Trust in tech — including companies specializing in AI, VR, 5G and the internet of things — fell all around the world last year, the Edelman Trust Barometer found in a massive survey of 31,000 people in 27 countries.
Driving the news: The study, provided first to Axios, is a special tech edition of data collected for the annual Trust Barometer. All-time lows, going back to comparable Edelman polling in 2012, were hit in 17 of 27 countries, including the U.S., U.K., France, China, Japan, Thailand, Brazil and Mexico.
Facebook, Microsoft and Uber have all announced plans to begin letting some general workers back into their offices, albeit at reduced levels.
Why it matters: Unlike the rapid shuttering of offices a year ago at the start of the pandemic, the reopenings are expected to be phased and gradual, with many companies foreseeing a hybrid environment where many workers come in only part of the week.
Amazon has launched a sharp-elbowed PR offensive on social media in response to a sea of pressure from workers, politicians and regulators.
Why it matters: It's a risky move that could help fight short-term battles but also risks establishing a pattern of antagonism against people and groups that could be thorns in the company's side for years to come.
The House on Thursday is scheduled to hold its first Big Tech hearing of 2021, with witnesses to include Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
Axios Re:Cap goes deeper with Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), who represents part of Silicon Valley, about what she hopes to learn and why she's more interested in algorithms than moderators.
President Biden will nominate antitrust expert Lina Khan to be a commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission, the White House said Monday.
Why it matters: The nomination of Khan, prominent for her work on how to apply antitrust laws to the tech industry, signals the Biden administration wants aggressive oversight of the sector.
Tech companies bracing for increased scrutiny in Washington are leaning on their last friends in town — the libertarians.
Why it matters: Progressive liberals and populist conservatives alike are ramping up their attacks on the tech industry. So the once-beloved darlings of Silicon Valley are scrambling to gain traction on Capitol Hill with the dwindling ranks of Republicans who still believe in laissez-faire, even for the tech industry.
Uber announced on Tuesday it will reclassify over 70,000 drivers across the United Kingdom as workers who will receive benefits including a minimum wage, vacation pay and access to pension plans, effective Wednesday,
Why it matters: It's the first time the ride-hailing giant has agreed to classify its drivers accordingly, and it follows a landmark ruling from Britain's Supreme Court last month that said Uber drivers are entitled to greater protections.
Facebook will soon begin testing partnerships with a small group of independent writers for its new publishing platform, sources tell Axios.
Driving the news: The platform, which includes tools for journalists to build actual websites, in addition to newsletters, will be tested with a small group of writers, some of whom Facebook plans to pay to help get the tools off the ground.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar is seizing the reins of a powerful Senate panel and gearing up to be a formidable figure in pressing Congress' case against Big Tech.
Driving the news: Klobuchar makes her debut Thursday as the chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee, which oversees the agencies charged with policing monopoly power.
As the global pandemic thrust technology to the center of our lives, it also gave Big Tech an unexpected respite from federal regulatory threats, pushing COVID-19 response ahead of other Washington priorities.
What we're hearing: With the Biden administration fixated on vaccine distribution and cabinet confirmations, fleshing out a tech-industry regulatory agenda will continue to take a back seat for at least a few more months.