It was a very short trip to D.C., but it was great to see my current colleagues at Axios and a bunch of former colleagues at Twitter's D.C. happy hour yesterday.
The good news for you is that while my flight back to San Francisco will take around 5 hours, today's Login is only 1,445 words and should take 5 minutes to read.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
The Federal Communications Commission is expected to advance a proposal today that would allow Americans to reach a national suicide prevention hotline by dialing 988, as Axios' Margaret Harding McGill reports. The move comes amid widespread concern about the country's rising suicide rate.
The big picture: Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., with more than 47,000 deaths by suicide in 2017. With this proposal, the FCC is aiming to make it easier to reach crisis services and reduce the stigma around suicide and mental health emergencies.
Details: FCC chairman Ajit Pai's proposal asks for comment on establishing 988 as the three-digit number that would connect callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a hotline to a nationwide network of local crisis centers.
Why it matters: The Trevor Project found that 96% of hotline callers, when contacted afterward, reported feeling a de-escalation of suicidal thoughts following their calls. The FCC's proposal says a 1% reduction in U.S. suicides would save 470 lives a year.
Yes, but: The FCC's proposal does not consider letting people text 988 to connect to the hotline — in part because the Lifeline doesn't currently support text-message communication.
What's next: The FCC will have to vote again to finalize the proposal once it's done collecting comments. The agency projects it will take 18 months to get the number up and running after that final vote.
Editor's note: This piece has been changed to reflect more sensitive wording to describe suicidal thoughts. Also, we've clarified that it's text messages that Lifeline does not support — there is a web-based chat option.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Jack Dorsey's plan to fund an open source network standard left many people scratching their heads as to what Twitter's CEO hopes to accomplish.
Why it matters: Twitter is under pressure to better crack down on bots, hate speech and misinformation, but it is unclear how open standards will help address any of these issues.
Driving the news: In a series of tweets, Dorsey said that "BlueSky" is a new project to create an open decentralized social network standard that Twitter might ultimately use itself.
"Twitter is funding a small independent team of up to five open source architects, engineers, and designers to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media," Dorsey said. "The goal is for Twitter to ultimately be a client of this standard."
History lesson: Past efforts to take on proprietary social networks with open standards have failed to reach mainstream success.
What they're saying:
Photo: Interim Archives/Getty Images
San Francisco-based maintenance workers for Spin, a scooter rental company owned by Ford, have voted to unionize and join a local Teamsters chapter, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports. The move makes them the first in the scooter industry to do so.
Why it matters: Scooter companies ruffled a lot of feathers when they showed up in San Francisco (and other cities), which has long been skeptical of tech companies using independent contractors to skirt some labor costs.
The big picture: Spin initially began operating in San Francisco in the spring of 2018, along with rivals Bird and Lime, before all three companies were forced off the streets by regulators.
Between the lines: Spin began working with the Teamsters months ago while it was waiting for the San Francisco transportation agency to issue operating permits (it did not get one for an earlier pilot program, in part for poor labor practices), as the San Francisco Examiner reported at the time.
Google on Wednesday offered a roundup of its efforts to keep census misinformation from infesting YouTube, search, ads and other products. It's the latest signal from a tech platform looking to show it's taking the 2020 census seriously, as Axios' Kyle Daly reports.
Why it matters: Census results from 2020 will be used to draw political districts in 2022, shaping democratic representation in the U.S. for a decade.
At Google, ads and YouTube videos that misinform people about when or how to take part in the census are banned, per a Wednesday blog post.
At Facebook, COO Sheryl Sandberg promised in June that "we're going to treat next year's census like an election."
On Twitter, the service bans false or misleading information about elections and other civic events (like the census).
What's next: The Census Bureau will conduct its count by mail, phone, the internet and in-home visits next year, primarily in the spring.
I can't give you a snow day off of work, but I can give you otters playing in the snow.