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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Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block steps down

Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Keith Block is stepping down as co-CEO of Salesforce, leaving co-founder Marc Benioff as the sole chief executive of the company once again.

The big picture: Block, who joined the company in 2013 from Oracle, was promoted to co-CEO less than two years ago to give Benioff more time to focus on other interests. Block will stay on as an adviser to Benioff, the company said.

Meanwhile: Salesforce separately agreed Tuesday to buy Vlocity, which makes cloud-based apps that run on Salesforce's signature platform, for $1.33 billion.

With no Mobile World Congress, product announcements start rolling in

Inside the Mobile World Congress (MWC) pavilion in Barcelona, Spain during the dismantling of the stands following the cancellation of the fair due to the coronavirus crisis and company cancellations. Photo: David Zorrakino/Europa Press via Getty Images

With the cancellation of Mobile World Congress, many tech companies now have lots of products to announce and no physical place to do it. The result has been a flurry of press releases and webcasts designed to replace planned in-person gatherings. In the last 24 hours or so, Intel, Sony and Huawei have all announced new products and components.

Why it matters: The show was to have been a key launching point for a number of products, including several high-end 5G-capable phones.

"Facebook: The Inside Story" paints a revealing portrait of the tech giant

Penguin Random House

Tech writer Steven Levy's new book, "Facebook: The Inside Story," goes on sale on Tuesday. He told Axios his reporting for the 583-page tome, which he started working on in 2015, took a dramatic turn after the Cambridge Analytica scandal and revelations following the 2016 election.

Why it matters: Since Levy already had a seat inside the company when its broader problems arose, he was on the frontlines as Facebook scrambled to address an onslaught of challenges posed by policymakers in Washington and elsewhere.

Exclusive: Global trust in the tech industry is slipping

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The backlash against Big Tech has long flourished among pundits and policymakers, but a new survey suggests it's beginning to show up in popular opinion as well.

Driving the news: New data from Edelman out Tuesday finds that trust in tech companies is declining and that people trust cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence less than they do the industry overall.

House Democrat takes aim at tech liability shield over false ads

Rep. David Cicilline. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

The chair of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee is preparing a bill that would remove liability protections from tech platforms that don't take down false political ads, Bloomberg Law reported Monday.

The big picture: Facebook's policy of not fact-checking political ads has angered Democrats, and tinkering with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which immunizes internet platforms from lawsuits over user-posted material, has become an increasingly popular threat for lawmakers looking to bring Big Tech to heel.

Tech experts say advances in digital technology will hurt democracy

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Advances in digital technology are likely to erode trust and harm democracy around the world between now and 2030, according to a plurality of tech experts surveyed for a new Pew Research report.

Why it matters: Online misinformation is already causing a mix of actual harm and widespread fears, and advances like deepfakes are likely to intensify the challenges citizens face.

Why Apple may move to open iOS

Photo illustration: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Apple may finally allow iPhone owners to set email or browsing apps other than Apple's own as their preferred defaults, according to a Bloomberg report from last week.

The big picture: Customers have long clamored for the ability to choose their preferred apps, and now Apple, like other big tech companies, finds itself under increased scrutiny over anything perceived as anticompetitive.

Privacy group says Facebook isn't sharing all off-platform data with users

Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

Facebook is now offering users a feature that lets them see what data it has collected about their activities beyond Facebook, but a new report from Privacy International says that not all the advertisers that have uploaded individual user data to Facebook are included.

Why it matters: As the report notes, without more complete information, it is hard for users to fully exercise their rights under the EU's GDPR and other privacy laws.

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