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

Why advertisers mistrust Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than 400 major advertisers, including Unilever, CVS, and Verizon, have pulled their ads from Facebook and Instagram as part of the #StopHateForProfit campaign organized by advocacy groups including Color for Change, NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, and Sleeping Giants.

Why it matters: The ease with which the campaign has signed up advertisers is only in part a function of its intrinsic merits. It's clear that brand advertisers and their agencies kinda wanted to make this move anyway.

Facebook sued for alleged bias against Black employees and applicants

Photo: Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook was sued Thursday by a hiring manager and two job applicants who allege the company acts in a biased manner against Black workers, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture per Axios' Scott Rosenberg: The lawsuit comes as Facebook confronts a growing advertiser boycott over its treatment of hate speech on its platform, all against the wider backdrop of national outrage over police violence against Black Americans and other manifestations of systemic racism. Facebook, like most Silicon Valley companies, has very few Black employees and has promised to increase its diversity.

House Judiciary plans back-to-back blockbuster hearings

Photos: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images; Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is lining up back-to-back blockbuster hearings right before the August exodus.

The state of play: The CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google will testify as part of the committee's antitrust investigation, N.Y. Times columnist Kara Swisher first reported. Axios is told that, with negotiations continuing over document production, the date being discussed is July 27 with the CEOs expected to appear remotely. The next day, July 28, Attorney General Bill Barr will appear for an oversight hearing that will include grilling on Lafayette Park, Mueller and more.

Scoop: Twitter removes photo from Trump tweet after NYT copyright complaint

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Twitter has removed a picture from a tweet by President Trump on Tuesday after it received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint from the New York Times, which owns the rights to the photo.

Why it matters: This is the second time in two weeks that Twitter has had to take down content from Trump's account due to a copyright violation.

Jul 1, 2020 - Technology

Google buys smart glasses firm North

Courtesy: North

Google formally announced on Tuesday that it is buying North, the Canadian smart glasses firm — a deal that had been reported last week to be in the works.

Why it matters: The move shows that Google, one of the earliest to explore high-tech eyewear, remains interested in the category.

Exclusive: Facebook changes algorithm to boost original reporting

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Beginning today, Facebook will be updating the way news stories are ranked in its News Feed to prioritize original reporting, executives tell Axios. It will also demote stories that aren't transparent about who has written them.

Why it matters: The tech giant has long been criticized for not doing enough to elevate quality news over hyper-partisan noise. Now, it's trying to get ahead of that narrative as the 2020 election inches closer.

Jun 29, 2020 - Technology

Scoop: Microsoft has been pausing spending on Facebook, Instagram

Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela. Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft suspended its advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the U.S. in May and recently expanded that to a global pause, according to an internal chat transcript seen by Axios.

Between the lines: Unlike the many advertisers who recently joined a Facebook boycott, Microsoft is concerned about where its ads are shown, not Facebook's policies. But the move still means yet another big advertiser is not spending on Facebook right now.

Twitch temporarily bans Trump's channel for hateful content

Photo illustration: Filip Radwanski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Twitch, the live-streaming service owned by Amazon, said Monday it issued a temporary suspension of President Trump’s channel "for comments made on stream," but that "the offending content has been removed," according to a spokesperson.

Why it matters: It's the latest major tech company to take action against one of the president's accounts for hate speech or conduct.

Microsoft to close all retail stores

Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Microsoft will permanently close most of its physical retail stores, but its London, New York City, Sydney and Redmond campus locations will remain open as Microsoft showrooms dubbed "experience centers," the company announced Friday.

Why it matters: Microsoft has yet to re-open any of its physical stores since it closed them all due to the coronavirus pandemic, even as states started easing restrictions, The Verge notes.