22 hours ago

Axios Login

By Ina Fried
Ina Fried

My editor was asking how I come up with these intros. I'll tell you what I told him. It's a complex process, and if I told you any more I'd have to kill you. And I really don't want to lose any readers. Or editors.

Today's Login is 1,346 words, a 5-minute read.

1 big thing: Dark clouds envelop feel-good Pinterest

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Pinterest set out to be a bright spot in cutthroat Silicon Valley, but now stands to see its reputation forever tarnished by allegations of mistreatment and a toxic culture by women who held senior roles at the company, Axios' Ashley Gold reports.

Why it matters: Even a company known for progressive policy decisions and successfully combating hateful and otherwise problematic content isn't immune to the systemic problems that have plagued many tech companies.

Driving the news: Former Pinterest COO Françoise Brougher is suing the company for, she says, firing her in retaliation for speaking up about perceived gender bias.

  • Brougher, formerly of Square and Google, learned she was paid less than male colleagues and that her equity grants were treated differently, she wrote in a Medium post Tuesday detailing her experience of being fired.

Context: Brougher's public reveal of her Pinterest saga comes after Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks left the company in May. Ozoma and Shimizu Banks, who are Black, shared in detail their experiences of racist and sexist comments from co-workers, unequal pay and pushback for speaking out.

What they're saying: "It is shocking how closely the experiences Françoise detailed compared to mine when you consider her seniority, leadership and wealth of experience," Shimizu Banks, who had been Pinterest's first Washington, D.C.-based employee as public policy and social impact manager, told Axios.

Some former employees are now calling for for Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann to step down. One former Pinterest employee told Axios reading Brougher's post was "triggering."

  • "For too long, Ben has claimed to not understand what's going on at his own company," the former employee, who asked not to be named in fear of retaliation, told Axios. "The time is up for Ben Silbermann."

The other side: "We remain committed to advancing our culture to ensure that Pinterest is a place where all of our employees feel included and supported," said a Pinterest spokesperson, adding that the company is reviewing Brougher's complaint and takes "all concerns brought to our attention seriously."

Flashback: Pinterest announced at the end of June that law firm WilmerHale would conduct an independent review of its workplace culture. Lawyers from WilmerHale are working on the direction of a special committee of Pinterest's board.

The bottom line: Unlike many Silicon Valley rivals, Pinterest has been able to avoid scandal and maintain a low profile. But as more employees speak out, the company is beginning to get a taste of the public scrutiny that so many other big social networks grapple with daily.

2. Big Tech pushes voting amid election concerns

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Tech giants are going all-in on civic engagement efforts ahead of November's election to help protect themselves in case they're charged with letting their platforms be used to suppress the vote, Axios' Sara Fischer and Ashley report.

Why it matters: During the pandemic, there's more confusion about the voting process than ever. Big tech firms, under scrutiny for failing to stem misinformation around voting, want to have concrete efforts they can point to so they don't get blamed for letting an election be manipulated.

Driving the news: Google announced Thursday a number of voting-related initiatives.

  • New Google Search features will direct people to verified information when they search for "how to vote" or "how to register."
  • Soon, when people search for federal or presidential candidates on YouTube, they'll see an information panel with candidate information.
  • Google is also updating its political ads transparency report to include more information about paid ads on its platforms and is meeting regularly with government agencies on threats.

Twitter said it plans to, within the next month, start rolling out tools, policies and partnerships to help users register and prepare to vote by mail, as well as find local early voting options.

Snapchat is rolling out a slew of new tools and features to help prepare young people to vote in the November election. The new "Voter Registration Mini" tool, for example, lets users register to vote directly in Snapchat.

  • It's also posting a new "Voter Guide" with information about topics like voting by mail, ballot education and voter registration.

Facebook launched a voter information hub earlier this year to direct users to credible information about the election. CEO Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook aims to help register 4 million people to vote.

