Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

Epic Games, the North Carolina-based maker of Fortnite, has acquired group video chat app Houseparty for an undisclosed amount.

Why it matters: This reflects how group interaction has become as integral to digital gaming as the games themselves, serving as an alternative to traditional social media.

  • ROI: Houseparty had raised around $70 million from firms like Aleph, Greylock, Sequoia Capital, UTA Ventures and Comcast Ventures.

The bottom line: "While Fortnite does have an in-game voice chat function, many players opt to use independent group chat programs to communicate with fellow gamers. The group chat networks, like Houseparty and Discord, have the added benefit of existing outside of the game as social media platforms." — Rebecca Aydin, Business Insider

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Lawmakers demand answers from World Bank on Xinjiang loan

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. lawmakers are demanding answers from the World Bank about its continued operation of a $50 million loan program in Xinjiang, following Axios reporting on the loans.

Why it matters: The Chinese government is currently waging a campaign of cultural and demographic genocide against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, in northwest China. The lawmakers contend that the recipients of the loans may be complicit in that repression.

Obama: Americans could be "collateral damage" in Trump's war on mail-in voting

Photo: Zahim Mohd/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama tweeted Friday that everyday Americans could become "collateral damage" if President Trump continues to attempt to slash funding for the U.S. Postal Service as part of his campaign against mail-in voting.

Why it matters: Trump linked his baseless claims that increased mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud on Thursday to the current impasse in coronavirus stimulus negotiations.

Elon Musk is channeling Henry Ford in auto manufacturing

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has spent more than a decade trying to disrupt the traditional auto industry, is sounding more and more like the man most closely associated with it: Henry Ford.

Why it matters: In his quest to build affordable electric cars for the masses, Musk is starting to embrace many of the ideas pioneered by Ford's founder — things like vertical supply chains and an obsession with manufacturing efficiency. A century ago that approach helped to popularize the American automobile by lowering the cost of the Model T.