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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Transportation official: Los Angeles is using driverless technology to improve pedestrian safety

Joann Muller (L) and Seleta Reynolds (R). Photo: Axios

Pedestrian safety sits at the forefront of planning for the adoption of autonomous vehicles in Los Angeles, the city's general manager of the Transportation Department, Seleta Reynolds, said on Tuesday during a virtual Axios event.

Catch up quick: Reynolds said that the lesson learned from working with auto manufacturers, software creators and USDOT for four to five years is "that we probably wouldn't be able to rely on [autonomous vehicles] to solve pedestrian safety, and instead, we would need to take those kinds of things back into our own hands."

12 hours ago - Technology

Facebook steps up hate speech crackdown, removing 22.5 million posts in Q2

Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Tobias Hase/picture alliance via Getty Images

Facebook took down 22.5 million posts for hate speech during the second quarter of this year, more than ten times the number it removed in the same quarter last year and more than twice the number removed in the first quarter of 2020.

Why it matters: The company is facing enormous pressure from the advertising and civil rights communities to address hate speech on its platforms. Last month, civil rights groups initiated a Facebook ad boycott that was joined by over 1,000 advertisers.

12 hours ago - Technology

Court: Qualcomm's "no license, no chips" policy isn't anticompetitive

Photo illustration: Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Qualcomm isn't harming competition when it forces device makers to license its technology in order to use its chips, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Why it matters: The decision, which comes from a three-judge panel in California's Ninth Circuit, tosses out a 2019 district court ruling that cast uncertainty around Qualcomm's business model and therefore the future of the smartphone industry.

Expert: Policy for autonomous vehicle industry is "like the Wild West"

Joann Muller (R) and Selika Josiah Talbott (L). Photo: Axios screenshot

A lack of federal policy has hampered the autonomous car industry's transparency with communities where the vehicles are tested, American University professor Selika Josiah Talbott said during a virtual Axios event on Tuesday.

What she's saying: "We need guidelines. Right now, it's like the Wild West. We need bumpers in place so we don't have rogue actions testing vehicles on the roadway and possibly causing harm to the general public," Talbott said.

15 hours ago - Technology

New initiative from Big Tech critics: Capping food delivery fees

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A group known for taking on Big Tech is biting into its next target: food delivery apps like Grubhub, UberEats, Postmates and DoorDash.

Driving the news: The Economic Liberties Project, in a new campaign it calls "Protect our Restaurants" launching Tuesday, is encouraging restaurants to lobby for local laws that cap the commissions these apps can collect.

Ina Fried, author of Login
15 hours ago - Technology

Firefox maker Mozilla to cut 250 jobs

Photo illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Mozilla, the nonprofit maker of the Firefox browser, told employees Tuesday that it is cutting 250 jobs, roughly a quarter of its workforce.

The big picture: Mozilla has been trying to get more of its revenue from subscription products, but said in an internal email that its pre-pandemic business plan is no longer viable.

Ina Fried, author of Login
15 hours ago - Technology

Using the internet to let the bands play on

A band plays together online using Elk's Aloha technology. Image: Elk

Swedish startup Elk is debuting a hardware-software combination on Tuesday named Aloha that allows musicians and bands separated by distance to perform together online using traditional wired internet connections and, eventually, 5G wireless networks.

Why it matters: Such technology was in the works before the COVID-19 pandemic and has become increasingly needed in an era where many bands are unable to meet in person.

Ina Fried, author of Login
15 hours ago - Economy & Business

Adobe: E-commerce growth slows as stores reopen

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

E-commerce sales are still way up compared to a year ago in the U.S., but growth moderated in July as more traditional stores reopened, according to fresh data from Adobe.

Why it matters: Undoubtedly some of the shifts to online shopping will be permanent, but the numbers suggest that consumers want to do a certain amount of their buying in-person.

16 hours ago - Economy & Business

Exclusive: Facebook cracks down on political content disguised as local news

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Facebook is rolling out a new policy that will prevent U.S. news publishers with "direct, meaningful ties" to political groups from claiming the news exemption within its political ads authorization process, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: Since the 2016 election, reporters and researchers have uncovered over 1,200 instances in which political groups use websites disguised as local news outlets to push their point of view to Americans.

Ina Fried, author of Login
16 hours ago - Technology

Nationalism and authoritarianism threaten the internet's universality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Governments around the world, prompted by nationalism, authoritarianism and other forces, are threatening the notion of a single, universal computer network — long the defining characteristic of the internet.

The big picture: Most countries want the internet and the economic and cultural benefits that come with it. Increasingly, though, they want to add their own rules — the internet with an asterisk, if you will. The question is just how many local rules you can make before the network's universality disappears.

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