If you read this newsletter really, really slowly, it will be the weekend by the time you are done.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Advocates and experts are worried that an Amazon Neighbors app, used by owners of Ring security cameras to upload videos for neighbors to see, could entrench racial discrimination and violate people's privacy, David McCabe reports.
Why it matters: The Neighbors app is striking deals to partner with police departments across the country.
Driving the news: Last week, journalists on Twitter noticed Ring was hiring an editor — prompting concerns that Amazon was stoking community fears to sell security systems. (Amazon bought the company last year.)
How it works: People with and without Ring cameras can download the Neighbors app. It features a feed where users can post videos and photos from their cameras, file reports of activity they think is suspicious and read crime reports from the app's “News Team.”
Details: The Neighbors app highlights multiple concerns about what happens when you build digital platforms for neighborhoods, particularly those that aim to spotlight crime, said multiple advocates and experts.
What they’re saying: The burdens of increased video surveillance and fears stoked by the apps will fall on people of color, who are already more likely to face police discrimination. Ring has also filed patents related to facial recognition, technology that can notoriously reflect racial bias.
Ring's response: "We realize that there are many intricacies involved in fighting crime and facilitating community discussions and are always looking at ways to further develop and enhance our services," the company said in a statement.
Go deeper: David has more here.
While not the earliest to beat the blockchain drum, Microsoft is starting to embrace the distributed ledger technology, both inside the company and for its customers.
Meanwhile: Guthrie took issue with an anonymous former Amazon executive quoted in an otherwise flattering Bloomberg BusinessWeek cover story on Microsoft who said Azure was the Minnesota Twins compared to AWS, which was likened to the New York Yankees.
"If they want to claim they are the Yankees, I'd like to claim we are the Red Sox," he said. "Obviously we are the two big cloud competitors."
Photos: Getty Images
Facebook announced on Thursday it will ban a string of people from its platforms deemed "dangerous." The list includes Milo Yiannopoulos, Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones (and InfoWars), Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer and Paul Nehlen.
Why it matters, per Axios' Sara Fischer: Facebook has for years been hesitant to outright ban these actors, due mostly to the fact that they didn't explicitly violate Facebook's loose content rules. But real-world hate crimes are putting pressure on Facebook and other platforms to crack down on pages and accounts that have repeatedly shared false information or hate speech.
Details: In addition to banning their personal accounts, Facebook also said they are banning other accounts and pages associated with the individuals.
"We've always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today."— Facebook spokesperson, to Axios
Flashback: Alex Jones was banned temporarily by Facebook back in July 2018.
Our thought bubble: Your move, Twitter?
Verizon, seeking to shore up the business end of its sprawling media unit, which owns AOL and Yahoo, is looking to sell off Tumblr, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Between the lines: Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg has made clear he expects the media business to stand on its own. Expect more changes ahead.
Be smart: Verizon probably doesn't want the publicity that would come from transferring the business to a porn site, so expect any buyer to be decidedly PG-rated (maybe PG-13).
A parrot, supposedly trained to warn drug dealers of police activity, is in custody. Unfortunately for the cops, it refuses to sing like a canary.