  • It has begun labeling posts from presidential and congressional candidates about voting, regardless of whether they contain misinformation. The labels direct users to government resources with information about voting.

Between the lines: Many have argued the companies don't take misinformation from elected officials, including President Trump, seriously enough.

3. Exclusive: Poll reveals data privacy frustrations

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Americans using digital services would gladly switch to companies that are more committed to data privacy, according to survey results shared exclusively with Axios' Kyle Daly.

Why it matters: It's the latest sign people are frustrated with the digital status quo, even as companies make efforts to give users more control over how their data gets collected, stored and used.

Details: The survey of 1,018 Americans, conducted in June, found people want more control over what happens with their personal information and think existing tools seem outdated and should be easier to use.

  • The company behind the survey is Transcend, which builds data privacy dashboards used by firms including Patreon and Robinhood.

By the numbers:

  • 93% of Americans would switch to a company that prioritizes their data privacy.
  • 91% would prefer to buy from companies that always guarantee them access to their data.
  • 88% are frustrated that they don’t have more control over their data.
  • 73% reported finding the process of downloading their data from a company "outdated"; 32%, "hard"; 32%, "confusing."
  • About two-thirds said they want to be able to choose what data companies can and can't collect.
4. Sister of slain tech CEO speaks out

Fahim Saleh. Photo: Courtesy of Saleh family

Ruby Angela Saleh, the sister of Fahim Saleh, the young tech CEO who was killed last month, is sharing her story in hopes people will know her brother as more than just the subject of a tragic headline.

The big picture: Fahim Saleh's 21-year-old former assistant, Tyrese Haspil, has been charged with the murder and has pleaded not guilty, per CNN.

What she's saying: In a moving Medium post, Saleh talks about her memories of her brother as well as what it was like to see him reduced to headlines like "CEO Found Dismembered In Manhattan Apartment."

  • She recalls the younger brother she helped feed and diaper in Bangladesh, the family's move to the U.S., Fahim as a budding tech entrepreneur who produced income-generating web sites starting at age 13 and the still-young CEO planning for a future that was cut short.

Go deeper: It's a beautiful tribute and worth a read. You can also hear Ruby Saleh tell her story in this video.

5. Take Note

On Tap

  • It's International Left-Handers Day, so shout out to all the lefties out there — including my son Harvey and Axios' own Scott Rosenberg, who is off for the next 10 days for a well-deserved vacation.

Trading Places

  • Adam Candeub, a controversial figure with reported ties to white nationalists, has been tapped as acting head of the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, according to an internal email shared with Axios.
  • Travel tech startup Pangiam hired Phil Landfried as an executive partner and Howard Kass, formerly of CLEAR, as general counsel. Landfried, a 28-year Customs and Border Patrol veteran, most recently led that agency's office of information technology.
  • TechNet hired former PwC policy advisor Carl Holshouser as senior VP of operations and strategic initiatives.

ICYMI

  • Lyft earnings topped expectations, though revenue fell 61% from the same period last year. (Axios)
  • A federal appeals court upheld FCC rules limiting cities' ability to negotiate with telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon that want to install thousands of 5G antennas. (Axios)
  • Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says the company will have to shut down its operations in California for several months if the company is forced to reclassify drivers as employees. (CNBC)
  • Meanwhile, Axios' Naomi Shavin spoke with Mike Isaac of the New York Times (Hi, Mike!) on the "Axios Re:Cap" podcast to discuss the latest in that battle over ride-share driver classification.
  • Apple is reportedly readying a set of bundles to encourage more users to join prescription services like Apple Music and Apple TV+. (Bloomberg)
  • Executives from companies including Apple, Disney and Intel told White House officials that President Trump's executive order meant to ban WeChat could sabotage their business in China. (Wall Street Journal)
6. After you Login
Screenshots: Perfect Play

A new app called Perfect Play uses a smartphone and augmented reality to deliver soccer lessons and tips from players on the Chelsea Premier League football team. It's iOS for now, with an Android app in the works.

Ina Fried