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Good morning from Lisbon, where media and tech executives are gathered for the annual Web Summit. I'll be interviewing Microsoft President Brad Smith and Edelman CEO Richard Edelman. Tune in.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Not enough is being discussed about how free speech is among the hottest 2020 presidential election topics, Axios' Alison Snyder and I write.
In the Trump era, Republicans have found a way to leverage the loose freedoms of social media to gain an upper hand in some elections.
Conservatives are focusing their political attacks on censorship, arguing that Democrats and liberal firms are out to censor their speech to voters.
Between the lines: Hate speech has become another political flashpoint, with Democrats and Republicans sparring over whether their political perspectives are fair game online.
Be smart: The free speech debate is also an entry point for politicians to talk about regulating Big Tech. Unlike with machine learning bias or anti-competitive behavior, the harm from lying in political ads is easy for voters to understand and legislators to act against.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
The Heritage Foundation is preparing to unveil a video today that slams YouTube for alleged censorship, sources tell Axios.
Why it matters: The video will be the first public acknowledgment of a months-long, behind-the-scenes dispute between the conservative think tank and the tech giant.
The bottom line: YouTube removed the video, which features a doctor making a comment about transgender issues, as a violation of its hate speech policies.
DAZN is on the cusp of a major U.S. live sporting events acquisition spree, sources tell Axios.
Driving the news: DAZN will be producing a rematch between YouTube influencers KSI and Logan Paul this Saturday.
The big picture: The news comes as the company begins to ramp up production of its original programming and plans on making nearly all of its non-live content available for free off-platform, sources tell Axios.
More young teenagers use TikTok than Facebook, according to a new report from Morning Consult.
Why it matters: TikTok is following a familiar trajectory, beginning with beating out Facebook as a more popular app for young teens.
Driving the news: TikTok "unveiled new tools to let third-party developers integrate their content onto its platform, seeking to deepen ties in the U.S." between app developers and the platform, Bloomberg reports.
The big picture: The news comes on the heels of policymaker concerns that the Chinese-owned app could be a national security threat to Americans.
Meanwhile, news organizations, brands and celebrities are all rapidly flocking to the platform, in search for their next digital big audience.
Legendary Hollywood filmmaker Martin Scorcese is clearing up controversial comments he made last month that Disney's Marvel movies are "not cinema" and instead are akin to theme park rides.
Why it matters: Scorcese's comments reflect a greater sentiment of old-guard Hollywood pushing back against the franchising of action films and the greater digitization of movies in today's cinema landscape.
Driving the news: In an op-ed in The New York Times yesterday, Scorcese argued that with Marvel movies, there's "nothing at risk" and no "revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger."
The big picture: The comments come as more digital Hollywood firms, like Netflix, push the boundaries of how soon they can release their Oscar hopeful films on their own digital platforms after first releasing them in theaters, to be eligible for awards.
The bottom line: The economics don't mode well for the theater chains, but they aren't miserable either. U.S. cinema revenue continues to plateau as ticket prices increase, suggesting that theater-viewing isn't dead yet. Digital movie-viewing, however, continues to skyrocket.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The 2020 presidential election is being fought online at a level we've never seen before, eclipsing the airwave's traditional dominance.
By the numbers: Roughly $152 million has been spent so far, per political advertising research firm Advertising Analytics.
Between the lines: The split so far between Facebook and Google leans heavily to Facebook — $56 million vs. $31 million.
Total ad spend:
Digital ad spend:
Axios has a new dedicated section for media news on our website. We publish updates there throughout the week between newsletters to keep you caught up with all of the latest news. Here's what you missed from us over the past week:
Gradients, or rainbow designs, are the hottest new trend to hit tech and media.
Flashback: The trend seems to have kicked off in 2016, when Instagram famously unveiled its updated gradient camera logo.
The big picture: According to design experts, the trend seems to be a rebuke to the simplistic design trend that captured the early 2000's, when web logo simplicity was more functional.