Today's Login is 1,130 words, a 4-minute read.
Today's Login is 1,130 words, a 4-minute read.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Tech industry workers create powerful tools that amplify users' voices. Now they're getting vocal about how those tools are used — and employers are wondering whether there's such a thing as too much voice.
Why it matters: Tech workers are often echoing concerns that have already stirred in the rest of society — or are about to do so.
Driving the news:
Yes, but: Workers aren't speaking out everywhere. Apple and Amazon are known for expecting dissent to remain private.
The big picture: Tech companies recruit talented, idiosyncratic engineers, designers, and product managers by presenting them with inspiring missions and promising them a chance to "change the world."
What they're saying:
"Free speech and paid speech are not the same thing. Misinformation affects us all. Our current policies on fact checking people in political office, or those running for office, are a threat to what FB stands for. We strongly object to this policy as it stands. It doesn't protect voices, but instead allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy."
"Facebook's culture is built on openness so we appreciate our employees voicing their thoughts on this important topic. We remain committed to not censoring political speech, and will continue exploring additional steps we can take to bring increased transparency to political ads."
With this week's wildfires, Google is using the power of two U.S. satellites to provide a clearer and more updated view of how the blazes are spreading.
Why it matters: Official information can often be hard to find and presented in less than straightforward ways, especially for those trying to quickly assess their situation in an emergency.
What's new: Google is drawing on both near-infrared and visible spectrum images to create a map of the Kincade Fire in Northern California, which can be updated every 5–20 minutes.
It's then combining the map with other official information as part of its official page on the fire.
History lesson: Google has offered crisis response informally since at least 2005, with efforts growing and becoming more formalized over the years. Last year it began testing a flood prediction tool for India.
What's next: Google hopes to expand beyond the U.S. to offer similar alerts in other countries.
"We think natural disasters are only going to get bigger as climate change takes hold," said Pete Giencke, a product manager for Google search.
Sen. Josh Hawley. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley plans to spotlight risks to consumer data posed by foreign governments and cyberattacks in a hearing next month, amid rising concerns about Chinese social media firm TikTok, Axios' Margaret Harding McGill reports.
Driving the news: Hawley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee, will explore security concerns raised by social platforms that collect vast amounts of user data in a Nov. 5 hearing called "How Corporations and Big Tech Leave Our Data Exposed to Criminals, China, and Other Bad Actors," according to his office.
The big picture: Big troves of consumer data have become major corporate assets as well as targets for cyberattacks. Storing the data overseas makes it potentially subject to foreign law.
Meanwhile: China has finalized a $29 billion fund to boost its chip-making capabilities.
Lyft is dialing up its battle against rival Uber for customers' loyalty with a new monthly subscription option, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports. The new option — dubbed Lyft Pink — includes discounts on rides, free bike and scooter rides, and other perks.
Why it matters: Now that both ride-hailing companies are publicly traded, they need more than ever to boost their growth and margins and rein in losses, as investors demand a clearer path to profitability.
How it works: For about $20 a month, Lyft Pink subscribers will get:
Context: Rival Uber already has its own similar subscription, though it's a bit more expensive at about $25 per month (and with slightly different discounts and perks). Lyft also has other subscription products focused on car rides, but they will be phased out and replaced with this one.
Yes, but: These subscriptions usually only make sense for super users of the service — customers for whom the discounts and freebies will add up to more than the monthly fee.
The bottom line: The companies are battling for customers' loyalty as their services have become more and more commoditized in major U.S. cities, where riders often use both apps and order a ride from whichever is cheaper or can pick them up faster.