Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Teresa May’s government is looking seriously at regulating Google and Facebook. Photo: Frank Augstein / AP

U.K. Prime Minister Teresa May's administration said Tuesday that her cabinet is considering regulating Google and Facebook as news organizations, rather than being treated like pure tech companies. May's repeated pushes to hold Facebook, Twitter and Google's feet to the fire contrasts with American officials, who have acted slowly on concerns of misuse of Silicon Valley's platforms.

Why it matters: The speed of the U.K.'s actions means that the United States is falling behind, even though it was the U.S. election nearly a year ago that drew the most attention to the issue. While May and her Cabinet rush to stop fake news and terrorism from spreading — threatening steep fines — in the United States, Congress has yet to hold its first hearing with the companies. Silicon Valley has also responded more slowly stateside than in Europe.

What it means: Regulating a company like Google or Facebook like a news company instead of a tech company means that they would be responsible for the content that appears on their sites — so if there is anything that the British government deems illegal, like terrorist content, pornography, or perhaps one day fake news — these big companies could be fined. Currently, these companies are not regulated like news providers, but rather large technology companies that are not legally responsible for what is distributed on their platforms.

Sound smart: There's been a quiet drumbeat of skepticism of large tech companies all year in Washington, but It initially didn't gain a lot of traction on Capitol Hill or support from President Trump — who has yet to acknowledge Russian interference in the election. It took Facebook's announcement last month that it had found Russian ads purchased during the election, and focused on divisive topics, to really move the needle.

Key moments at home:

  • November 2016: Then-President Obama warns Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about fake news.
  • January 2017: Trump brushes off concerns about the size and influence of Facebook.
  • March 2017: Former FBI agent Clint Watts testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee and mentions Facebook and Twitter as vectors for pro-Russian propaganda.
  • April 2017: Facebook issues a white paper on the misinformation issue around the election.
  • May 2017: Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, visits Facebook's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters.
  • Sept. 6, 2017: Facebook reverses its previous position and announces it had told congressional investigators about 3,000 ads bought by a Russian troll farm before and after the election.
  • Sept. 12, 2017: Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr says a hearing with the tech giants is likely.
  • Sept. 21, 2017: Facebook says it will give investigators on Capitol Hill the actual advertisements and announces plans to institute new transparency for political advertisers.
  • Oct. 4, 2017: Facebook and Twitter say they will testify Senate intelligence committee hearings on the topic. Google has reportedly followed suit.

Key moments abroad:

  • March 2017: Extremism concerns prompt May's government to suspend ads on YouTube.
  • June 4, 2017: "We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed," May said of platforms after the London Bridge attack.
  • June 8, 2017: The United Kingdom's general election.
  • September 2017: Google, Facebook and Twitter were given a month to take down terrorist websites within two hours or face heavy fines. May urged platforms to go "further and faster" to stop the spread of terrorist material — including the development of new technology to stop it from ever appearing on the web in the first place.
  • Oct. 10, 2017: May's government floats treating Google and Facebook like news organizations.

Overall, the UK has been far more aggressive in imposing regulations and fines on US tech companies:

  • Privacy: EU regulators passed the General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR) last year, which will impact a huge number of businesses from advertisers to e-commerce platforms whose data flows through EU countries. It's a law that is intended to give users more control of how their personal data is used and streamline data processes across the EU. Companies that fail to comply with the complex law will face steep fines of up to 4% of their global annual revenue.
  • Taxes: The European Union wants to raise taxes for some of the biggest U.S. tech companies, like Amazon, Google and Facebook, in an effort to open up competition to other businesses that service over 500 million EU customers. In a proposal laid out earlier this month, EU regulators said international tax laws are outdated and suggested they would put forward new mandates if a rewrite of the international tax code didn't happen by next spring.
  • Antitrust: The EU has pursued US tech companies for violating antitrust laws. The biggest fineso far has been against Google this year. European antitrust officials slapped Google with a massive $2.7 billion fine in June for abusing its search practices,

Go deeper

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries to passengers and crew on Saturday, per a company statement.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were estimated to be traveling on the westbound Empire Builder train from Chicago to Seattle and Portland when eight cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak said early Sunday.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court is set to hear a challenge Wednesday to a vaccine mandate planned for New York City school employees.

Why it matters The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system. But a judge on Friday temporarily blocked the measure, per AP.

New York prepares for staff shortages from health vaccine mandate

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul during a news conference Tuesday in New York City.. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Saturday she would declare a state of emergency if there were health worker shortages due to New York's upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Why it matters: Hochul moved to reassure concerns of staffing shortages in the health care sector in a statement that also outlined plans to call in medically trained National Guard members, workers from outside New York and retirees if necessary when the mandate takes effect Monday.