Online platforms

Big Tech's shifting lobbying army

Illustration of a procession of lobbyists with suitcases
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The fast-evolving internet ecosystem is changing how tech companies form alliances to lobby policy-makers in Washington.

The bigger picture: Lines are blurring or becoming more stark among different tech, media and telecom companies. Telecom companies are producing content, while platform companies are exploring new services like internet connections. That means sectors are no longer staying in their lanes, and regulatory scrutiny is shifting.

YouTube's bogus Notre Dame-9/11 connection

Smoke rises from Paris' Notre-Dame Cathedral
The Notre Dame cathedral on fire on Monday. Photo: Philippe Wang/Getty Images

As YouTube viewers Monday followed the latest news updates from the fire at Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral, some saw a gray box at the bottom of their screens that had excerpts and links to encyclopedia articles on the 9/11 attacks.

The big picture: These "information panels" pop up automatically as part of a YouTube program aimed at combatting conspiracy-theory-style misinformation — but in this case they arguably promoted such theories instead.