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European Union Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels. Photo: Virginia Mayo / AP

Margrethe Vestager, Europe's chief competition regulator who brought an antitrust case against Google this year, told Recode's Kara Swisher that the European Commission is continuing its focus on preventing tech giants from squashing competition from startups. She also said on the podcast that she's concerned about the lack of transparency around the algorithms used by these companies.

Across the pond: U.S. lawmakers also questioned the larger societal impact of Big Tech's use of algorithms and big data on Wednesday, and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai questioned whether social media is a net benefit to society.

Key quote: "We have to take our democracy back. We cannot leave it to Facebook or Snapchat or anyone else. We have to take democracy back and renew it. Society is about people and not about technology." She added: "We want a free market, but we know that the paradox of a 'free' market is that sometimes you have to intervene."

Go deeper

Kids’ screen time up 50% during pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the coronavirus lockdowns started in March, kidstech firm SuperAwesome found that screen time was up 50%. Nearly a year later, that percentage hasn't budged, according to new figures from the firm.

Why it matters: For most parents, pre-pandemic expectations around screen time are no longer realistic. The concern now has shifted from the number of hours in front of screens to the quality of screen time.

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

17 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.