Big Tech

The big picture

Ranking the 5 big suits against Google and Facebook

Facebook stands to lose the most, but Google is more likely to lose, according to antitrust experts.

Dec 18, 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 giants' life cycles shape their crisis responses

Their ages help determine their responses to the coronavirus, government investigations, and protests against racial inequality.

Jun 11, 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

All Big Tech stories

11 hours ago - Economy & Business

Twitter debuts subscription products to help double revenue by 2023

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Photo: Cole Burston/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Twitter said Thursday that it plans to increase the amount of money it makes off of its users by allowing them to pay creators directly for content they like.

Why it matters: The company is trying to broaden its revenue stream away from being dependent mostly on ads, and particularly on ads from big brands.

20 hours ago - Technology

House begins brewing new tech antitrust laws

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

While lawsuits against Google and Facebook crawl their way through the courts, a second front in Washington's war on Big Tech is heating up, as legislators zero in on ways to draft new antitrust laws that take into account the unique traits of digital markets.

Driving the news: House lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee will grill experts and witnesses Thursday in an effort to chronicle the alleged monopolistic practices of "gatekeeper" tech companies — a prelude to drafting new laws to rein them in.

Feb 24, 2021 - Technology

TikTok removed less than 1% of videos in second half of last year

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok said Wednesday that it removed under 1% of the videos uploaded on its platform during the latter half of last year amid the election and start of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Why it matters: Most of the videos the company removed were attributed to child and adult nudity, a similar trend that occurs across most tech platforms. About 13% of the content it removed came from the U.S.

Feb 22, 2021 - Technology

Google hires former Obama staffer to lead external affairs

Google has hired Anne Wall, a former Obama White House legislative staffer, as head of strategy and external affairs, the company announced Monday.

What's happening: Wall will lead strategy for the U.S. and Canada Government Affairs and Public Policy Teams, reporting to Republican Mark Isakowitz, Google's VP of Government Affairs and Public Policy for the U.S. and Canada.

Why it matters: Google is putting a high-profile Democrat in a key external affairs role as the Biden administration ramps up.

Between the lines: Wall will also lead engagement with third-party groups and advocacy organizations. Heading up strategy for the policy team is a new part of the external affairs role.

  • Social media platforms and big tech companies are under intense amounts of regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. and across the world. Google is under multiple antitrust investigations at home and abroad.
  • Previously, the external affairs part of the job was held in an interim capacity by Johanna Shelton, another Democrat who currently leads Google's White House and executive branch outreach.
  • Wall served as Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Treasury for former treasury secretary Jack Lew and also previously worked for Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

What they're saying: "Anne’s impressive record as a problem-solver, policy expert and collaborative leader at the highest levels of government will be a tremendous asset as we continue our work to promote technological innovation and economic opportunity," Isakowitz said.

  • "I look forward to engaging with policymakers and advocacy groups on policies that ensure technology continues to help the widest range of people possible," Wall said.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Feb 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

GameStop hearing paints Silicon Valley as public enemy #1

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Congress yesterday lived down to its reputation, uncovering little new information about the GameStop stock surge. But it did illustrate how Silicon Valley has overtaken Wall Street as public enemy number one, particularly among Democrats.

What happened: No one received more questions, and more rhetorical brickbats, than Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev, despite the presence of hedge fund titans Ken Griffin and Gabe Plotkin.

Feb 19, 2021 - Technology

News traffic in Australia drops after Facebook link-sharing ban

Expand chart
Data: Chartbeat; Chart: Axios Visuals

Traffic to Australian news sites within Australia from Facebook links plummeted following Facebook's decision to stop allowing users and publishers to share links on its platform Wednesday, according to data from Chartbeat.

Why it matters: Usually when Facebook's app goes down fully, news traffic will shift to other platforms. But because only link-sharing was restricted, it resulted in people visiting fewer news sites in Australia overall.

Feb 18, 2021 - Technology

Congress plans barrage of tech hearings

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before the House Financial Services Committee on Oct. 23, 2019. Photo: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Congress on Thursday announced two tech-related hearings — one featuring major tech CEOs and another meant to kick off new antitrust legislation.

What's happening: On March 25, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hear from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai during a hearing about misinformation on online platforms.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Feb 18, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Facebook expands program to fight climate lies

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Facebook is expanding the geographic reach of its recently launched online portal to counter misinformation about climate change, and will take new steps to steer users of the platform toward those resources.

Why it matters: Social media platforms have immense reach, and they've come under fire from activists and some lawmakers globally for doing too little to thwart the spread of inaccurate content.

Tech giants list principles for handling harmful content

Photo: Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Nine of the world's biggest tech companies have come together to establish an industry framework for handling harmful content and conduct online.

Why it matters: Tech companies, facing a threat from U.S. lawmakers who are considering changing the rules around what content they are liable for on their platforms, are eager to win back public trust.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Feb 17, 2021 - Technology

Fortnite creator Epic files European Union complaint against Apple

Image: Epic Games

Epic Games is taking its legal battle against Apple global, filing an antitrust complaint in Europe against the iPhone maker.

Why it matters: The move adds another layer to the protracted dispute and brings it to a jurisdiction that has historically been tougher on U.S. tech companies.

More Big Tech stories