Hello again from Aspen, where there's lots of talk of Big Tech and its role in our democracy.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
When people think about the challenge that Facebook and Twitter pose to our democracy, they don't often think about James Madison and the Federalist Papers. But perhaps they should, argues constitutional scholar Jeff Rosen.
The big picture: Social media runs counter to the type of government Madison and others hoped to create, Rosen argues. The whole point of having a republic with representative democracy was to slow down deliberation so that reason could prevail.
"In all very numerous assemblies, of whatever character composed, passion never fails to wrest the sceptre from reason," Madison wrote. "Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob."
No time for deliberation: One of the ways that social media challenges the founders' vision, Rosen says, is by enabling politicians to harden their positions before they even have a chance to hear the other side.
A faceless debate: Another problem of shifting discussion online is the fact that you are arguing with the idea of an opponent vs. a real person. It's not political disagreement that's the issue, says Eric Liu, founder of Citizen University and executive director of the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program.
Yes, but: Madison's point of view largely prevailed in the writing of the Constitution, but has been in retreat ever since, long before the internet.
Some argue that Monday's Supreme Court ruling in favor of American Express on Monday could make it harder for antitrust enforcers to take on big online platforms like Google, Facebook and Amazon.
Axios' David McCabe has a look at the ruling and how it can apply to two-sided marketplaces — a group that includes Uber and eBay, but also Google and Facebook (which link consumers and marketers) as well as Amazon (which connects merchants and customers).
Why it matters: The new ruling could make it more challenging to find anticompetitive behavior in many such businesses.
Go deeper: David has more here.
Among the benefits of iOS 12 is you can make your own "Memoji." Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
You won 't be able to buy the next iPhone until the fall, but you can try out the software that will power it — for free. Apple on Monday released a public beta of iOS 12 .
Initial impressions: It's only been a short time, admittedly, but so far the iOS 12 beta has been both zippy and stable.
Key features of iOS 12 include:
What is and isn't in the beta: Memoji and the Screen Time tools are there, while the shortcuts app is not. Some features, like ARKit 2.0, require developers to build their own apps using the features — so expect them to show up this fall.
Important caveat: This is beta software, so there are bound to be bugs. Apple advises people not to use this on their main device.
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Representatives from eight leading tech companies met last month with federal officials at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park to discuss ways to protect November's midterm elections, according to a New York Times report.
Why it matters: The companies at the meeting were a roster of industry power, including Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft. Two of them, Facebook and Twitter, have faced particularly strong criticism for failing to limit the spread of misinformation on their platforms during the 2016 presidential election.
What happened: Per NYT, the meeting was "tense," the companies did not receive much guidance or information from the government officials, and one company representative felt the industry was being left "on their own to counter election interference."
Illustration: Caresse Haaser/Axios
With the rise of scooter-sharing startups, China-based scooter maker Segway-Ninebot is looking to remain the manufacturer of choice by expanding into commercial-grade vehicles, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports.
What's happening now: With a growing demand from scooter-sharing services, Segway-Ninebot says it’s developing an “Intel Inside” approach to its business as a commercial supplier, developing a few products that can be lightly modified for customers, global sales VP Tony Ho tells Axios.
The details, per Ho:
Yes, but: Segway-Ninebot may still face some challenges, including competition from other scooter manufacturers and trade tariffs.
Go deeper: Read the full story here.
In case you need a little restoration of your faith in humanity, check out this 15-year-old girl using her sign language skills to help out a fellow passenger on board an Alaska Airlines flight.