Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. 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 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!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Facebook's Portal video chat device. Photo: Facebook

In separate announcements on Monday, Facebook and Google both showed an impressive level of tone-deafness to concerns about their dominance and lack of attention to privacy issues.

Why it matters: Big Tech is trying to convince officials in the U.S. and Europe that it can clean up its act and needs only modest regulation. This isn't helping.

What's happening: Facebook introduced two home video chat devices, known as Portal, whose nearly sole purpose is to be a microphone and camera in the home, ostensibly for video chat.

  • The device has Amazon's Alexa and streaming music support, but lacks features found in other smart displays.
  • The biggest criticism, though, was the fact that it's made by Facebook — a company that has some "trust issues," these days, to put it mildly. (It did make a point of touting Portal's built-in privacy features.)
  • Context: Facebook had been reportedly set to introduce Portal in May, but pushed it back amid the Cambridge Analytica scandal and attendant concerns.

Google, meanwhile, disclosed that its developer tools had made a huge chunk of Google+ data publicly accessible, but the Wall Street Journal reported that it had known about it since the spring and decided not to notify the public.

  • Google tried to soften the blow by saying it doesn't know of anyone accessing or misusing the data and, meanwhile, stressing that few people use Google+ anyway and most do so for only short periods of time.
  • Context: Per WSJ, Google sat on the information about the bug, fearing that going public would prompt greater regulatory oversight and lump the company in with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. On Monday, Google announced plans to shut down the consumer version of Google+ over the next 10 months.

What they're saying about Google+:

  • Daisuke Wakabayashi (NYT) "Google must be thanking its lucky stars that Google+ failed so spectacularly -- saved them from dealing with the same issues that Facebook had to deal with. Increasingly clear that Google+ had many of the same vulnerabilities except for the fact that no one was using it.
  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.): “Today’s report confirms that Google’s claims to value consumers’ privacy seem like nothing more than empty talk. Google must explain its unwillingness to disclose this breach and the FTC must conduct a fulsome investigation.  But to truly end this cycle of broken promises, we need a national privacy framework that protects consumers and empowers the FTC to hold companies accountable.”

What they're saying about Facebook's cameras:

  • The Verge's Nilay Patel: "I love the wacky hardware design of the Portal Plus, but there is no way I’m putting a Facebook camera in my home."
  • MarketWatch's Therese Poletti: "The worst tech device of the year is here."
  • Venture capitalist Niv Dror posted a tweet that was just an animated avatar of Mark Zuckerberg peering out of the computer.

The bottom line: You might think that 2018 would have taught the tech giants a thing or two about how to be sensitive to security and privacy concerns. You'd be wrong.

Go deeper: Axios' Sara Fischer writes on the global regulatory implications.

Go deeper

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."