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Antitrust Lawsuits Against Facebook

The Story: At the time when the economic and social power of social media has become a major political issue, one of the pioneers of...

We Should Worry When Zuckerberg, Dems Start Agreeing

Democrats are fawning over Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s call for “new rules” to regulate internet companies like his — and that should worry every freedom-loving American. This is one of the richest men on earth inviting the American government to help him do what he already wants to do anyway. Let’s be perfectly clear: Every single regulatory measure Zuckerberg is calling for would benefit his company, his political allies, and himself personally. At best, regulation would just deflect from the unsavory practices of Facebook and its competitors; at worst, it would enlist government sponsorship for those practices. Democratic Sen. Mark Warner greeted Zuckerberg’s announcement by saying he was “glad to see” that “the era of the social media Wild West is over.” Of course, when Warner refers to the “social media Wild West,” he’s not talking about tech giants routinely censoring and shadow-banning conservatives, banning memes that lampoon their journalist friends, and blatantly discriminating against Republican candidates during election campaigns. Those on the left are determined to prevent a repeat of the 2016 presidential election, which is why they are so adamantly pushing for more censorship online. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley have demanded answers from Big Tech regarding its ever-tightening campaign of censorship against the political right and Silicon Valley’s exploitation of its power over the main forums of modern public discourse to potentially swing elections — but their point has been that censorship of any kind is an affront to the American people. We don’t need leftist bureaucrats to tell us what we can say on the internet any more than we need leftist tech executives to police our speech. We don’t need an “independent body” to protect us from “harmful content” — we already have the Supreme Court, the First Amendment, and 100 years of precedent to guide our governance of public forums. Sen. Hawley, for instance, has proposed that the special privileges Facebook enjoys under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act be conditioned on it serving as a viewpoint-neutral public forum.

Democrats Press Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to Disclose More About Political Ads

A contingent of Senate Democratic Conference members want Facebook to voluntarily disclose more about the sources of advertising dollars on the social media platform. The group led by New Jersey’s Robert Menendez, highlights in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg efforts by Russia to use Facebook to spread political messaging to undermine the U.S. electoral process. “More than a year ago, after news reports revealed that Russian agents used Facebook to spread inflammatory posts to over 126 million Facebook users, Facebook promised Congress that it would provide additional disclosures on political ads,” the letter read. “Yet, you continue to take in ad revenue from companies cloaked in secrecy. Although no legal requirement exists mandating that political advertisers on social media platforms file disclosures with the Federal Election Commission, you could take it upon yourself to mirror the laws that exist for radio and television ads.” The senators cited reporting about a group that pushed a concealed carry permit certification program for gun owners, to the tune of $2.5 million. Joining Menendez were Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Such transparency will help ensure open and fair elections, free of dark money or foreign interference,” the senators wrote, stressing a loss in confidence of customers. Also Watch: Google CEO Rejects Claims of Search Bias Against GOP spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreen ??volume mmute ??seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.

The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: One NAFTA Another

Written by Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey) Today in 5 Lines The White House has reportedly authorized the FBI to interview anyone necessary in its investigation into sexual-assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, after the administration previously limited the scope of the agency’s probe. In a wide-ranging press conference, President Trump said he wants the investigation to be “comprehensive” and, contradicting earlier White House talking points, said that it “wouldn’t bother” him if the FBI speaks with Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Trump also praised the revised trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, which was announced late Sunday, as “a great deal for all three countries.” Trump said he will sign the new deal, called the “United States Mexico Canada Agreement,” by late November. Trump, speaking on the first anniversary of the mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas, said he expects his administration to ban so-called “bump stocks” in a matter of weeks. Today on The Atlantic A Threat to the Court’s Legitimacy: If Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed by the Senate, it will be a nightmare for Chief Justice John Roberts, argues Ronald Brownstein. Just Ask Bill Gates: In recent years, Facebook has become increasingly unpopular, just like its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “For decades, many women may have seen little difference between the two parties when it came to sexual misconduct, allowing them to prioritize other concerns,” Young writes. “Now there’s a bright line.” More Norms Out the Window: One of the biggest tragedies of the Kavanaugh drama? Passionate members of the political left have alienated many of their would-be allies on the right. : There are three points of inconsistency between Ford’s and Kavanaugh’s testimonies that an FBI investigation might be able to clear up.

