ever since the Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted. But they're not totally past the traditional conservative aversion to regulation — let alone convincing their colleagues on Capitol Hill and at the FCC.
  • Meanwhile, Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly told a small group of executives at the National Association of Broadcasters annual meeting in Las Vegas that more new platforms means regulators "getting out of the way" so everyone can "survive thrive and compete in today's and tomorrow's competitive media marketplace."

"Instagram, in all its trivial glory, might be the best hope for Facebook’s future" — Bloomberg Businessweek cover story by Sarah Frier:

  • Instagram relied on Facebook for its success, but now Facebook may depend on Instagram for its longevity."
  • "Instagram’s audience is younger than Facebook’s ... And unlike Facebook, which reported its first decline in users in North America in its most recent quarter, Instagram is still growing in its home market.”
  • The idea that Instagram might bail out Facebook has likely been in the back of Zuckerberg’s mind. He often says that Facebook should disrupt itself before someone else does, and he regularly celebrates Instagram at Facebook’s weekly staff meetings."

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Go deeper

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. (Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images)

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.

Trump gives farewell address: "We did what we came here to do"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump gave a farewell video address on Tuesday, saying that his administration "did what we came here to do — and so much more."

Why it matters, via Axios' Alayna Treene: The address is very different from the Trump we've seen in his final weeks as president — one who has refused to accept his loss, who peddled conspiracy theories that fueled the attack on the Capitol, and who is boycotting his successor's inauguration.