In case you haven't heard, there's an election coming up.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
If bad actors attempting to manipulate elections weren't bad enough, tech companies are now seeing a growing threat in the final days before the U.S. midterm elections: Bad actors pretending they were able to manipulate the vote.
This was already on the list of things tech companies worry about, but now they are starting to see such operations in action, according to sources familiar with the companies' thinking.
Why it matters: The environment of distrust has most of America ready to believe that someone has stolen the election, and that makes it possible for meddlers to take credit for manipulation even when it hasn't happened.
Details: As evidence, sources point to a video that was posted late last month of a purported Russian troll farm whistleblower "confessing" to all manner of misdeeds.
Facebook and Google officials declined to comment.
The context: Concern about false claims of interference comes as the U.S. government, the Big Tech players and others are working overtime in an effort to thwart actual interference attempts, which continue as well.
Be smart: Experts caution people to be extra careful in the next 48 hours when they see stories about election interference. Make sure that the outlet reporting the news is credible.
The bottom line: After 2016's election interference, the government and tech industry made it harder for would-be overseas meddlers to use the same techniques this year.
President Trump facing Axios' Jim VandeHei (on left) and Jonathan Swan in an interview on "Axios on HBO"
President Trump told "Axios on HBO" his administration is looking seriously at antitrust investigations of Google, Facebook and Amazon. In the next breath, he argued they are great companies that he wants to help.
Why it matters: Trump's inconsistent approach toward Silicon Valley has had the world's most powerful technology companies on edge — and that's exactly where he wants them. But his wavering stance makes it difficult to set national priorities around serious tech issues, such as consumer privacy, data security and competition.
What he's saying: The following excerpts from the interview illustrate Trump's self-contradictions on this topic.
On the monopoly power of Google, Facebook and Amazon:
"I leave it to others, but I do have a lot of people talking about monopoly when they mention those three in particular ... We are looking at [antitrust] very seriously ... Look, that doesn't mean we're doing it, but we're certainly looking and I think most people surmise that, I would imagine."
On the EU's aggressive regulatory approach:
"The European Union takes a lot of money out of our companies and I actually went to my people and said 'you know, if they're gonna do it we should be the one doing it, not them.' These are our companies ... and they're great companies."
"I'm not looking to hurt these companies, I'm looking to help them. As far as antitrust is concerned, we'll have to take a look at that but I want them to do well. I want Amazon to do well. I want Google to do well. I want Facebook — I want all of 'em to do [well] — these are great companies."
Yes, but: Several of Trump's statements during the interview underscore some misunderstandings regarding existing tech policy...
EU taxes: He said the EU "taxes our companies terribly."
Obama era: When asked if he's considered breaking the companies up, he responded: "In fact a lot of people thought that it was gonna happen and then I guess the previous administration stopped it from happening."
Our thought bubble: Trump wants the companies to "do well" — but on his terms. He may not have much power to directly force policy action.
Read more of the full piece and watch the video here.
Gab, the "free speech" social network where the alleged Pittsburgh synagogue shooter posted about his plans, is back online.
Why it matters: The site was forced offline after being dropped by key infrastructure partners, including GoDaddy, Stripe and PayPal.
The latest: Gab tweeted over the weekend that it was returning to the web with a new hosting service — Epik.com. By Sunday night it was indeed back and, according to reports, once again home to a host of anti-Semitic comments.
Amazon is in "advanced talks" to tap Crystal City, Va., for its second headquarters, the Washington Post reports.
Details: The e-commerce company is in discussions with the city to decide "how quickly it would move employees there, which buildings it would occupy and how an announcement about the move would be made to the public," per the Post, citing people familiar with the process.
What they're saying:
What to watch: The company considered announcing its decision by the end of October, but has delayed until November, according to the Post.
Unicorns are rare. But you know what's even rarer? A unicorn landing the dismount.