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Illustration: Sam Jayne / Axios

Several months ago we first discussed the prospect of anti-trust action against technology giants. Pressure seemed to be coming from the right, in terms of Trump Administration animosity toward Silicon Valley antagonists. It also seemed to be coming from the left, in terms of income inequality and growing recognition that this generation's Masters of the Universe don't work on Wall Street. Some was just under the aegis of "I know it when I see it," in terms of everything from Facebook's relationship to media to Amazon's relationship with consumers.

The tech execs I spoke with mostly shrugged their shoulders, and then one more time for de-emphasis once Steve Bannon left the West Wing. But those sentiments are shifting, and it has nothing to do with mergers or market share.

What changed: Facebook's acknowledgment that Russian agents purchased ads around last year's election is a bit like stealing a car and then accidentally rear-ending a cop. Russia may be the initial bump, but it's liable to spark all sorts of other inquiries into big tech business models and products — with each new hearing or interview increasing D.C. knowledge of how Silicon Valley and its satellites actually work. Oh, and now it looks like Google might have done something similar.

Even if the Russia/social media story fades into oblivion, it could create regulatory ripples in everything from privacy to antitrust.

Bottom line: "This piqued the interest of people who didn't really care about so-called big tech before," says a senior D.C. rep of a major West Coast tech company. "Now they have reason to take out their magnifying glasses."

Go deeper

Exclusive: Jennifer Garner to be featured in Mother's Day vaccination campaign

Jennifer Garner. Photo by IngleDodd Media/via Getty Images

Actress Jennifer Garner will team up with the Biden administration in a coordinated campaign to encourage vaccinations around Mother's Day, Axios has learned.

Driving the news: The administration is eager to keep up the pace of inoculations now that all adult Americans are eligible but the pace of vaccinations is starting to slow.

Rideshare companies say driver shortage is pushing prices up

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's not just you: Uber and Lyft rides are more expensive, company executives said this week.

Why it matters: Demand for rideshare is roaring back as the economy starts to reopen, but the same can't be said for drivers on the apps. That means fewer cars on the road, causing a supply gap that's pushing up prices.

Pelosi slams GOP leadership's moves against Liz Cheney

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week condemned Republican efforts to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as House GOP conference chair.

Why it matters: A number of Democrats have spoken out against attempts to punish Cheney for her criticism of former President Trump, framing the discussion as one essential to the maintenance of American democracy.

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