Mar 14, 2018

Axios Login

Ina Fried

Not only was my flight from Newark to SF not delayed, it arrived early despite snow in New York and rain in San Francisco. And, as a bonus, I also got to share it with Crisis Text Line and CEO Nancy Lublin.

YouTube enlists Wikipedia to cut conspiracy theories

Wojcicki, speaking Tuesday at SXSW. Photo: Jason Bollenbacher/Getty Images for SXSW

YouTube's latest weapon to crackdown on crackpots is to link people on an entirely crowdsourced encyclopedia. And yet, it's not as crazy as it sounds.

What's happening now: YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced at SXSW on Tuesday that it will include links to Wikipedia articles when showing videos on known conspiracy theories. Per the Verge:

"When there are videos that are focused around something that’s a conspiracy — and we’re using a list of well-known internet conspiracies from Wikipedia — then we will show a companion unit of information from Wikipedia showing that here is information about the event.”
— Wojcicki on a SXSW panel Tuesday evening

Meanwhile: YouTube also plans to limit the hours to four for the part-time contractors who screen for inappropriate videos, The Verge reports. The move comes amid criticism over the mental health impact of such work.

And: Google is following in Facebook's footsteps and is banning cryptocurrency and ICO advertisements, via CNBC.

Box CEO talks on upcoming Dropbox IPO

Box CEO Aaron Levie. Photo illustration: Axios Visuals

Box CEO Aaron Levie gives rival Dropbox credit for building a strong business, but tells Axois' Dan Primack that the two companies differ quite a bit.

"Despite the fact that both of our companies share files and despite the fact that they added 'box' to their name, the underlying structures of the (business) couldn't be more different," Levie says.

One difference: Box's financial metrics look a lot more like a typical enterprise software vendor, Levie says, than they resemble those of Dropbox.

"I was a little surprised that the paid user numbers [for Dropbox] was as low as it was, and I thought their upsell rate on the end-user product would be a little higher. But, at the same time, I also think it's impressive what they've done on the consumer side," Levie says.

Bonus fun fact: Levie went to the same high school as both the Box CFO and the Dropbox CFO.

Dan has more here.

Vivino taps former StubHub president as new CEO

Vivino's wine-scanning app. Photo: Vivino

Wine-curating app Vivino has hired former StubHub president Chris Tsakalakis to be its new CEO. He replaces founder Heini Zachariassen, who'll remain on the company's board and serve as "chief evangelist."

"Chris took over StubHub when it was just starting to change the way tickets for events were bought and sold," Zachariassen tells Axios. "During his 8 years as CEO, he grew tickets sold from $400 million to $3.1 billion, increased operating profit 15 times and expanded StubHub outside the United States."

The bottom line: Zachariassen says Vivino has similarly big growth ambitions, hoping to reach $1 billion in wine sales per year sometime "in the near future.” (Vivino said it has sold more than $100 million in wine since 2016.)

Rubin on Meerkat's 5 minutes of SXSW fame

Three years after his live video app Meerkat was all the rage at SXSW festival, Life on Air co-founder and CEO Ben Rubin can deal with its short-lived success (they later pivoted to Houseparty app). It was simply one of his company’s many steps in figuring out how to help people connect with each other and be present, he tells my colleague Kia Kokalitcheva.

Why it matters: While chatting with Axios at SXSW this weekend, Rubin discusses the current state of the social media market and problems facing companies. Many have been criticized for exploiting human psychology and having harmful effects on people’s mental health, something Facebook has begun to admit recently.

Kia has more here.

Social media questioned for role in gun violence

Social media is being drawn into the gun debate, and one of the industry's top lobbyists will be grilled by lawmakers at a Senate hearing today, David McCabe and Haley Britzky report.

Why it matters: The Parkland shooter reportedly made violent references in social media messages before the shooting. Exploring the role of web platforms or video games in gun violence lets Republican policymakers direct the conversation away from new firearm restrictions while tapping into general rising concerns about the effects of tech on society.

Expect Michael Beckerman, who represents Google, Facebook and Snap as head of the trade group Internet Association, to defend the industry’s record on child safety issues. Via a statement, Beckerman said:

"The tragedy in Parkland had many warning signs, and we welcome the opportunity to highlight the proactive ways our platforms work with law enforcement to prevent tragedies and after they happen.”

Go deeper: Find more detail, including what some senators are saying, here.

NY snowstorm in slo-mo via Samsung Galaxy S9
New York snowstorm. Gif: Ina Fried/Axios

I still think the Super slo-mo mode on the Samsung Galaxy S9 is largely a party trick — but it's a darn fun one. I've used it to capture skateboarders doing tricks, a bird making a getaway and, most recently, to take a little bit of snow home from New York.

More: You can get a flavor for it in the GIF above, but it's better appreciated in video form. (Here's a YouTube video of it.)

Take Note

On Tap

Trading Places


  • RIP Stephen Hawking.
  • The South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba, launched Abacus, an English-language news site covering China's tech scene.
  • Apple announced its annual WWDC developer event will take place June 4–8 at the San Jose convention center. Expect t0 hear about the next versions of iOS and MacOS, though Axios readers already know that some features have been delayed in order to focus on quality.
  • Running tracker Strava announced changes after complaints its heat map feature was disclosing the locations of sensitive places such as military facilities. However, as The Verge notes, it's unclear the changes will actually prevent the reoccurrence of such issues.
  • IMF chief Christine Lagarde wants to "fight fire with fire" when it comes to the use of cryptocurrencies and tokens for illegal activities like money laundering. Lagarde called for the use of blockchain technology along with biometrics, artificial intelligence, and cryptography to enforce know-your-customer requirements.
  • An upstart cybersecurity research group and trading firm claimed Tuesday that security flaws in AMD computer processors "could potentially put lives at risk." But many in the security community say the widely covered report was dangerously overhyped in an attempt to drive down AMD's stock price, Axios' Joe Uchill reports.
  • Chinese AI isn't beating the U.S. yet — and may never catch up, Axios' Steve LeVine explains.
After you Login

As my colleague David Nather points out, only in D.C. would Sen. Mark Warner get swarmed and Apple CEO Tim Cook could travel unnoticed.

Ina Fried