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The U.S. Capitol dome. Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP

The investigation into how Russian ads and content spread on Google, Twitter and Facebook was just the beginning of Congress digging into how tech does business.

What's happening now: Lawmakers want to know everything from how algorithms filter and distribute information behind the scenes to how platforms handle consumer data to the ways extremist content spreads over social media.

Going deep on algorithms: On Wednesday, lawmakers will probe the algorithms used by companies like Google and Facebook.

  • A House subcommittees on technology and consumer protection will ask about consumer data collection and how "companies make decisions about content that consumers see online."
  • Privacy hawk Laura Moy and Frank Pasquale, a professor and Big Tech skeptic, will testify.
  • The subcommittee chairs, Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Bob Latta, say they "intend to shine a light on how technology companies and online platforms use Americans' data and filter information."

What's next: We hear that prominent Amazon critic Lina Khan and "The Googlization of Everything" author Siva Vaidhyanathan are part of a Capitol Hill briefing on platform competition issues this Friday that will involve several progressive lawmakers. And the powerful Senate Commerce Committee is interested in how the social media platforms handle extremist content.

Meanwhile: Senators on both sides of the aisle want Uber to explain more about its recently disclosed data breach.

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Top general: U.S. losing time to deter China

Stanley McChrystal. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Stanley McChrystal, a top retired general and Biden adviser, tells Axios that "China's military capacity has risen much faster than people appreciate," and the U.S. is running out of time to counterbalance that in Asia and prevent a scenario such as it seizing Taiwan.

Why it matters: McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently briefed the president-elect as part of his cabinet of diplomatic and national security advisers. President-elect Joe Biden is considering which Trump- or Obama-era approaches to keep or discard, and what new strategies to pursue.

Progressives shift focus from Biden's Cabinet to his policy agenda

Joe Biden giving remarks in Wilmington, Del., last month. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Some progressives tell Axios they believe the window for influencing President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet selections has closed, and they’re shifting focus to policy — hoping to shape Biden's agenda even before he’s sworn in.

Why it matters: The left wing of the party often draws attention for its protests, petitions and tweets, but this deliberate move reflects a determination to move beyond some fights they won't win to engage with Biden strategically, and over the long term.

Dave Lawler, author of World
7 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.