Big Tech

The big picture

Facebook boycott battle goes global

As more companies jump on the boycott bandwagon, organizers are taking their campaign to the world stage.

Jun 29, 2020
Big Tech's reckoning on race

The industry also must grapple with the effects, good and bad, on inequality.

Jun 12, 2020
Tech's biggest upcoming battles in 2020

Tech firms' battles this year will touch every part of our lives.

Jan 6, 2020
Sundar Pichai's Alphabet to-do list

The new CEO of Google's parent company inherited a long list of issues in need of tackling.

Dec 17, 2019
The sovereign state of Facebook

It's making the kinds of world-shaping decisions that used to be in the hands of governments.

Nov 1, 2019
For tech, it's all hard problems now

The giants must navigate treacherous political, social, and ethical rapids at every turn.

Oct 9, 2019

All Big Tech stories

Facebook's plan: Make nice, but don't give in

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook last week took steadily intensifying heat from fleeing advertisers and boycott leaders and received a big thumbs-down from its own civil-rights auditors. Its response, essentially: We hear you, but we'll carry on.

The big picture: Early on in Facebook's rise, CEO Mark Zuckerberg learned to handle external challenges by offering limited concessions and soothing words, then charging forward without making fundamental changes.

Jul 10, 2020 - Technology

Apple releases public beta of iOS 14

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

After a couple weeks of developer-only testing, Apple has made available a public beta version of iOS 14, the software that will power iPhones starting this fall.

Why it matters: The early release gives early adopters and developers ample time to find bugs ahead of the full release, as well as a chance to play around with the new features announced in June.

Big Tech marshals a right-leaning army of allies for antitrust fight

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As tech's giants prepare to face off with antitrust enforcers this summer, they will draw support from an array of predominantly right-leaning defenders ranging from influential former government officials to well-connected think tanks.

The big picture: The Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the states have multiple investigations of monopolistic behavior underway targeting Facebook and Google, with other giants like Amazon and Apple also facing rising scrutiny. Many observers expect a lawsuit against Google to land this summer.

Facebook auditors say it's failing on civil rights

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The findings from a new civil rights audit commissioned and released by Facebook show that the tech giant repeatedly failed to address issues of hatred, bigotry and manipulation on its platform.

Why it matters: The report comes as Facebook confronts a growing advertiser boycott and criticism for prioritizing freedom of speech over limiting misinformation and protecting users targeted by hate speech.

Boycott organizers slam Facebook following tense virtual meeting

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Civil rights leaders blasted Facebook's top executives shortly after speaking with them on Tuesday, saying that the tech giant's leaders "failed to meet the moment" and were "more interested in having a dialogue than producing outcomes."

Why it matters: The likely fallout from the meeting is that the growing boycott of Facebook's advertising platform, which has reached nearly 1000 companies in less than a month, will extend longer than previously anticipated, deepening Facebook's public relations nightmare.

Jul 7, 2020 - Science

Amazon Web Services pushes into the final frontier with new space division

Earth as seen from orbit. Photo: NASA

Amazon Web Services announced last week it is forming a business division focused on helping government and commercial space entities become more agile and flexible by making use of the cloud.

The big picture: The new division — called the Aerospace and Satellite Solutions business segment — further solidifies Amazon's push into the space sector.

Chinese tech and business coverage surges amid Hong Kong crackdown

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As tensions between the U.S. and China escalate, more U.S. media companies like The Information, Politico and The Wire China are looking to invest in coverage of the country and its technology and business boom.

Why it matters: "It's coverage you have to have if you're a serious tech or business news operation," says Bill Bishop, author of the Sinocism newsletter.

Jul 7, 2020 - Technology

Big Tech's Hong Kong bind

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big Tech companies are scrambling to figure out what China's imposition of a new national security law in Hong Kong means for their businesses there.

The big picture: Tech companies, like other multinationals, had long seen bases in Hong Kong as a way to operate close to China without being subject to many of that country's most stringent laws. Now they likely must choose between accepting onerous data-sharing and censorship requirements, or leaving Hong Kong.

U.S. e-commerce adopts a social network strategy from China

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Verishop, the luxury e-commerce site created by former Snapchat Chief Business Officer Imran Khan, expects to sell $50 million of gross merchandise volume in 2020, sources tell Axios. It's also launching a social-shopping experience that will include influencers and a personalized feed of content.

Why it matters: Social media apps like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat have made efforts over the past few years to offer users a better shopping experience. Verishop is doing the opposite by launching a trusted marketplace first and a social media experience around it second.

Facebook to meet virtually with boycott groups

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, facing an ad boycott by more than 500 brands, will hold virtual meetings on Tuesday with civil rights groups who have been key organizers of the #StopHateforProfit campaign.

The state of play: Sandberg will say in a post later that she, Zuckerberg and other execs "are meeting with the organizers of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign followed by a meeting with other civil rights leaders ... including Vanita Gupta from the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights [and] Sherrilyn Ifill from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund."

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