Hi from D.C. Don't worry, I brought my jacket. And gloves. And hat. And scarf.
Execs from Facebook, YouTube and Twitter head to Capitol Hill today to answer questions from the Senate's influential Commerce Committee about how they handle terrorist content. This follows hearings last fall on Russian election interference in two other panels.
Who’ll be there:
What to watch: All three companies declined to comment. They'll likely try to stick to the talking points they've honed in the debate over extremist content online here and abroad. Still, lawmakers are sure to take advantage of being able to ask questions of execs who have expert knowledge of their respective online platforms, unlike the firms’ general counsels who testified in November and mostly spoke to company policies rather than content specifics.
Separately, Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt dropped by the West Wing yesterday for a few meetings with senior officials, Axios’ Jonathan Swan reports. He discussed 5G with at least one official.
Meanwhile, WSJ's Greg Ip today takes on the transcendent question of whether there's an antitrust case against Amazon, Google and Facebook. At least for now, "there isn't a clear case for going after big tech," he writes.
Kevin Durant has built his own YouTube business and plans to expand. Photo: Thirty-Five Media
Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant already has his own thriving YouTube business. Now he wants to help other athletes get in on the act.
What's happening: Durant's Thirty-Five Media (named for his jersey number) is launching channels for All-Pro NFL cornerback Richard Sherman, Warriors teammates JaVale McGee and Nick Young, and Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns. Sherman's channel debuted in November with the Seattle Seahawks star making his first in-depth comments post-surgery.
Brand expansion: Thirty-Five Media's Rich Kleiman told Axios that it's a way for popular athletes to connect with fans and take advantage of shorter-term endorsement opportunities. "Everyone can’t be Kevin [Durant] or LeBron [James] where they just have a constant incoming [stream] of brand deals," he said.
VR on tap: Kleiman said virtual reality is definitely something Thirty-Five Media is looking into, even if only a few people are using the technology today. "I’m looking forward to incorporating that for sure into our content strategy."
I knew people hate dealing with tech support. I know I hate dealing with tech support. But a new survey reveals just how much.
By the numbers: According to Israeli tech support firm TechSee, 70% of people would rather go to the dentist than deal with the hassle of having a technician come to their house to deal with a problem.
The bottom line: At least the dentist doesn't give you a 4-hour window for your appointment.
Conventional wisdom holds that one of the great uses of VR is to increase empathy by literally putting someone in another person's shoes.
Yes, but: A new essay raises questions about that notion, suggesting VR could actually do harm in helping people relate to those with different experiences.
It's a long read, but here is the case against VR as empathy machine, in a nutshell.
After getting a glimpse of the interface used by emergency management officials in Hawaii, it's less surprising that a ballistic missile warning was erroneously sent out. And more surprising it didn't happen sooner.