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Heads-up: Every quarter Axios journalists highlight the trends they are watching in politics, energy, science, technology, business and more. As a subscriber to this newsletter, you'll see that in your inbox from Mike Allen tomorrow. The topic: "A brewing storm for big tech."
Today's Login is 1,240 words, a 4-minute read.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
The U.S., along with the U.K. and Australia, has sent a letter to Facebook asking it to halt implementation of end-to-end encryption tech in its services, in order to keep messages accessible to law enforcement.
Why it matters: The request marks the latest twist in a long-running debate over encryption, with some arguing for government backdoors and others maintaining that there is no way to provide them without compromising security and privacy.
The big picture: Facebook's pivot to encrypted messaging, announced last winter, is raising tons of questions, from how the company will make money to how to combat child pornography, human trafficking and cybercrime.
Asked about the issue at an employee Q&A Thursday (which Facebook broadcast publicly), CEO Mark Zuckerberg said one reason the company announced the move toward encrypted messaging years ahead of actually doing so was to consult with law enforcement and child safety groups on how best to mitigate potential harms.
What they're saying:
History lesson: The FBI got into a huge fight with Apple in 2016 after the company refused to rewrite iOS to make it easier for the government to crack the encrypted phone of the San Bernardino shooting suspect. The conflict never really got resolved, as the FBI found another way in.
Separately: Facebook launched Threads, a new unencrypted messaging app for Instagram, on Wednesday. The move is seen as another effort to duplicate the success of Snapchat.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Tech giants, TV networks, and even transit companies are all struggling to figure out how to managing political ads ahead of the 2020 election. While some firms choose to run lots of political and issue ads with little oversight, others opt to ban them altogether, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
Why it matters: Absent strict government regulation of political ads across all media, the decision over how to manage those ads is left to companies.
Driving the news: TikTok, the Chinese-owned viral karaoke app, said Thursday that it would ban political ads because they don't fit the company's goal of creating an "entertaining, genuine experience" for users.
That position is unusual compared to its Big Tech competitors in the U.S.
Yes, but: Facebook, Google and others have faced enormous scrutiny for letting groups buy ads that promote false or misleading claims.
Be smart: It's not just Big Tech that's grappling with these decisions.
The big picture: Traditional media companies have had years to develop rigorous political and advocacy advertising guidelines and approval processes.
35% of global industrial plants have no response plan in case of cyberattacks, according to a survey conducted by Siemens and the Ponemon Institute, Axios' Joe Uchill reports.
Why it matters: The consensus among cybersecurity experts is to treat breaches as inevitable and plan ahead for resiliency. That can be particularly important in industrial systems, where physical safety and plant operations can hinge on the uptime of single systems.
The report sampled 1,726 employees of industrial companies scattered around the globe.
By the numbers: Only 42% of respondents rated their readiness for cyber attacks as "high."
Simonovich said there were 3 key problems that appear to plague industrial cybersecurity.
WeWork parent We Company confirmed to its employees on Thursday that significant layoffs are in the offing, according to a source. Bloomberg and others had reported that cuts were coming and Bloomberg also reported on Thursday's employee meeting.
Why it matters: The cuts comes as the newly installed co-CEOs look to return the company to its core co-working business. As we reported earlier this week, the company is looking to sell or spin off at least 5 of its recent acquisitions.
Yes, but: A source familiar with the matter said the cuts will be less than the 25% reported by Business Insider as possible. Bloomberg pegged the cuts as in the neighborhood of 2,000 employees, or 16% of staff.
Meanwhile: HP says it plans to cut 7,000 to 9,000 jobs through layoffs and early retirements amid weakness in its printer business.
Sorry, son, that's unsweetened chocolate.