Technology

Why it matters: From the Valley to D.C., Big Tech players like Facebook, Google and Amazon are under more scrutiny than ever as new technology develops and privacy and antitrust concerns grow in lockstep with companies’ ambitions.

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Lyft has its first operating profit (but remains unprofitable)

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Ride-hailing company Lyft posted its first-ever profit on an adjusted EBITDA basis on Tuesday, along with $765 million in revenue for Q2 and a loss per share of $0.76.

Why it matters: The company now expects to reach full-year adjusted EBITDA profitability this year. With investor pressure to see gig economy companies get in the black, Lyft said in 2019 it would reach this milestone by the last quarter of 2021 (and that was before the pandemic forced everyone home for several months).

A new round in Electronic Arts' executive pay fight

EA CEO Andrew Wilson. Photo: Martina Albertazzi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

An investor group that has for over a year been critical of how Electronic Arts' top people are paid says it is only partially satisfied by the company's latest pledges.

Why it matters: EA shareholders issued a rare "no" vote on the company's executive pay last summer, and EA has laid out measures to address that.

Activision Blizzard employees say HR department failed them

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Following a lawsuit filed by California against Activision Blizzard, allegations of harassment, misconduct, and assault continue to emerge from people who point to the company's HR department as being part of the larger problem.

Why it matters: Sources say the company's culture favors a clan mentality and functioned under a broken HR department that undermined and discounted victims' experiences, and did not protect their identities.

Updated 9 hours ago - Economy & Business

Exclusive: Facebook's first-ever paid movie premiere

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

For the first time ever, a film distributor will use Facebook to debut a movie exclusively via a ticketed live event, executives tell Axios.

Driving the news: "The Outsider," a controversial documentary about the construction of the 9/11 Museum in Manhattan, will premiere publicly on Facebook for $3.99 on Aug. 19.

Blizzard president J. Allen Brack stepping down amid scandal

Photo: Blizzard

Blizzard president J. Allen Brack is out at Blizzard, two weeks after being named in an explosive lawsuit by the state of California involving misconduct at the company.

Why it matters: This is the most concrete reaction Activision Blizzard management has taken since the scandal broke and one taken in advance of executives taking live calls from analysts later today.

Updated 16 hours ago - Technology

Study: Social media giants failing to remove most antisemitic posts

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking virtually during a March House Energy and Commerce Subcommittees hearing on a laptop computer in Tiskilwa, Illinois. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Five social media giants failed to remove 84% of antisemitic posts in May and June — and Facebook performed the worst despite announcing new rules to tackle the problem, a new report finds.

Driving the news: The Center for Countering Digital Hatred (CCDH) notes in its study that it reported 714 posts containing "anti-Jewish hatred" to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and TikTok — which were collectively viewed 7.3 million times. These "clearly violated" company policies, according to the CCDH.

Industry leader calls for unionization

"State of Decay 2." Screenshot: Undead Labs/Microsoft

The call for game developers to unionize is now coming from a voice close to the top. On Friday, former Blizzard senior programmer and three-time studio founder Jeff Strain released a letter encouraging his own developers to unionize.

Why it matters: Unionization is often mentioned by industry pundits and workers themselves as a crucial maneuver to empower the people who make games, but it’s been a non-starter at most studios.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Aug 2, 2021 - Technology

Nonbinary trans WNBA player to keynote women's tech conference

Layshia Clarendon. Photo: David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Anitab.org, the group behind the annual Grace Hopper conference, is announcing Monday that among its keynote speakers will be Layshia Clarendon, an out transgender and nonbinary basketball player for the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx.

Why it matters: Organizers say it's part of a broader effort by the conference to be both inclusive and intersectional, recognizing that the challenges faced by women in tech are tied to those that other underrepresented groups encounter.

Aug 2, 2021 - Technology
Column / Tech Agenda

The push for a "PBS for the internet"

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The concept of a new media ecosystem that's non-profit, publicly funded and tech-infused is drawing interest in policy circles as a way to shift the power dynamics in today's information wars.

Why it matters: Revamping the structure and role of public media could be part of the solution to shoring up local media, decentralizing the distribution of quality news, and constraining Big Tech platforms' amplification of harmful or false information.

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