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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Rideshare companies say driver shortage is pushing prices up

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's not just you: Uber and Lyft rides are more expensive, company executives said this week.

Why it matters: Demand for rideshare is roaring back as the economy starts to reopen, but the same can't be said for drivers on the apps. That means fewer cars on the road, causing a supply gap that's pushing up prices.

Nintendo's disastrous Wii U proves to be the Switch's secret weapon

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nintendo's worst-selling home console, the Wii U, continues to be the source for some of its biggest hits on the record-setting Nintendo Switch.

Why it matters: With the Switch, Nintendo is putting on a clinic about how to turn prior failure into fortune as it repurposes games from the disastrous Wii U and tries selling them again on its newer hit device.

Resident Evil Village mods let players fight their childhood icons

Image: Crazy Potato "Count Theodora" mod

If you loved Thomas the Tank Engine as a kid, consider pasting his face onto Lady Dimitrescu's big tall body with Crazy Potato's "Countess Theodora" mod for "Resident Evil Village."

The intrigue: "Resident Evil Village" is currently only available as a timed, hour-long demo, but that hasn't stopped modders from turning beloved childhood characters into eldritch terrors.

Investigation shows paid campaign flooded FCC with fake comments

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A New York Attorney General investigation Thursday found that 18 million of the 22 million comments submitted to the FCC during the 2017 rollback of federal net neutrality rules were fake, with millions of fraudulent comments funded by a broadband industry campaign.

Why it matters: Federal agencies are required to take public comments into account while developing regulations, but gaming the system with fake comments distorts public opinion and compromises the process' integrity.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
8 hours ago - Technology

Amazon Web Services looks to help clean energy startups take flight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched a "clean energy accelerator" this morning to help advance startups with climate-friendly technologies.

Why it matters: It's the latest step in the tech sector's expanding climate work, even as the industry remains under pressure from activists over its work with oil-and-gas clients.

9 hours ago - Technology

Exclusive: YouTube spending $7 million on 2 new journalism programs

Photo Illustration: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

YouTube is spending $7 million to fund two new programs to help journalists looking to build an audience on YouTube, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: It's the first time YouTube is spending money to fund journalism independently of the $300 million Google has dedicated to journalism programs through its Google News Initiative.

Ina Fried, author of Login
12 hours ago - Technology

IBM says it has produced world's first 2-nanometer chips

2 nm technology as seen using transmission electron microscopy. Photo: Courtesy of IBM Research.

IBM announced today it has reached a milestone in semiconductor manufacturing, producing chips with wiring just 2 nanometers thick.

Why it matters: Chips with thinner wiring typically consume less power and boost performance, while also taking up less space, reducing cost. The IBM process is still a couple years from being ready for full-scale manufacturing.

No one in Washington is happy with Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Oversight Board's decision Wednesday to uphold Facebook's suspension of former President Trump found few fans in Washington and exposed the company to a new round of attacks.

Why it matters: While the board urged Facebook back to the drawing board to better define its rules and processes around political speech, political actors on both left and right agree that the social media giant already has too much power.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
12 hours ago - Technology

Two tales of jobs in tech hubs

Expand chart
Data: Indeed; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Jobs are coming back more slowly in America's top tech centers than in other cities — but it's not the tech jobs that are lagging, according to a new analysis from the jobs site Indeed.

What's happening: Pandemic-era remote work is still keeping white-collar workers in tech hubs at home, and that's slowing down the recovery of local shops and restaurants in those communities.

12 hours ago - Technology

Oversight Board knocks Facebook for "lazy" Trump referral

Axios: Sarah Grillo

The independent Oversight Board sent former President Trump's suspension from Facebook back to the company Wednesday because it found Facebook's original referral of the case to be "lazy," a member of the board told Axios.

What they're saying: "We felt it was a bit lazy of Facebook to be sending over to us a penalty suggestion that didn't exist in their own rulebook, so to speak, in their own community standards," said former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, an Oversight Board member, at an Axios event.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
20 hours ago - Technology

The economic benefits of closing the digital divide

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A new report makes the case that closing the gap in broadband access could add hundreds of thousands of jobs and tens of billions of dollars in economic output.

Why it matters: As both education and work shift online, those who don't have reliable internet access will be left behind, which hurts them and the country as a whole.

Social media's "in-kind contribution to Biden"

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Facebook's continued suspension of Donald Trump's account extends the silencing of Joe Biden's most potent critic — and the current president's control over the national political narrative into his second 100 days.

Why it matters: Biden has been able to successfully focus on COVID-19 relief, his infrastructure plan and fielding his new administration, in part, because Trump hasn't been able to shake his social media muzzle and bray about the migration crisis or any White House misstep.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
22 hours ago - Health

Creating "digital twins" to study long-haul COVID

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Researchers are creating "digital twins" of coronavirus patients to study long-haul COVID-19.

Why it matters: An estimated 1 in 20 COVID-19 patients are likely to suffer from some long-term effects, but doctors still don't know why or how best to care for them. Digital twins promise to speed efforts to investigate a major medical mystery.

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