Pittsburgh mourners after the synagogue shooting. Photo: Aaron Jackendoff/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
The last week proved that hate still abounds in America, and also that social media continues to fuel it.
Case #1: Twitter and the mail-bombs
The letter-bomb campaign suspect had been reported to Twitter for having made a direct threat against a political commentator two weeks ago, but Twitter responded that he hadn't violated the company's terms of service.
Twitter took down the account after the accused bomber was in custody and eventually apologized for not taking action on that initial report.
"We made a mistake when Rochelle Ritchie first alerted us to the threat made against her. The Tweet clearly violated our rules and should have been removed. We are deeply sorry for that error."— Twitter statement
Case #2: Gab and the Pittsburgh shooting
The Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect had been a frequent poster on Gab, a less widely known social media platform that dubs itself as a "free speech" advocate. Gab, which was started as an alternative for extremists who found that Twitter was beginning to banish them, tends to allow violent hate speech as long as there aren't specific attacks directed at particular individuals.
The tech industry took some more concrete steps here. Microsoft had quietly cut ties with Gab a month ago, forcing it to find a new hosting provider. After the shooting, PayPal cut ties with Gab, followed by Stripe. Hosting providers Joyent and BackBlaze also cut services to Gab, pushing the site offline by Sunday evening.
Meanwhile: Twitter critics noted just how much hate speech has remained up on the site.
Advocates of free speech online long argued that it's good to keep extremists' activities out in the open, and sunlight is the best disinfectant. But too often social networks have turned out to be toxic environments where the fumes blot out the light instead.
The bottom line: On social media today, false narratives spread, bigotry intensifies, and sometimes entire plots are hatched. Tech's platforms have become hate-speech amplifiers, and their owners, especially Twitter, haven't shown they have a handle on the problem.
Photo: Alvin Chan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
IBM announced Sunday it would acquire Linux specialist Red Hat in a deal valued at a staggering $34 billion in cash and debt. That works out to $190 per share, a hefty premium to where the software maker has been trading,
It's IBM's biggest ever acquisition, and among the four largest tech deals ever, per CNBC's Steve Kopack.
Why it matters: IBM has been shifting for years away from mainframes and servers to selling software and services that bring recurring revenue. Red Hat, which charges corporate clients for custom-built Linux offerings, fits into that strategy.
The move comes as others are also doubling down on Linux, including longtime rival Microsoft, which just completed its $7.5 billion GitHub purchase and recently joined an effort that helps protect open source by sharing patent rights.
What they're saying:
The bottom line: IBM pitched this as a deal to lead the hybrid cloud of the future, while critics said it was buying yesterday's big technology. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Global investors have pumped $4.2 billion into autonomous driving-related companies in the first three quarters of 2018, according to data from CB Insights.
The big picture: The $4.2 billion figure doesn't include all the funds automakers are investing into developing their own new tech, notes Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva. A Brookings Institution report last year estimated that from August 2014 to June 2017, a total of nearly $80 billion was invested in the area by the auto industry and venture capitalists.
The bottom line: The promise of autonomous driving has led investors — and automakers — to open their checkbooks wide to ensure they’re part of the future of transportation.
What's next: "Venture investors have begun to target early-stage startups working on specific AV use cases, such as managing a logistics AV fleet or enabling last-mile deliveries, rather than the technology underpinning autonomous mobility," Synapse Partners founder Evangelos Simoudis writes for Axios Expert Voices.
Two Latin American scooter rental startups, Grin in Mexico and Ride in Brazil, have merged and will operate under the Grin brand, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports.
Why it matters: Just as happened in the ride-hailing industry, scooter (and bike) rental companies will likely consolidate as the global competition keeps intensifying.
For those who aren't into the World Series, it's more fun when you use computer graphics to transform the baseball into a beach ball.