Sep 9, 2019

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 413 words, a 2 minute read.

1 big thing: The states come for Google

Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images

50 states and territories (not a typo!) are opening antitrust probes to determine whether Google's online dominance is limiting competition in online advertising.

  • On the list: 48 states plus Puerto Rico and D.C.
  • Off the list: California and Alabama.

Why it matters: The move by the states and territories represents a new, wide-ranging front in the government-led assault on Google's power, Axios Managing Editor Scott Rosenberg writes.

  • It also means that even if parallel probes by the Department of Justice and Congress fizzle out, some even more aggressive state prosecutors could carry on the fight.

The big picture: Big Tech is a target-rich environment for politicians. Conservatives claim they face discrimination by the platforms, and liberals claim the platforms' algorithms have elevated fringe conservative voices and conspiracies.

  • "Another group of 11 state attorneys general ... has commenced their own probe against Facebook, exploring whether it violates competition laws and mishandles consumers’ personal information." (WashPost)

Flashback: "Major investigations of industry titans like AT&T, IBM and Microsoft in the past were marathon endeavors, spanning years, and sometimes decades," the N.Y. Times reminds.

Bonus: Pics du jour
Photo: Tiziana FABI/AFP/Getty Images

Above: Pope Francis waves as he arrives prior to leading a mass at the Monument of Mary Queen of Peace in Mauritius, part of a 3-nation tour of Indian Ocean African countries hard hit by poverty, conflict and natural disaster.

Below: Female Muslim pilgrims of the Dawoodi Bohra community take part in a Bohra ceremony in Sri Lanka in the run up to Ashura, one of the holiest days in Shiite Islam.

Photo: Ishara Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images
2. What you missed
  1. President Trump says U.S. peace talks with the Taliban are "dead" after the group claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed an American service member. Go deeper.
  2. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed what he claimed was a covert nuclear weapons development site in Iran that was demolished in July after the Iranians realized it was compromised. Go deeper.
  3. The FDA sent a warning letter to Juul threatening fines and/or product seizure for misleadingly marketing its vaping technology — especially in its outreach to youths — as less harmful than cigarettes. Go deeper.
  4. Activist investor Elliott Management disclosed a $3.2 billion stake in AT&T, setting up a battle to oust CEO Randall Stephenson. Go deeper.
3. 1 fun thing

"Winemakers, particularly in newer wine-producing countries like Australia and the U.S., are toning down discussions about tannins and terroir—and trying to outdo each other with wine nests, floating golf holes, climbing walls, petting zoos, strange museums and 35-foot-tall rabbit sculptures," the WSJ reports.

  • This quote'll stick with you: “This is very much a human-sized nest. It towers over you when you’re in there," Australian Lucy Golding, who built "a 12-foot-tall sphere that resembles a bird’s nest," told the Journal.