Mar 18, 2019

Axios Login

There was a lot that happened Friday and over the weekend. Let's help you get caught up and ready to start the week.

1 big thing: Facebook struggles to turn the page

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

After a brutal week for Facebook that saw executive departures, a massive outage and the disclosure of a criminal investigation, the weekend offered the company little respite.

There were new revelations in the long-running Cambridge Analytica saga, as well as fresh concerns in the wake of the New Zealand shooting over the company's role in fomenting and amplifying extremism.

Why it matters: 10 days ago, CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a massive reorientation of Facebook's priorities in the direction of private encrypted messaging. But rather than change the narrative, the time since that announcement has been filled with a familiar drumbeat of bad news.

The latest:

  • The Guardian reports that Facebook board member Marc Andreessen met with Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie back in the summer of 2016, raising further questions of who knew what and when at Facebook. Andreessen denies any such meeting.
  • Meanwhile, another figure in the scandal, researcher Aleksandr Kogan, sued Facebook for defamation. Kogan maintains he's being made a scapegoat for Facebook's own missteps.
  • Facebook came under intense scrutiny for the role it and other social networks played in spreading video of the Christchurch mosque shooting Friday.
  • The company's announcement that it pre-emptively blocked 1.2 million out of 1.5 million attempts to upload the video highlighted the magnitude of the challenge it faces. But it did little to quell concern that the company seems unable to stop its platform from being used to spread extremist violence.

ICYMI: All this follows what had already been an especially rough week, even for a company that has grown accustomed to negative stories. Last week saw...

The bottom line: Facebook has been through a lot of rough weeks without losing its grip on advertisers, customers and investors, and the latest developments may not change that equation.

  • Zuckerberg's challenge now is to figure out if he can use the ongoing PR nightmares to speed, rather than undermine, the transformation he wants.
2. Mixed rulings in Qualcomm-Apple fight

The legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple is far from over. But some of the first key rulings are coming in. So far, it's a mixed bag.

  • Last week, a judge issued a preliminary ruling that Qualcomm owes Apple $1 billion in royalty payment rebates. However, that ruling is part of a broader case that has yet to go to trial. Furthermore, Apple's contract manufacturers have already been withholding money that covers the amount in dispute.
  • A day later, a jury in another case ordered Apple to pay Qualcomm $31 million for infringing on 3 non-standards essential patents. Perhaps more importantly, it put a dollar value on those patents, saying they are worth roughly $1.41 per device.

Why it matters: This is one of the most high-stakes legal fights in tech featuring 2 giants of the industry, both of whom are used to getting their way.

Go deeper: Four takeaways from Apple and Qualcomm's big patent fight (CNET)

3. Case: Bringing startup culture to "next level"

Steve Case in Denver for "Rise of the Rest" tour. Photo: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Steve Case has been riding on a bus around the country looking for startups for several years now.

What's new: His "Rise of the Rest" tour got some of its broadest national exposure yet Sunday as "60 Minutes" devoted a segment to the effort to broaden startup culture to more places across the U.S.

  • The newsmagazine highlighted the work that Case and J.D. Vance have done as well as some of the 116 companies they have funded through their $150 million seed fund.

What they're saying: In an email, Case tells Axios he hopes the attention will help "take 'Rise of the Rest' to the next level."

"We’re also hopeful more investors in places like Silicon Valley will hit the road as well," he says. "Startups are the bigger job creators, and we need to create jobs everywhere, so more Americans have a reason to be hopeful about the future.”
4. Lyft offers a lesson in scooter etiquette

Lyft gave clinics in "Scootiquette" — scooter etiquette — at the South by Southwest festival (SXSW) in Austin this week, Axios' Erica Pandey reports.

Details: "You're not really an asshole," the booklet says. "The madness of scootopia? It's not your fault."

Photo: Lyft

A few key pointers: Stop for crosswalks and puppies. Don't park in trees.

Go deeper: How Los Angeles wants to manage bikes and scooters with data

5. Take Note

On Tap

  • Game Developers Conference takes place all this week in San Francisco.
  • Y Combinator's Winter Demo Day takes place today and tomorrow in San Francisco.

Trading Places

  • Howard Schultz has hired former Instagram analytics head Mike Develin to be the chief analytics officer for his presidential bid.


6. After you Login

Meet Tanitoluwa Adewumi. He's an 8-year-old chess champion. And a refugee. And homeless. And learned to play chess less than a year ago.

"Tani is a reminder that refugees enrich this nation — and that talent is universal, even if opportunity is not," NYT's Nicholas Kristof writes.