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Illustration: Greg Ruben / Axios; Photo: Noah Berger / AP

Silicon Valley's most prominent companies are running a gauntlet in Washington this week: top staffers from Facebook, Google and Twitter will be confronted by three Congressional panels on Tuesday and Wednesday about the role their platforms played in Russian election meddling.

  • Expect Democrats to push especially hard — with questions not just about the Russian advertisements that have dominated discussion so far. They're also worried about the so-called "organic" content that could have been pushed out, for free, on the pages run by Russian operatives.
  • Also watch for questions about what the companies are going to do to stop future attempts at foreign election interference, potentially as soon as next week's election in Virginia.

For your calendar: The companies appear before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Tuesday afternoon, and in front of both House and Senate Intel on Wednesday.Why it matters: It's rare for these companies to testify publicly about anything, let alone an issue as grave as foreign attempts to sway an election.

The other coast: The Russia issue is being discussed at the highest levels in the Valley's glassy corporate campuses. But it becomes a more serious issue if the bad press starts to affect how many people use the platforms — which is the core of their lucrative ad businesses.

Go deeper

"No-code" miracle for startups

Expand chart
Data: Interactive Advertising Bureau; Table: Axios Visuals

The U.S. has reached a tipping point in its shift from the industrial economy — one that relied on the buildout of hardware — to an information economy that relies on the transfer, storage and implementation of data, according to a new report.

Why it matters: This shift towards a data and information-based economy has allowed more businesses to establish themselves and scale quickly and at a very low cost. As such, the number of jobs created by the commercial internet has more than tripled since 2012.

Amazon's small business shield

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Amazon is touting the success of small sellers on its platform through the pandemic — and warning that antitrust legislation could jeopardize that success and blow up its open-marketplace model.

Why it matters: As online shopping became a lifeline for both businesses and consumers during the pandemic, Amazon reaped big benefits, but also saw its regulatory risk grow.

The new cold war panic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The world has seen a power struggle between nuclear powers before, and has seen those countries inch closer to military conflict. But it's never before seen a cold war between two countries as interconnected — with each other and with the rest of the globe — as the U.S. and China.

Why it matters: Escalating antagonism between the world's two superpowers is likely to hinder global cooperation to fight climate change, divert resources to costly arms and tech races, complicate diplomacy for U.S. allies, and victimize Chinese and American citizens living in each other's countries.