D.C. readers, it's your last chance to take part in a busy week of Axios events. Tomorrow, Mike Allen and Bob Herman host a conversation on the cost of innovation in the health care ecosystem. RSVP here.
Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images
If the latest scandal over Facebook and data sharing shows anything, it's how little Facebook and Washington, D.C., understand about the way the other works.
The issue: Facebook had deals with device makers that gave them broad access to create their own Facebook-powered experiences within their devices. Facebook confirmed on Tuesday that among the device makers were four Chinese firms including Huawei, which has been accused of sharing information with the Chinese government.
What D.C. doesn't get: The partnerships Facebook had were pretty much standard at the time as phone makers looked to build support for services from Facebook, Twitter, Google and others into their devices. Nor were they a secret.
"I’m willing to hear more, but if the data never left the devices, I don’t understand what the security risk is here."
What Facebook doesn't get: The company has very little credibility in D.C., especially when the topic is sharing data with others.
"This could be a very big problem. If @facebook granted Huawei special access to social data of Americans this might as well have given it directly to the government of #China".
Not helping its case: Facebook didn't do itself any favors on this question by refusing for more than a day to say which Chinese firms it had deals with.
The bottom line: Facebook may not even have done anything wrong this time, but its tone-deafness has it in hot water once again.
Sen. Mark Warner. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Mark Warner may be one of Facebook's loudest critics on Capitol Hill, but the Virgina Democrat isn't ready to call for the breakup of the social network or any other Big Tech company.
The bottom line: It’s growing more common among the industry’s critics on the left to call for the breakup of Big Tech — not unlike how AT&T was handled decades ago — but that's still far from the mainstream thinking among policymakers.
The most important antitrust question regarding Facebook is whether it's possible for newcomers to enter the market, Warner said after the Axios event yesterday. He added:
Yes, but: Echoing comments he made at Code Conference last week, Warner said that he’s worried that regulations on American tech companies might simply clear a path for their Chinese counterparts to dominate markets.
Go deeper: David McCabe has more here.
Photo: Axios Visuals
Amazon’s new Magic Word feature rewards kids who are polite to Alexa.
Why? There's a good reason to teach them manners, app developer Ken Yarmosh tells Axios: When kids bark orders at digital assistants, that behavior could easily transfer to real human relationships.
The big picture: Digital assistants, while useful, also raise big ethical questions about what role they should play in our current and future homes, especially for the nearly 40 million Americans who already use smart speakers.
Watch more: Learn more via this fun video from my Axios colleagues.
Separately: Amazon announced Tuesday that Alexa and the Echo are now available in France.
You'd think that with a keynote that stretched more than two hours Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple would have been able to touch on all the big news. But, as is often the case, some announcements, either inadvertently or deliberately, didn't make it into the first news cycle.
Plus: Lauren Goode at Wired got a couple more details from Apple's software exec Craig Federighi on the company's plan to eventually allow iOS apps to run on the Mac.
Stripe co-founder and CEO Patrick Collison. Photo: AOP.Press/Corbis via Getty Images
As I scooped yesterday, payment processor Stripe plans to soon begin detailing the requests it gets from government agencies to hand over customer data.
Why it matters: The move follows a call by the Electronic Frontier Foundation for the company and its rivals to issue such transparency reports.
"We've supported the mission of the EFF for years and have been working since 2012 to increase transparency in the payments industry. We intend to build on this and publish a Stripe transparency report in the near future."— Stripe statement to Axios
What's next: Neither PayPal nor Coinbase, which were also called out by the EFF, said they had any plans to begin releasing transparency reports.
Congrats to the Florida St. softball team, which won the Women's College World Series last night. And check out this amazing catch and double play from FSU's Jessie Warren.