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Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Google’s so far successful strategy of keeping its head down in Washington while lawmakers brutalize Facebook and Twitter is facing new tests as pressures mount from federal legislators and state authorities.

The big picture: While the other Silicon Valley giants are likely happy for a break for the spotlight, the fates of all of the online platforms have always been intertwined. Regulation for one could be regulation for all, and scrutiny of individual companies' privacy practices or moderation failures in the past has drawn attention to industry-wide issues.

Google’s Tuesday was a cascade of new troubles.

  • The Washington Post broke the story Tuesday morning that Arizona’s Republican attorney general, Mark Brnovich, was investigating the search giant’s handling of consumer data.
  • By early evening, Brnovich’s spokesperson Katie Conner was out with a statement: “Our office has been working on this civil investigation for quite some time. While we cannot confirm the company or companies at the center of this probe, we decided to move forward and retain outside counsel after a series of troubling news reports, including a recent story that highlighted Google’s alleged tracking of consumer movements even if consumers attempt to opt out of such services.”
  • On Capitol Hill, Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy indicated that Google would be asked to testify, less than a week after the company frustrated lawmakers who wanted to see its CEO testify at a Senate hearing. In a tweet, McCarthy said that an “invite will be on its way.”

Driving the news:

  • The recent report that Google mobile services can continue to track users when they think they've turned location tracking off has breathed new life into privacy concerns about the company.
  • Unproven allegations of anti-conservative bias leveled by President Trump and others on the right are fanning Republican legislators' ire.
  • Fears that the company has too much market power have driven antitrust actions in Europe and a widening conversation about tech monopolies in the United States.
  • Reports that Google is working to get back into China have wrangled politicians on both sides of the aisle — as well as Google's own employees.

Yes, but: Scrutiny of Facebook and Twitter isn’t going anywhere — and they share with Google many of the same issues that have drawn criticism and inquiries.

  • State attorneys general who have active investigations into the major internet companies will brief Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a September 25 meeting announced last week, potentially sparking a federal probe, per Bloomberg on Tuesday evening.
  • Brnovich’s spokesperson also noted that he has raised concerns about Facebook as well.

Go deeper

Salesforce rolls the dice on Slack

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Salesforce's likely acquisition of workplace messaging service Slack — not yet a done deal but widely anticipated to be announced Tuesday afternoon — represents a big gamble for everyone involved.

For Slack, challenged by competition from Microsoft, the bet is that a deeper-pocketed owner like Salesforce, with wide experience selling into large companies, will help the bottom line.

FBI stats show border cities are among the safest

Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation; Note: This table includes the eight largest communities on the U.S.-Mexico border and eight other U.S. cities similar in population size and demographics; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

U.S. communities along the Mexico border are among the safest in America, with some border cities holding crime rates well below the national average, FBI statistics show.

Why it matters: The latest crime data collected by the FBI from 2019 contradicts the narrative by President Trump and others that the U.S.-Mexico border is a "lawless" region suffering from violence and mayhem.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
2 hours ago - Science

The rise of military space powers

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nations around the world are shoring up their defensive and offensive capabilities in space — for today's wars and tomorrow's.

Why it matters: Using space as a warfighting domain opens up new avenues for technologically advanced nations to dominate their enemies. But it can also make those countries more vulnerable to attack in novel ways.