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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Facebook's decision to shift gears to focus on encrypted private messaging will either cement the social network's global dominance or end it.
Either way, it will change the way more than one-third of the world's population engages with the internet, Axios' Sara Fischer and Scott Rosenberg report.
Driving the news: The wording of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Wednesday announcement is a clear response to public outcry over Facebook's flawed custody of users' data.
Why it matters: But the shift, if it actually happens, could go a lot further than privacy principles. If the move from desktop to mobile brought us Facebook 2.0, a pivot from open networks to private ones would usher in Facebook 3.0.
The big picture: Transforming any product the size of Facebook is daunting. Dominant tech companies that pull it off extend their sway into new eras. Otherwise, they fade.
Driving cryptocurrency adoption: Facebook is reportedly working on making a cryptocurrency that will let users transfer money in WhatsApp, using what's being dubbed "Facebook coin."
Changing data storage: In his note, Zuckerberg conceded that these changes would make it difficult for Facebook to operate in some countries that are increasingly demanding platforms store users' data locally.
Tougher misinformation tracking: Encryption makes it even harder for researchers to track and study misinformation, and for platforms to limit it.
Redefining small business and micropayments: Facebook sees business as a prime market for the unified messaging service that it's building.
Be smart: The more information users exchange behind encrypted doors, the less data Facebook has to target ads.
Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
Huawei said Wednesday night that it has filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. government, challenging the constitutionality of a law that keeps it from selling its telecommunications gear here.
Why it matters: The U.S. has launched an all-out blitz aimed at stopping the Chinese equipment vendor from selling its current and future products throughout the world.
Details: Huawei is seeking an injunction as well as a declaration that the law being used to limit its sales, Section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act, is unconstitutional.
What they're saying: Huawei says the NDAA violates the constitution in several ways, including unfairly singling out the Chinese companies and violating Huawei's right to due process.
The big picture: This is the latest in a series of battles between Huawei and the U.S. government.
Go deeper: Read the lawsuit.
Apple said Wednesday it plans to hire 1,200 people over the next 3 years to staff its expanded offices in San Diego — home to chipmaker Qualcomm, with whom Apple is currently embroiled in a bitter legal battle.
By the numbers: That's 200 more than the company's original plan, and is in addition to the 600 people Apple already employs in San Diego.
Why it matters: The move comes as Apple is reportedly looking to beef up its in-house modem chip operations, although the iPhone maker stressed it is hiring for a wide range of engineering functions.
Between the lines: Apple's timing is impeccable, as the announcement comes just as a patent suit between Apple and Qualcomm goes to trial in San Diego.
The big picture: Apple, like other major tech giants, has been expanding its U.S. operations in an effort to capitalize on the fact that there are people with technical talent spread throughout the country and not everyone wants to deal with the Bay Area's sky-high housing prices.
A Bird electric scooter in Germany. Photo: Nicolas Armer/picture alliance via Getty Images
Scooter company Bird is finally rolling out its franchise program, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports. The program, first announced last fall, will provide select entrepreneurs with scooters and software for them to operate local scooter rental services.
The big picture: This could be a clever way for the company to outsource some of its growth into new markets. But it will also be interesting to see whether it’ll be a healthy business.
How it works: Entrepreneurs will purchase scooters through Bird at cost (meaning they’ll pay whatever Bird pays to its manufacturers, roughly $500 a piece). They'll also have free access to its software technologies, including its mobile apps, and management software on the backend.
The first such fleet will debut in Auckland, New Zealand, and more will roll out in that country, Canada and Latin America.
The Chicago Bears have a new kicker who is named Chris Blewitt.