Situational awareness: Login is late today to include the news that Google has announced its new head of policy. Story below.
More than half of Republicans believe it is "very likely" that social media platforms intentionally censor political views that they consider “objectionable,” according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.
Why it matters: Surveys show that Americans of all stripes don't always trust the information they receive from both mainstream media and Silicon Valley's online platforms. The trend is especially marked among Republicans, whose political and cultural leaders have attacked both institutions for years, Axios' David McCabe reports.
By the numbers:
But, but, but: There’s never been strong evidence that the people who created and operate the major social media platforms have actually built systemic political bias into them.
The big picture: 72% of adults say they can trust major technology companies to do the right thing only some of the time or hardly ever. But, 74% of people polled also said the impact of major technology companies on them personally was more good than bad.
Go deeper: The number of Americans in general who trust online news is dropping.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Google has hired Karan Bhatia as its new global head of policy to lead the company's policy discussions around major topics such as artificial intelligence, job creation and infrastructure, Axios' Kim Hart reports.
Why it matters: The global policy role has been vacant for some time, just as Google and other tech companies are dealing with increased scrutiny domestically and internationally.
Between the lines: Spending 10 years at GE means he is adept at navigating across teams in a large corporate environment — especially important at a place like Google where policy discussions have to span engineering, technology, marketing, communications, product development and government affairs teams.
The big picture: U.S. tech companies are moving fast into international markets while also trying to stay globally competitive as China and others make massive investments into areas like AI.
“We're thrilled to hire someone with Karan’s impressive experience in global policy. He’s a widely respected leader who will work with our teams to advocate for policies that encourage growth and innovation."— Kent Walker, general counsel, Google, in statement
Go deeper: Read Kim's full story.
Photo: Michele Tantussi/Getty Images
Trying to balance an open company culture against the pressures of Trump-era politics has proven quite the challenge for a number of Silicon Valley companies, most notably Google. Last week, the company rolled out new rules for internal debate, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Why it matters: The same dynamics that turned many public internet forums into free-fire zones between culture war antagonists and red state/blue state zealots have begun to roil the worlds inside Silicon Valley's walled gardens, Axios' Scott Rosenberg writes.
The background: Google found itself at the center of a firestorm last year after software engineer James Damore wrote a memo arguing that gender differences could explain why women are underrepresented in tech. Damore's memo went viral, spurring protests inside the company, and Google ended up firing him, which spurred further protests.
The rules: According to WSJ, the new community guidelines represent Google's first effort to set limits on expression in its halls and online discussion forums. They're broad, based on Google's values, open to interpretation, and designed to funnel conflict to human moderators.
The bottom line: Corporations aren't governments, but when they get large enough, they end up grappling with the same kinds of conflicts nations face.
Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images
After years of fireworks, the long-running Apple-Samsung patent dispute ended with a whimper on Wednesday. The two companies disclosed in a court filing that they had reached a settlement, though terms were not made public.
Our thought bubble: It's likely Samsung is writing Apple a sizable check, given that a federal jury just ruled in Apple's favor in the latest of several trials.
Yes, but: It's not the kind of victory that Apple was looking for when it filed the case back in April 2011.
Venture capitalist Mike Hirshland is launching an effort, called the Governance Project, to help cities and states make use of a portion of the 2017 Republican tax law that’s meant to boost economically struggling areas of the country.
The big picture: Supporters of these so-called Opportunity Zones established by the new tax law say they’ll encourage private investment where it’s needed most.
Flashback: The project emerged after the 2016 election, when Hirshland said he had “a sense that something was going terribly wrong with American politics and our political institutions.” His conclusion, he said, was that there needed to be a renewed focus on state and local governments.
They say no one wants to see how sausage is made, but it's quite entertaining to see how Asian noodles are made.