With today's missive I conclude this stint as stand-in for Ina. Thanks for welcoming me to your inbox! Login will now take a one-week break and return, refreshed, Monday Aug. 26. In the meantime, visit Axios.com for all the breaking tech news.
Today's newsletter is 1,185 words, or a 4-minute read.
Illustration: Sarsh Grillo/Axios
The backlash against giant tech companies is stressing the public institutions tasked with examining their power as participants, observers and critics question whether regulators have the skill, will and authority to check corporate forces.
Why it matters: The machinery of antitrust regulation will process the broader conversation about tech's role in society through the mill of American politics and law — and some wonder whether it's up to the task, Axios' David McCabe writes.
Driving the news:
Context: Regulators are grappling with a moment where people across the political spectrum are increasingly distrustful of large tech corporations and the men and women they’ve turned into billionaires.
Flashback: Earlier this month, a White House draft plan surfaced that would, per CNN, narrow the shield protecting platforms from liability for users’ content.
The big questions:
What they’re saying: Some lawmakers have raised the prospect over the past year of either giving the regulators more power — or reorganizing the whole system.
Read David's full story.
Instagram logo. Photo: Alvin Chan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Instagram is adding new tools for users to be able to report when they see something false posted, according to a company spokesperson.
Why it matters: These updates are a part of a bigger investment by Instagram to reduce the spread of misinformation on the platform, which is reportedly a hotbed for conspiracy theories and fake news, ahead of upcoming elections, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
Details: Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, will begin rolling out the option to report false posts on the platform to all users by the end of the month.
Instagram recently debuted a pilot program in the U.S. that allows fact-checkers to rate content on Instagram, according to Stephanie Otway, a Facebook company spokesperson.
What's next: Otway says that when the company finds misinformation on Instagram, it will filter it out of places where people can discover new content on the platform.
The new, free weight-loss app Kurbo by WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) is drawing strong criticism, Axios' Rashaan Ayesh reports.
Why it matters: Body activists and members of the medical community responded to the announcement on Twitter, claiming the app could cause children to develop obsessive or unhealthy relationships with food and eating disorders.
Driving the news: A petition is calling for the free app to be taken down, describing Kurbo as "dangerous, irresponsible and immoral."
What they're saying: WW is standing by the app, saying the app focuses on building healthy habits rather than counting calories, and that the company has "decades of expertise in scaling science-backed behavior change programs, uniquely positioning us to be part of the solution of childhood obesity."
Cloudflare, which provides network and security support, filed Thursday to go public in a $100 million offering likely to value the company in the billions.
Driving the news: Cloudflare has recently made headlines for withdrawing support for 8chan, an anonymous forum used by several recent mass shooters to distribute manifestos. It had previously cut off support for The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi site.
Our thought bubble: Lawyers draft IPO filings to include every possible "risk factor" under the sun to forestall future shareholder lawsuits, so it's hardly surprising to find these controversies listed in Cloudflare's prospectus.
Game maker Activision Blizzard has hired David Messinger, a veteran of CAA, as its chief marketing officer. (Variety)
I've always associated August with the word "doldrums," and that's just one letter off from "Doledrums," the 1984 pop gem by New Zealand's The Chills. The bittersweet ode to unemployment may prove timely again if this week's recession tremors turn serious. Meanwhile, enjoy the video for its madly retro look and timeless closing harmonies.