All Big Tech stories

Ashley Gold
Nov 18, 2021 - Technology

State AGs launch Instagram investigation

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A coalition of state attorneys general is launching an investigation into how Instagram, owned by Meta, draws in young users and affects their well-being, some of the states involved announced Thursday.

Why it matters: Meta has made it clear it wants to entice young users in order to compete with companies that have been more popular with kids and teenagers, like TikTok and Snapchat.

Nov 18, 2021 - Technology

Facebook makes it easier for advertisers to avoid sensitive topics

Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook on Thursday said it is expanding the controls it gives advertisers to make it easier for them to limit the types of News Feed content their ads show up next to. Excludable categories include news and politics, tragedy and conflict and debated social issues.

Why it matters: The move is part of a wider effort by Facebook to help advertisers avoid misinformation, hate speech or other content that may not be deemed "brand safe."

Fintwits goes mainstream

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Finding meaning in your Twitter feed’s trove of snark and deep thoughts about public companies is hard. S&P Global is here to help.

Driving the news: S&P is partnering with Twitter to create a new index series that will track company sentiment — as told through tweets.

Apple to offer self-repair service for iPhones

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Apple on Wednesday said it is launching a new program to allow consumers to make common repairs to some iPhone models as the federal government scrutinizes repair restrictions in sectors across the economy.

The big picture: The Federal Trade Commission warned companies in July that it would step up enforcement of unlawful restrictions manufacturers impose on product repairs.

Nov 16, 2021 - Technology

Google argues it owns cloud playlist patents in Sonos suit

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Google has filed new breach of contract claims against Sonos in the latest chapter of a long-running dispute over a smart speaker partnership gone bad.

Why it matters: The ongoing dispute between Sonos and Google has caught the attention of Congress and other regulators. How it plays out will be of interest to those investigating claims of anti-competitive behavior by Big Tech firms.

Nov 16, 2021 - Technology

California orders Amazon to pay $500,000 over concealed COVID cases claim

Photo: David Ryder via Getty Images

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Monday that the state has ordered Amazon to pay $500,000 for "concealing COVID-19 case numbers" from workers.

Why it matters: The court judgment is the first of its kind under California's new "right to know" law, which aims to bolster worker safety by requiring employers to disclose coronavirus cases to employees and local health agencies, among other provisions.

Nov 15, 2021 - Technology

Ohio AG sues Facebook for misleading the public

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Ohio attorney general Dave Yost filed suit against Facebook parent company Meta, alleging it misled the public about the potential harm its products can cause.

What's happening: Yost filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) and Facebook investors, citing the Wall Street Journal's reporting and internal documents leaked by former employee Frances Haugen, according to a release from Yost's office on Monday.

Why it matters: It's the latest legal salvo against Meta, which is facing multiple federal, state and international investigations. This one comes on the heels of Haugen testifying to a U.S. Senate subcommittee and the European Parliament about Facebook's internal research and decision-making.

  • Facebook knowingly made false statements about the safety, security and privacy of its platforms, the suit, filed Friday, argues. It says those revelations caused Facebook's stock to lose value, costing the investors and OPERS more than $100 billion.

What they're saying: "Facebook said it was looking out for our children and weeding out online trolls, but in reality was creating misery and divisiveness for profit," Yost said in the release. "We are not people to Mark Zuckerberg, we are the product and we are being used against each other out of greed."

  • The suit seeks to recover the lost stock value and demands Facebook make changes to guarantee it does not mislead the public.
  • A spokesman for Meta said the suit is "without merit" and that the company will defend itself "vigorously," per CNBC.
Nov 15, 2021 - Technology

Poll: 53% of Twitter users cite misleading information as big problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A majority of Twitter users get news from the social network, despite more than half seeing misleading information on the social network as a major problem, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.

The big picture: With almost a quarter of Americans using Twitter, it's increasingly become a source for the latest information. Among those who use the platform for news, the study found a large increase in those who use it to follow breaking news events.

Nov 12, 2021 - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Changes to Apple's App Store could come fast

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

While legislators and regulators around the world weigh big changes to Apple's and Google's app stores, some quick revisions could be coming within weeks, thanks to a U.S. judge's decision and a Korean law.

Why it matters: Control of app stores and their hefty commissions is what has made owning mobile operating systems so valuable for both companies, especially Apple.

"Like" buttons face a big thumbs-down

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Public like and dislike counts, once a baseline offering for social media companies, are disappearing as tech platforms begin to uncover ways they are being abused.

Why it matters: Engagement mechanisms such as "likes" or "reactions" make tech platforms stickier, which is good for selling ads. But they're also becoming a risk factor for tech firms that are under pressure to address issues like user wellbeing and misinformation.