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 - Technology
Big Tech's reckoning on race

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

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

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

Jan 6, 2020 - Technology
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 - Technology
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 - Technology
For tech, it's all hard problems now

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

Oct 9, 2019 - Technology

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Ina Fried, author of Login
20 hours ago - Technology

U.S.-China fight spreads to the chip factory

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Trump administration's campaign against TikTok gets all the headlines, but the U.S. move last week to place restrictions on Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC), China's top chipmaker, could end up making a greater difference.

Why it matters: Semiconductor analysts say SMIC represented China's strongest bid to build a domestic chip industry and bolster its tech independence. Sanctions that cut off its access to advanced manufacturing and testing equipment from the U.S. could seriously set that effort back.

Facebook's latest headache: Its own employees' posts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook’s rules for what people can say on the world’s largest social network have been a long-term headache for the company, but now it faces similar troubles on the internal network its own staff uses.

Driving the news: As political arguments on Facebook’s employee discussion boards have grown more heated and divisive, the company ordered new restrictions on the forums earlier this month, which run on Facebook’s Workplace platform.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 25, 2020 - Technology

Amazon wants to flood America with Alexa cameras and microphones

Photo: Amazon

In a Thursday event unveiling a slew of new home devices ahead of the holidays, Amazon made clearer than ever its determination to flood America with cameras, microphones and the voice of Alexa, its AI assistant.

The big picture: Updating popular products and expanding its range to car alarms and in-home drones, Amazon extended its lead in smart home devices and moved into new areas including cloud gaming and car security. The new offerings will also fuel criticism that the tech giant is helping equip a society built around surveillance.

Sep 25, 2020 - Technology

Facebook critics take on its Oversight Board

Illustration: Aida Amer/Axios

A group of high-profile Facebook critics on Friday announced the launch of what they are calling the "Real Facebook Oversight Board," an effort that aims to counter an independent board established by Facebook last year to oversee its decisions on content moderation.

Why it matters: The opposing effort represents how political the fight between Facebook and its critics has become in the lead-up to the presidential election. 

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated Sep 24, 2020 - Technology

Amazon launches new Alexa-enabled hardware

Amazon's new spherical Echo smart speaker. Screenshot: Axios

Amazon debuted a range of new Ring, Fire TV and Echo hardware on Thursday, including more environmentally sustainable versions of its audio and video gear. Among the products introduced are a cloud gaming service, a home monitoring drone and new spherical designs for its Echo and Echo dot smart speakers.

Why it matters: Amazon, like rivals Google and Apple, typically gives its consumer hardware a launch ahead of the holidays. Apple has already introduced new iPads, while Google has scheduled a Sept. 30 event, where it is expected to debut new audio and video gear, alongside updated Pixel phones.

Sep 24, 2020 - Technology

Justice circles Big Tech with regulatory threats

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Department of Justice proposed legislation to curb liability protections for tech platforms and moved a step closer toward an antitrust lawsuit against Google Wednesday.

The big picture: As President Trump faces re-election, lawmakers and regulators are hurriedly wrapping up investigations and circling Big Tech with regulatory threats.

People hurt in the Kenosha protests are suing Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Four people affected by the violence during the Kenosha, Wisc., protests in August are suing Facebook, charging that the social media company enabled violence to take hold there.

Driving the news: As BuzzFeed News reports, the allegations against Facebook focus on its failure to remove an event titled “Armed Citizens to Protect our Lives and Property,” created by the self-described militia group the Kenosha Guard. The page was filled with violent comments including posts celebrating the deaths at the protests.

The WeChat ban vs. the First Amendment

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Trump administration said Monday it would challenge a federal court ruling Sunday that temporarily blocked its attempt to curb the use of Chinese messaging and e-commerce app WeChat in the U.S.

The big picture: WeChat's ban has had a lower profile than TikTok's, but the fate of the app, widely used by Chinese people around the world to stay in touch with family and friends, is at least as consequential.

Sep 22, 2020 - Technology

Stop Hate for Profit social media boycott to focus its pressure on Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook will continue to be the face of the biggest industry campaign against misinformation leading up to the election, according to Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

Driving the news: In an interview with Axios, Greenblatt, whose group is part of the Stop Hate for Profit social media boycott campaign, said that the group plans to focus its boycott efforts on Facebook, because of its scale and because he says the company is less proactive than rivals like Twitter and YouTube on policing misinformation and hate speech.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

The tech war between the U.S. and China escalates

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic tension between the U.S. and China continues to escalate but is shifting in focus — away from the tit-for-tat trade war and toward a more direct confrontation over the future of technology at the heart of the conflict between the world's two largest economies.

Why it matters: The battle between the U.S. and China was always about tech supremacy and the direct confrontation could result in an accelerated splintering of global supply chains and a significant reduction of international commerce.

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