Facebook and Twitter executives grilled on privacy and politics in hearings before US Congress

Executives from Twitter and Facebook have been grilled by members of US Congress on everything from foreign propaganda campaigns to allegations of political bias on their platforms. Just five months after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced questioning by Congress, the company’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, trekked to Capitol Hill for hearings of her own, alongside Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Like Mr Zuckerberg’s hearing before them, Wednesday’s hearings provided little closure, but did reveal the depths of the frustration many politicians feel towards the tech titans. During the Senate sessions, several legislators said they planned to introduce legislation to rein in companies like Facebook and Twitter. Or, as Senator Mark Warner put it: “The era of the Wild West in social media is coming to an end.” The executives, meanwhile, openly admitted to making mistakes in the 2016 election, when the Department of Justice says Russian actors staged a widespread foreign influence campaign that went largely undetected by both Twitter and Facebook. Ms Sandberg said Facebook had been "too slow to spot this and too slow to act," while Mr Dorsey said his work on the issue was "not done – nor will it ever be". The only company that received more criticism than Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday was Google parent company Alphabet, which refused to send CEO Larry Page to the hearing. Senators like Kamala Harris couldn't resist taking pointed jabs at the "invisible witness" in the room. The House hearing was slightly more contentious, with Republican representatives grilling Mr Dorsey over alleged anti-conservative bias on the site. We do not have a responsibility, nor you a right, to amplify your tweets to audiences that don’t follow you."

Tired of politics, culture dominated by liberal billionaires: Varney

Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook. President Trump accuses them of censoring conservative opinion. Several studies recently suggest that is the case. But the point is, those four people have the power to do that. We can debate all day long the merits of regulating social networks versus free market; let 'em do what they want. I don't know how this shakes out. But I do know that such concentrated power will bring on a political response. It is speech that’s regulated by a couple of billionaires. So when the president says Google Search is rigged, and Larry Kudlow says the administration will "look into" regulation, I agree. Reign 'em in!

Facebook Identifies an Active Political Influence Campaign Using Fake Accounts

Image WASHINGTON — Facebook said on Tuesday that it had identified a coordinated political influence campaign that was potentially designed to disrupt November’s midterm elections, with the social network detecting and removing 32 pages and fake accounts that engaged in activity around divisive social issues. American intelligence officials have indicated that at least one other unnamed Democratic senator up for re-election has been targeted. And Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, and other executives mounted a media blitz after the announcement to explain what the company did and did not know about the influence campaign. Facebook executives characterized the continuing battle with foreign campaigns as a cat-and-mouse game, but said they were making progress to detect suspicious activity more quickly. Unlike many of the alleged Russian trolls in 2016, who paid for Facebook ads in rubles and occasionally used Russian internet protocol addresses, these accounts used advanced security techniques to avoid detection. But there were clues that the suspicious accounts may have been connected to the Internet Research Agency. Like the 2016 Russian interference campaign, the recently detected campaign sought to amplify divisive social issues, including through organizing real-world events. Although other Facebook pages are promoting the counterprotest, the social network said that the Resisters page was the first, and that it had coordinated with administrators for five other apparently real pages to co-host its page — publicizing details about transportation and other logistics. Organizers of the counterprotest — who quickly created a new Facebook page — objected to Facebook’s suggestion that a fake account was behind the event itself and not just the creator of a Facebook event page for it. Earlier in July, Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, warned that Russian interference remains an active threat to November’s elections.
What Impact Will Facebook’s Stock Plunging Have On The Markets? | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

What Impact Will Facebook’s Stock Plunging Have On The Markets? | Velshi & Ruhle...

Facebook is paying a big price as its stock plunges more than 20 percent in value. Stephanie Ruhle speaks with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin about what is behind the dive and the potential impact on the markets going forward. »…

The Political Education of Silicon Valley

If you asked a similar question today—is there a new Silicon Valley politics?— it would be pretty clear that libertarianism is no longer the answer. (Sixty-two percent of the tech elite told the Stanford researchers that government should not tightly regulate business but should tax the wealthy to fund social programs.) The scholars Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles argue that the tech sector has actually stumbled into attitudes that approach a more coherent ideology than it would initially appear, one they have called “liberaltarianism.” Lindsey, who is vice president for policy at the Niskanen Center—a think tank that supports liberaltarian policies—describes the ideology as one animated by “the idea of a free-market welfare state, which sounds like an oxymoron to most people but sounds to us like what good 21st-century governance looks like, combining significant redistribution and social spending with go-go competitive markets.” This is the new politics bubbling up in Silicon Valley. Now, his vision for a new model of governance broke decisively from the anti-statism that had defined Barlow’s declaration a decade before. (“Government can work for the people, by the people, in the digital age.”) Code for America’s ideology is fundamentally practical—“delivery driven,” as Pahlka puts it. “You think about advocacy in this country,” Pahlka says, “the win is getting the law passed. Not these other people who came after you. This time, Khanna won. But since Khanna has entered Congress, he’s become even more vocal about his progressive views. But even Khanna’s EITC expansion plan is less radical than universal basic income, a form of wealth redistribution that has become something of a fetish among some big names in the tech sector.