All Big Tech stories

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Oct 19, 2020 - Technology

The long wait for Google's $2.1 billion Fitbit deal

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Google's $2.1 billion deal for Fitbit might go down as the only merger to qualify as both pre-pandemic and post-pandemic.

  • Driving the news: European Union antitrust regulators have again extended their decision deadline, this time to Jan. 8, 2021. And it could be further complicated by U.S. authorities, who are drawing up a broader antitrust case against Google and/or its parent company Alphabet. The deal was originally announced on Nov. 1, 2019.
Oct 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Twitter removes tweet from Trump's COVID adviser claiming masks do not work

Scott Atlas. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter took down a tweet from one of President Trump's most visible coronavirus task force members, Scott Atlas, that claimed widespread use of face masks does not help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Why it matters: Atlas — who is a radiologist, not an epidemiologist — has become one of the president's favorite coronavirus advisers, despite his controversial views.

Republican rage targets Facebook and Twitter

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republicans and conservatives are unloading on Facebook and Twitter a day after the companies limited the sharing of a New York Post story based on emails and files apparently stolen from Hunter Biden.

Where it stands: The attacks are passionate, but the likelihood of government action against the platforms remains low. Even the most realistic and increasingly popular proposal — to punish online platforms by removing their prized liability shield — would be a steep uphill battle.

Oct 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Twitter changes hacked materials rules after banning N.Y. Post story

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Twitter will be changing its hacked materials policy in response to the feedback it received for limiting the circulation of a New York Post story about Hunter Biden.

Why it matters: The tech giant faced swift backlash from conservatives that its actions were biased and that its enforcement of its hacked materials policy was not consistent.

Oct 15, 2020 - Technology

YouTube cracks down on QAnon, citing real-world violence

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

YouTube announced Thursday that it is expanding its hate and harassment policies to prohibit content that targets an individual or group with conspiracy theories, like QAnon, that have been used to justify real-world violence.

Why it matters: It is the latest tech giant to crack down on QAnon content, which has seen record online interest in 2020.

Governments around the globe find ways to abuse Facebook

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

While regulators in the U.S. and Europe circle Facebook and scrutinize its every move, in much of the rest of the world its platform remains ill-defended against election tampering, human rights violations, autocratic misuse and other information disorders.

The big picture: The consequences of this void are huge yet hardly acknowledged by Western regulators, who are most concerned with the misinformation spreading in their own backyards.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 14, 2020 - Technology

More tech companies plan to let workers stay remote post-pandemic

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A growing number of tech companies say workers need not ever come back to the office if they don't want to. The move comes as pandemic-related closures have already kept many tech workers out of the office for months.

Why it matters: Technology's spread into every corner of the broader economy keeps boosting demand for workers with tech skills. That pushes employers to accommodate tech talent wherever they find it.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 14, 2020 - Technology

Apple's iPhone 12 bets may take time to pay off

The iPhone 12 Pro features both 5G support as well as a lidar sensor. Photo: Apple

With the iPhone 12, unveiled Tuesday, Apple has made some big technology bets that should boost demand for 5G networks as well as help spur developers to create more advanced augmented reality applications. However, phone buyers will probably have to wait for a payoff.

Why it matters: Many tech advances start out as chicken-and-egg problems, with developers waiting for a market to emerge while consumers don't yet see the value in spending more. Apple has the rare ability to push past that block. Because of its size and comparatively focused product line, its support of new technologies like 5G and lidar can vault them into the mainstream.

Facebook bans anti-vaccine ads, but not organic misinformation

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook will ban anti-vaccine ads in an effort to combat misinformation and support public health experts, the social media platform announced in a statement on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The company now says it doesn't want these ads on its platform, but the policy does not apply to influencers who experts say drive a significant amount of organic misinformation about vaccines.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated Oct 13, 2020 - Technology

Apple debuts 5G-capable iPhone 12, cheaper HomePod

Photo: Apple

Apple introduced a lineup of new iPhone models Tuesday, all with 5G support, as well as a smaller, cheaper version of its HomePod speaker

Why it matters: Apple's events may not be as drama-packed as they once were, but the iPhone remains the most important product in Apple's lineup and a bellwether for the broader industry.