Amazon advertises its Cyber Monday sale last year. Photo: Kena Betancur / VIEWpress / Corbis via Getty Images

"Tackling the Internet’s Central Villain: The Advertising Business" — N.Y. Times "State of the Art" column by Farhad Manjoo":

[T]he online ad machine is ... a vast, opaque and dizzyingly complex contraption with underappreciated capacity for misuse — one that collects and constantly profiles data about our behavior, creates incentives to monetize our most private desires and frequently unleashes loopholes that the shadiest of people are only too happy to exploit.
  • "And for all its power, the digital ad business has long been under-regulated and under-policed, both by the companies that run it and by the world’s governments."
  • "In the United States, the industry has been almost untouched by oversight, even though it forms the primary revenue stream of two of the planet’s most valuable companies, Google and Facebook."
  • Why it matters: "Socially, politically and culturally, the online ad business is far more dangerous than I appreciated."

Go deeper

There's little consensus on TikTok's specific national security threat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok has become a Rorschach test for how U.S. politicians view China, with little consensus on the specifics of its threat to homeland security.

The big picture: Much of what D.C. fears about TikTok is fear itself, and that's reflected in President Trump's executive order to ban the app by Sept. 20 if it's not sold by parent company ByteDance — alongside another focused on Chinese messaging app WeChat and its parent company Tencent.

U.S. sanctions Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam

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The Treasury Department on Friday placed sanctions on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, following months of tension as she has allowed continued overreach by Beijing to subvert Hong Kong's autonomy.

Why it matters: It's the toughest sanction yet imposed on China for its destruction of Hong Kong’s relatively free political system.

GM's high-stakes electric move

The Cadillac Lyriq. Image courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac on Thursday unveiled the Lyriq, the luxury brand's first all-electric model and GM's first consumer electric vehicle unveil since the Chevy Bolt several years ago.

Why it matters: It's the first reveal by GM of an electric vehicle that will use the company's new modular platform and Ultium battery system — technologies meant to underpin the 20 electric vehicles that GM plans to launch by 2023.