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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Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 25, 2020 - Technology

A global search for the geniuses of tomorrow

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A Silicon Valley-based nonprofit is creating a talent program called Rise to cultivate and support young people from around the world.

Why it matters: Talent doesn't respect geography — but too often, opportunity does. The new program seeks to identify future leaders wherever they are, which research suggests may be one of the best ways to help the world advance.

Nov 24, 2020 - Technology

Members of Congress finding agreement on a tech antitrust agenda

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

House Democrats and Republicans are finding common ground on a set of principles for countering tech monopolies that they believe could drive a bipartisan push in the new Congress to update antitrust law.

The big picture: Representatives from both parties are finding it easier to agree on antitrust policy ideas than on proposals about content moderation and liability, where the two parties couldn't be further apart despite agreeing on the need for change.

Nov 23, 2020 - Technology

Biden's openings for tech progress

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images 

Item No. 1 on President-elect Joe Biden's day-one tech agenda, controlling the flood of misinformation online, offers no fast fixes — but other tech issues facing the new administration hold out opportunities for quick action and concrete progress.

What to watch: Closing the digital divide will be a high priority, as the pandemic has exposed how many Americans still lack reliable in-home internet connections and the devices needed to work and learn remotely.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Nov 20, 2020 - Technology

Cloud gaming services use iPhone's web browser door

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

One of the biggest trends in gaming is the ability to play console games wherever you are, on whatever type of device, thanks to the magic of cloud streaming. The tricky part has been finding a way to bring such gaming to iOS — since Apple wants to review and approve each game as a separate app.

Yes, but: Google, Nvidia and Microsoft have decided to work around, rather than with, Apple's rules. In recent weeks, all three have announced plans to bring their game services to iOS via the web browser — the one big opening in the wall around Apple's garden.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 20, 2020 - Technology

Microsoft's next phase of climate lobbying

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Microsoft has brought on the government affairs firm Lot Sixteen to lobby on sustainability and climate change, a newly public filing shows.

Why it matters: While Microsoft has lots of in-house and outside lobbyists working on all sorts of things, it's the first time an outside firm will be lobbying only on climate and environmental topics, Microsoft confirmed.

Nov 19, 2020 - Technology

Facebook removed 265,000 pieces of content on voter interference

Photo Illustration by Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Facebook says it removed more than 265,000 pieces of content from Facebook and Instagram in the U.S. for violating its content policies on voter interference leading up to the election.

Why it matters: The company was much more proactive this election cycle than last in taking down and labeling content attempting to disrupt the election.

Nov 19, 2020 - Technology

Facebook says very few people actually see hate speech on its platform

Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook said it took action on 22.1 million pieces of hate speech content to its platform globally last quarter and about 6.5 million pieces of hate speech content on Instagram. On both platforms, it says about 95% of that hate speech was proactively identified and stopped by artificial intelligence.

Details: In total, the company says that there are 10–11 views of hate speech for every 10,000 views of content uploaded to the site globally — or .1%. It calls this metric — how much problematic content it doesn't catch compared to how much is reported and removed — "prevalence."

Ina Fried, author of Login
Nov 19, 2020 - Technology

Apple's App Store commissions tweaks leave critics wanting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

While many developers will benefit from Apple's move Wednesday to cut commissions for companies earning less than $1 million per year in App Store revenue, the company's critics derided the move as a cynical attempt to distract from what they see as Apple's broader anticompetitive business practices.

Why it matters: Apple's move appears designed to appease concerns from critics and regulators, but it's unclear how far it will go to assuage them. Thus far, not very.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Nov 19, 2020 - Technology

Google Pay adds peer-to-peer payments and more

Image: Google

Google announced a significant expansion of its Google Pay service on Wednesday, adding peer-to-peer payments to its contactless payment system as well as a partnership with banks to incorporate banking and checking services next year.

Why it matters: Contactless payments can be a gateway to other financial services, as Apple has shown by expanding from Apple Pay to Apple Card.

Trade commission's tech cases: Hits and misfires

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With the Federal Trade Commission expected to unveil long-awaited antitrust action against Facebook in the near future, the agency's mixed record on regulating tech has experts viewing the case as a "put up or shut up" moment.

The big picture: Most of the tech cases the FTC has tackled involve consumer protection rather than restraining monopolistic behavior. Past antitrust investigations of tech mergers or companies, like a review of Google that ended in 2013, led critics to paint the FTC as toothless.

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