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Do lawmakers understand Google and Facebook enough to regulate them?

Many of us have had the feeling that technology, which continues to change at an ever-dizzying pace, may be leaving us behind. That was embodied this past week during a Congressional hearing, nominally convened to investigate antitrust concerns of four big tech titans: Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

While the five-and-a-half-hour inquiry touched on a range topics from pesky spam filters and search results to how companies approached acquisitions, the House Judiciary subcommittee hearing laid one thing bare: A sizable disconnect appears to exist between the technology Americans are using and depending on in their daily lives and the knowledge base of people with the power and responsibility to decide its future and regulation.

“Consumers and investors walk away feeling like a lot of these lawmakers don’t really understand the business models to an extent that they could then navigate them and put laws in place that will dictate the

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Tech giants Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon to face Congress

Unprecedented is a dangerous word in journalism, but this really hasn’t happened before.

On Wednesday, four of the biggest names in tech will give evidence to members of the US Congress.

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Sundar Pichai (Google), Tim Cook (Apple) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon) will all be grilled.

Jeff Bezos – the world’s richest man – has never testified before either house. They have never all been quizzed together.

How these tech bosses do, how they stand up to scrutiny, could be a defining moment in their future relationship with government.

Central to the interrogation will be whether these tech giants are simply too big.

The Covid pandemic has put this into sharp focus. Where other companies have struggled, Big Tech companies have thrived. Together they are now worth $5tn dollars. It’s led to accusations that – just like the banks – they are simply too big to fail.

The

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Why Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple are Bad for America

On Wednesday, four big tech CEOs — Apple’s Tim Cook, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg — will come face to face with Congress, in a hearing held by Antitrust Subcommittee Chair David Cicilline. The hearing is one result of a yearlong investigation by Cicilline’s subcommittee into whether these four companies regulate more of the U.S. economy than our public officials do.

For some, this hearing may seem like a series of technical questions about market power, and for others, a mere congressional spectacle. But the stakes are high. This hearing is part of the only major investigation into corporate power by any Congress in recent memory. How this hearing goes, and whether Congress over the next few years develops the confidence to break up and regulate these giants, will in many ways determine whether America remains a self-governing democracy.

That might seem like hyperbole, but

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Trump’s Department of Commerce Petitions FCC to Narrow Protections for Twitter, Facebook

The Department of Commerce (DOC) has formally petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to review and narrow the interpretation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — which currently protects platforms like Facebook and Twitter from being sued for content their users post — and impose new regulations on social media platforms.

The petition, sent to the FCC on Monday, was requested as part of President Donald Trump’s executive order in May that called for new regulations against social media companies that moderate or censor the content users post on their respective platforms.

Currently, Section 230 states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider” and that none of these platforms can be held liable for “material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively

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Inside Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google versus the Feds

Sometime very soon, four of the most powerful men on the planet will face off against a small congressional subcommittee. 

The stakes couldn’t be higher. 

Yes tech execs are called into D.C. regularly these days, but this time is different. These are the CEOs of the four mega-tech companies, starting with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, who’s never appeared before Congress. He’ll be joined by two other iconic personages: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (world’s fourth richest, worth $88 billion), and Apple’s Tim Cook. The fourth member of the quartet, Alphabet’s (Google’s) Sundar Pichai has a lower profile but carries no less weight.

Even more than all of that though, this hearing could mark a new beginning in the tug and pull between big business and society in America—for better or for worse. 

“This is the end of a one-year investigation where we’ve looked at these big tech platforms

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Are Facebook and Alexa really listening? 6 common tech myths debunked

We once believed that Macs would never get a virus, closing apps would save battery life, and private mode was really private.

For the record, switching to incognito in your browser probably doesn’t do what you think. Tap or click for six practical reasons to use it, from keeping your search autofill clean to shopping without spoiling the surprise.

And I’m sorry to break it to you, but like a Windows PC, your Mac is certainly at risk. Tap or click for five free downloads that will keep your Mac or PC secure. This recommendation is one you can’t afford to ignore.

Call me your digital life myth-buster with six misconceptions you can stop believing.

1. You can’t be tracked if GPS is off

Even if you turn off location tracking on your phone, you can still be tracked. Smartphones continuously check in with cell phone towers. Using this data,

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Facebook has failed to control hate speech. Will advertiser demands change anything?

Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, was not all that optimistic in advance of the online meeting that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg had set up with him and the heads of other civil rights groups last Tuesday.

Many of them had been talking to Facebook about its tolerance of hate groups and racist and anti-Semitic postings on the giant social media company’s website.

They had submitted 10 recommendations they said could result immediately in “real progress.” Facebook had stated that it takes “a zero tolerance approach” to hateful posts on its services by removing them.

We’re talking about literally the most sophisticated advertising platform in the history of capitalism. The idea that they can’t find the Nazis on their platform is just laughable.

Jonathan Greenblatt, Anti-Defamation League

Yet the very morning of the meeting, ADL’s researchers turned up a posting

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Will the Facebook advertising boycott force the social media giant to change? Not likely

Hundreds of advertisers say they won’t spend money on Facebook in July or beyond over concerns the social media company isn’t doing enough to stop hate speech.  But the exodus of spenders may not be enough to push CEO Mark Zuckerberg to make the level of change that critics are demanding. 

Critics have an initial list of 10 recommendations that they say would help Facebook corral hate speech and make civil rights a priority when moderating content.

Zuckerberg and top executives, who have agreed to meet with the civil rights groups behind the Stop Hate for Profit boycott this week, plan to release the company’s third civil rights audit, which Facebook says will address many of the activists’ concerns, as well as other policy changes that were already under consideration.

The pressure on Facebook seems intense, but it may not be as powerful as the headlines make it appear.

Brands

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