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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

CEO Mark Zuckerberg took swipes at rivals Apple and Google during a Thursday keynote event where he announced Facebook's rebranding as Meta.

The big picture: Facebook has been trying to deflect regulatory scrutiny to its rivals Google and Apple as lawmakers home in on its acquisitions, content moderation and privacy woes.

What they're saying: "This period has also been humbling, because as big of a company as we are, we’ve also learned what it is like to build for other platforms. And living under their rules has profoundly shaped my views on the tech industry," Zuckerberg said, seeming to refer to the iOS and Android platforms.

  • "Most of all, I’ve come to believe that the lack of choice and high fees are stifling innovation, stopping people from building new things, and holding back the entire internet economy,” he said.

Between the lines: Facebook has had to live with Apple and Google's policies to thrive on mobile devices, and the social giant went to war with Apple over privacy rules and app store fees last year.

  • Apple and Android's stranglehold on the devices market means they are in charge of how apps get on phones and profit accordingly.

Context: Congress is also investigating Apple and Google for alleged anticompetitive behavior on their App and Play stores, respectively. Longime app developer frustrations around the two marketplaces, and the revenue cuts they take, have increasingly bubbled up into public view.

The bottom line: Zuckerberg's jabs at competitors and Facebook's rebranding aren't likely to silence Capitol Hill critics for whom the Facebook name has become associated with online toxicity.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Dec 2, 2021 - Technology

Square becomes Block

Before-and-after logos via Square (now Block).

Jack Dorsey has stepped down as CEO of Twitter, which means he can concentrate his attention on ... changing the name of the other company he runs. Square, Inc. is rebranding as "Block," the company announced Wednesday.

What they're saying: “I see this as the emergence of a true Late Dorsey aesthetic, similar but distinct from what we would call Middle Zuck: protean, abstract, and endlessly self-referential,” says Tim Hwang, editor of the California Review of Images and Mark Zuckerberg.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressional leaders clinch support for crucial defense bill, debt limit votes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer passes waiting reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congress has found a shortcut to pass its annual defense funding bill and raise the debt limit.

Driving the news: The House voted Tuesday night on two major bills — one creating a one-time, fast-track process for the Senate to raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, and another passing its annual defense bill.

House passes annual defense bill

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted to pass the annual defense bill 363-70 on Tuesday night, authorizing nearly $770 billion in funding for defenses and national security programs.

Why it matters: The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) still has to clear the Senate, but the House passage greatly increases the chances that the must-pass defense bill will move through both chambers of Congress before the end of the year.