Feb 1, 2020 - Technology

Tech trade group chief to join TikTok

Photo courtesy Internet Association

The president of tech trade group the Internet Association is stepping down to run TikTok's Washington policy shop, the organizations said Friday.

Why it matters: Michael Beckerman, the founding president of IA, is leaving the trade group at a time of turbulence for the industry to join a video sharing app that's also facing Washington headwinds.

Details: Beckerman will join TikTok as vice president of U.S. public policy in March.

  • He leaves IA after 8 years, having helped start the organization with 10 members in 2012. IA now has more than 40 members, including Google, Facebook and Amazon, and six offices working on federal, state and international policy.
  • Beckerman, a former adviser to Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), will join TikTok as it faces criticism from lawmakers over issues ranging from censorship to children's privacy.
  • "He’s never really rattled by big, stressful situations," said Mike Sommers, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, who knows Beckerman from their time on the Hill together. "There's no question that the pressure is only going to grow. I have no doubt he is going to thrive in the role."

Yes, but: The association's efforts under Beckerman haven't stemmed the tide of recent problems for its members.

  • Internet companies suffered a bruising fight and eventual loss when lawmakers altered a key liability protection to bolster anti-sex trafficking efforts.
  • And there has been a nearly steady stream of criticism of tech giants and calls for regulation in the last year over complaints on misinformation, political advertising, monopolistic behavior and other problems.
  • "As far as he’s leaving because of pressure on IA, that is not accurate," said an official with a member company. "It might appear that way to outside people, but it is not factually accurate."

What's next: IA general counsel Jon Berroya will serve as interim president while the association's board searches for a new leader.

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World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Brazil registered on Monday for the first time more deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day than the United States, Reuters notes. Brazil reported 807 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, compared to 620 in the U.S. for the same period.

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.6 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,900 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,490,954 — Total deaths: 345,962 — Total recoveries — 2,228,915Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,662,250 — Total deaths: 98,218 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Authorities issue warning as Americans venture out for Memorial Day weekend

Ocean City in New Jersey on May 25. Photo: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images

Authorities urged Americans to maintain social distancing and wear masks to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus amid reports of packed beaches and bars during the Memorial Day weekend.

Details: Law enforcement stepped up beach patrols, and there were crowded scenes in several places, notably at Lake of the Ozarks bars in Missouri and at Daytona Beach and on the Gulf Coast in Florida, per AP. Police dispersed crowds in some places, ABC notes. But many Americans did take precautions against COVID-19 as they ventured outside for the long weekend, some three months after the pandemic began in the U.S.