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Peter Thiel. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Investor Peter Thiel's charge Sunday that Google is in bed with China apparently wasn't a one-off attack. As Scott Rosenberg, Joe Uchill and I report, it's increasingly looking like the first shot on a new front in the war between Trump's Washington and Silicon Valley.
Why it matters: Tech companies are already defending themselves against charges of privacy invasion, political bias and monopoly power. Now, they're being accused of being unpatriotic.
Driving the news: This morning, President Trump tweeted that his administration will "take a look" at Thiel's claims.
Yes, but: Neither Thiel nor anyone else has backed up these charges with evidence, and Google denies them.
The big picture: Thiel threw his bombshell only days after Trump gathered conservative social media stars at the White House to gripe about tech-platform "censorship" — and just ahead of another round of congressional hearings on Big Tech.
Between the lines: Thiel claims that "Google is working with Communist China, but not with the U.S. military, on its breakthrough A.I. technology."
Threat level: China is widely believed to engage in extensive intellectual property theft, and Lonsdale claimed that Google's open, "academic" culture leaves it easy prey to China.
What they're saying: Inside Google, sources tell Axios that Thiel’s accusations were met with little concern over their merits — and with renewed annoyance toward an already disliked figure within the company.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans will face scrutiny in 2 congressional hearings this week, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports. Facebook is sending exec David Marcus in an attempt to abate lawmakers’ concerns.
The big picture: Facebook’s foray into cryptocurrency has caught the attention of Congress like no previous cryptocurrency. As Fed chairman Jerome Powell said last week, any problems with Libra "would arise to systemically important levels just because of the mere size of the Facebook network."
On the docket: Facebook will testify in front of the Senate Banking Committee later today and before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.
What to watch: There’s no shortage of questions for lawmakers to delve into this week, but a few topics will likely emerge as priorities during the hearings...
What they’re saying: “Facebook will not offer the Libra digital currency until we have fully addressed regulatory concerns and received appropriate approvals,” Marcus says in his prepared testimony for the Senate hearing.
What’s next: Don’t be surprised if Congress schedules more hearings about Libra, especially since there are 27 other companies and organizations involved in the project, including major payments providers like Visa and Mastercard.
Go deeper: Facebook spoils the cryptocurrency party
David Bell. Photo: Flipboard
Flipboard is adding advertising veteran David Bell to its board, the company tells Axios' Sara Fischer and me. Bell will replace venture capitalist Danny Rimer, who has been on Flipboard's 3-person board for a decade, but recently moved to London.
Why it matters: The shakeup comes as the news reader app company prepares to transition more of its advertising business from display advertising to native advertising. Bell is considered a titan of the ad industry and could help Flipboard as it tries to get more serious about making money.
Details: Bell, the former chairman of ad agency Interpublic Group, joins Flipboard founder and CEO Mike McCue and Kleiner Perkins chairman John Doerr on the board.
The big picture: Flipboard has been close to profitability for a few years, per McCue. The company has long put most of its energy toward content and technology, but is increasingly focused on the business side, starting with a renewed push for native advertising.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Twitter apparently decided that a weekend tweet from Trump telling 4 Democratic congresswomen to "go back" to where they came from (3 of them were born in the U.S.) didn't warrant any sort of warning notice.
Why it matters: Twitter has come under frequent criticism for not enforcing its terms of service when it comes to hate speech.
The big picture: Twitter announced last month that it would start labeling — but not banning — certain tweets from political figures who violate its rules. Twitter won't say whether the tweet in question did or didn't violate its rules.
The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, reveals Alan Turing as the new figure to be depicted on the 50-pound note. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
The Bank of England is putting mathematician and computing pioneer Alan Turing on its new 50-pound note.