Jun 24, 2019

California's governor warns Big Tech could be "steamrolled"

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

California Gov. Gavin Newsom warned in an interview for "Axios on HBO" that his state’s Big Tech giants — Google, Facebook and others — will soon get "steamrolled" by federal regulations, and deserve to be hit with new restrictions on their wealth and reach.  

Why it matters: Newsom is friends with several tech moguls, including Tesla's Elon Musk and Google co-founder Sergey Brin. And his state relies heavily on the big profits of Big Tech to fund California. Big changes will hit them at the state and federal level, he said.

  • "Are they going to lead in that conversation and engage in it?  Or are they going to get completely steamrolled? By current pace, they are going to get steamrolled."

Newsom refused to say whether Google and Facebook should be broken up, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others want. But he seemed more open to regulating tech platforms like media companies, holding them responsible for content on their sites. 

  • Newsom criticized Facebook for not pulling the doctored video of Nancy Pelosi off its platform. “It’s just fake - it's made up. It's doctored. It's done for political purposes.” 

He said he speaks often with Elon Musk and share’s the Tesla founder’s concern that artificial intelligence poses an urgent threat to our way of life.

  • "Technology is playing a bigger role I would argue than globalization" in disrupting jobs and stirring populism, he said. "It’s going to get exponentially worse."

Newsom supports the concept of a data dividend that forces tech platforms to pay California residents for money they make off selling their data.  He was unsure how big those checks should be. 

  • "Your data is being monetized every single nanosecond. And, to the extent it's been monetized and it's yours, I think in some way shape or form you should be rewarded."

Go deeper: Newsom says "Xenophobic" GOP will be 3rd party

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 1,363,365— Total deaths: 76,420 — Total recoveries: 292,425Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 368,533 — Total deaths: 11,008 — Total recoveries: 19,972Map.
  3. Trump administration latest: Peter Navarro warned White House colleagues in late January about the massive potential risks from the coronavirus.
  4. Public health update: Funeral homes are struggling to handle the pandemic.
  5. 2020 update: Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks the governor's attempt to delay in-person primary voting until June.
  6. Tech update: YouTube has removed thousands of COVID-19 videos for violating policies related to spreading medical misinformation.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Stephanie Grisham out as White House press secretary

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham is departing her post to return to the East Wing as First Lady Melania Trump's chief of staff, the White House announced Tuesday. The news was first reported by CNN.

Why it matters: Grisham will leave after nine months without ever having held a formal press briefing. Her departure follows the arrival of new White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who has a chance to overhaul a communications shop that's kept a low profile since President Trump ended the tradition of daily press secretary briefings.

WeWork board sues SoftBank

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

SoftBank was sued Tuesday morning by a special committee of WeWork's board of directors for alleged breaches of contract and fiduciary duty related to SoftBank's decision to cancel a $3 billion tender offer for WeWork shares.

Why it matters: SoftBank is viewed by many in the private markets as an unfaithful partner. If this reaches trial, that reputation could either become widely cemented or reversed.