Jul 17, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 571 words, a 2 minute read.

Situational awareness: Netflix had a bad quarter, losing domestic subscribers and adding just 2.7 million international users vs. an expected 5 million. [CNBC]

1 big thing: New squeeze for Facebook, Amazon

Big Tech got squeezed from both sides of the Atlantic today:

  1. The EU will investigate how Amazon creates products that compete with offerings from outside merchants on its site. Go deeper. "Brussels is also poised to conclude a four-year probe into US chipmaker Qualcomm by fining the company for abuse of dominant position." [FT]
  2. Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have found common ground: Big Tech is too powerful and needs to be knocked down a peg. Go deeper.

One example: Facebook is facing a lot of scrutiny from Congress over its plans for its Libra cryptocurrency, largely because lawmakers worry the social media giant could have too much control over it, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva emails.

  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio): "They moved fast and broke our political discourse. ... Now Facebook asks people to trust them with their hard-earned paychecks."
  • The other side: The company has been emphasizing that it will be governed by an independent body, of which Facebook will be a member.
  • Facebook exec David Marcus told Congress today the company "will take the time to get this right." [AP]

The big picture: As this year opened with a wave of congressional scrutiny of tech, privacy legislation seemed the most likely outcome.

  • Now, the conflict has broadened onto much wider terrain, Axios' Ina Fried wrote in this morning's Login newsletter.
  • And Europe — where France just passed a 3% digital tax on and where GDP is a part of life — has long since moved past the thinking phase to the regulating stage.

Why it matters: While it’s not out of the “all talk” stage yet, the conversation has moved from broad condemnation to more specific ways tech could be regulated, Axios’ David McCabe reports.

What's next: Tomorrow, executives from Snap, Match Group, Salesforce and Mozilla will brief members of the Senate Judiciary Committee behind closed doors as part of the panel’s new tech task force that hopes to tackle issues like privacy and data security.

Bonus: Pic du jour
Illustration: Elizabeth Williams via AP

In this courtroom sketch, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, foreground right, reads a statement through an interpreter.

  • The Mexican drug kingpin was sentenced to life in prison today.
2. What you missed
  1. The outcry over affordable housing shortages in America's fastest-growing cities masks an equally devastating problem: persistently high rates of vacant and blighted housing in cities of all sizes. Go deeper.
  2. Today is World Emoji Day, and the good news is that the digital encapsulations of our world are starting to better reflect the world itself. Go deeper.
  3. "U.S. overdose deaths last year likely fell for the first time in nearly three decades, preliminary statistics suggest." [AP]
  4. Experts predict lower-income residents will be priced out of their neighborhoods by Amazon HQ2. One of the most vulnerable pockets is the Latinx community in Arlandria. Go deeper.
3. How firefighters saved Notre Dame

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

In an extraordinary feature, the N.Y. Times documents the saving of Notre Dame:

  • "That Notre-Dame still stands is due solely to the enormous risks taken by firefighters in those third and fourth hours."
  • "Disadvantaged by their late start, firefighters would rush up the 300 steps to the burning attic and then be forced to retreat. Finally, a small group of firefighters was sent directly into the flames, as a last, desperate effort to save the cathedral."
  • “'There was a feeling that there was something bigger than life at stake,' said Ariel Weil, the mayor of the city’s Fourth Arrondissement, home to the cathedral, 'and that Notre-Dame could be lost.'"

Worthy of your time.

Mike Allen