Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Capitol riot and tech firms' sweeping attempt in its wake to dislodge the online far right are kicking up efforts to have the courts settle knotty questions about online speech and power.

Why it matters: Legal battles could force the people angry at Big Tech to bring more rigor to arguments that have often devolved into messy sideshows.

What's happening: Conservatives have insisted for years that Silicon Valley is biased against them, but the Capitol siege and subsequent deplatforming are drawing sharper battle lines between the mainstream and the online right. Parties on either side are this week pleading with judges and prosecutors to intervene.

Parler vs. Amazon: Parler sued Amazon after its AWS unit kicked the right-wing-friendly social network off its hosting due to violent threats made on the platform before the Capitol siege. Parler contends Amazon breached its contract and is breaking antitrust laws, hurting Parler to benefit Twitter, another AWS client.

  • In a hearing Thursday, Parler's attorney said "millions of law-abiding Americans have had their voices silenced by AWS's decision," which he contended was made without sufficient notice. He didn't raise the antitrust claims — widely viewed as weak, relying on claims of collusion between Amazon and Twitter that Parler has made no attempt to prove.
  • Amazon argued it had the right to terminate service immediately and said Parler has shown itself unwilling and unable to develop a moderation plan for keeping harmful content off the platform.

Rumble vs. Google: Toronto-based Rumble, an increasingly popular streaming-video platform on the right, sued Google, accusing it of steering users of its search engine to YouTube over competing video services.

  • “We will defend ourselves against these baseless claims," a Google spokesperson said.

ADL v. Gab: No civil suits have been filed or threatened, but the ADL is calling on right-wing-friendly social network Gab to potentially be held criminally liable for Capitol riot mobilization on its platform. Section 230, which shields online platforms from civil liability over user-posted content, doesn't apply to federal crimes.

  • The group, per a Wednesday letter, wants the Justice Department and FBI to open a criminal investigation into whether Gab "intentionally aided, conspired with, or directed individuals to carry out the January 6 attack."
  • "The ADL should be calling for an investigation into Facebook, where the protests were actually organized," Gab CEO Andrew Torba countered in a blog post. "Gab is great for a lot of things, but it’s not a utility for organizing events."

Between the lines: The Parler and Rumble suits, as well as the prospect of Gab being prosecuted, are all viewed as long shots.

  • The Rumble lawsuit most closely resembles other serious litigation targeting tech giants, with allegations of self-preferencing in search at the heart of an antitrust suit that dozens of state attorneys general filed against Google last month.
  • But Rumble still faces an uphill battle. The company would have to convince a judge to accept a novel interpretation of existing antitrust laws to account for new technology — a tough sell.

"Antitrust is a blunt instrument, not well-suited to thorny questions about how to balance free speech interests, especially content that may be lawful but awful," said Avery Gardiner, general counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology and a former DOJ antitrust lawyer.

Our thought bubble: The calls for intervention from judges and prosecutors, more than serious legal arguments, are an attempt to formalize an expression of rage on either side.

  • Still, that anger isn't going away, and neither are major tech firms' efforts to tamp down on violent and threatening rhetoric. Expect to see more lawsuits and calls for prosecution ahead.

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - Technology

Big Tech bolts politics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Big Tech fed politics. Then it bled politics. Now it wants to be dead to politics. 

Why it matters: The social platforms that profited massively on politics and free speech suddenly want a way out — or at least a way to hide until the heat cools. 

GOP to use Supreme Court fight to target vulnerable Dems

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Conservatives know they're unlikely to stop President Biden from filling a Supreme Court vacancy, but they plan to target Senate Democrats who face competitive re-election fights and are all but certain to vote for the successor to Justice Stephen Breyer.

Between the lines: The general strategy will be to tie those Democrats to positions seen as political liabilities in states like Arizona, Georgia and New Hampshire, where incumbents are seeking re-election this year, an operative briefed on early strategy talks told Axios.

4 hours ago - World

U.S. and NATO answer Putin in writing while bracing for Ukraine invasion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The U.S. and NATO provided Russia with written proposals on Wednesday to advance a "diplomatic path forward," even as they warned that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.

Why it matters: This is a delicate diplomatic balancing act. The U.S. and NATO want to show they're serious about diplomacy but unwilling to compromise on "core principles" — all without providing Vladimir Putin with an additional pretext for escalation.