I'm off today for Yom Kippur, so thanks to Scott Rosenberg for helping finish things up.
Today's Login is 1,384 words, a 5-minute read.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
The tech industry spent the last two decades connecting the world and getting computers into every home and hand — but that's turning out to have been the easy part. Now, every problem tech companies face is fiendishly hard, Scott writes.
Driving the news: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) unloaded on Facebook Monday:
"Facebook has incredible power to affect elections and our national debate. Mark Zuckerberg is telling employees that he views a Warren administration as an 'existential' threat to Facebook. The public deserves to know how Facebook intends to use their influence in this election."— Warren, on Twitter
Why it matters: The last time presidential candidates were warning about interference in U.S. elections, the interloper was Russia. Now, it's Facebook — and the entire industry it sits atop.
The big picture: Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple have entered a world where their product innovations and profit margins are beginning to matter less than their ability to navigate treacherous political, social, and ethical rapids.
1. Security vs. privacy
2. Promoting freedom abroad vs. regulation at home
3. The lure of convenience vs. the value of resilience
4. The ideal of transparency vs. the reality of disinformation
Our thought bubble: The tech industry still commands such a reserve of money and talent that it might find a path through this maze.
The bottom line: Policymakers and engineers are both accustomed to making and living with tradeoffs, but someone has to make a final call over where these choices land. The fight now is over who that will be: companies, governments, or the public.
Twitter disclosed Tuesday that it "unintentionally" allowed some users' email addresses and phone numbers to be used to match them with marketing lists even though the information had been provided for account security.
Why it matters: It's the latest example of a tech company misusing user data.
"We cannot say with certainty how many people were impacted by this, but in an effort to be transparent, we wanted to make everyone aware. No personal data was ever shared externally with our partners or any other third parties."— Twitter blog post
But, but, but: The information was used to help tailor which advertising some users saw.
"As of September 17, we have addressed the issue that allowed this to occur and are no longer using phone numbers or email addresses collected for safety or security purposes for advertising."
Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images
The Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday released the second volume of its report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, focusing on the social media disinformation campaign led by the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency, Axios' Zachary Basu reports.
Why it matters: The report, which provides further bipartisan evidence of Russia's election meddling in 2016, finds "the IRA sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election by harming Hillary Clinton's chances of success and supporting Donald Trump at the direction of the Kremlin."
The big picture: As one of its recommendations, the committee calls on the Trump administration to "reinforce with the public the danger of attempted foreign interference in the 2020 election."
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
In less than 48 hours, 3 American companies in the business of mass entertainment have found themselves at the center of a political storm about China's aggressive censorship, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva and Sara Fischer write.
Why it matters: Media and entertainment have long acted as extensions of free speech with a mass reach, making them both vehicles for public expressions of controversial views and targets of government censorship.
Driving the news: Most visibly in the press, the National Basketball Association is currently facing the wrath of the Chinese government after a team's general manager expressed support for Hong Kong protesters and the league has refused to denounce him. But there's more:
It's no surprise that Hollywood is treading carefully around the Chinese government given its large market's importance to Hollywood.
In contrast: American companies have a history of bending to China's requests in the name of preserving their access to its market — but these are usually related to censorship for Chinese customers, or other less visible requests.
The big picture: This is all happening against the backdrop of an ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China.
What's next: Some are calling for U.S. regulators to reconsider TikTok parent company Bytedance's acquisition of Musical.ly, the American short-video app it acquired in 2017 from growing fears it will censor American users in accordance with its political speech preferences.