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Senators Grill Tech CEOs Again: The Information’s Tech Briefing

Listers

Internet Governance in focus.

In this particular case the issue is America’s Section 230 of the Communications Decency act which 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”

In short – Third Party Liability.

How this will pan out will have a global effect as the main target of these hearings is #BigTech. Your guess is as good as mine as to how this will go. One thing though is becoming increasingly clear to me –

Governments and #BigTech are all in it for the POWER. Who controls the data controls the citizens. Makes #GOT look like child’s play.

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> 
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> Tech Briefing
> November 17, 2020
>
> Greetings!
>
> Another day, another congressional hearing for tech CEOs. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (complete with that beard) were at it again, appearing before a congressional committee on Tuesday to discuss Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—the law that gives internet platforms immunity from liability for what users post. But unlike the most recent hearing, before the Senate Commerce Committee, today’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee was a little bit less contentious.
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> For the most part, there was less of the shouting—although Sen. Ted Cruz once again went on the attack about bias against conservatives, as did Sen. Josh Hawley. Democrats such as Sen. Richard Blumenthal, on the other hand, accused Facebook of caving to pressure from conservatives on not taking more action about conservative content.
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> Sen. Lindsay Graham, the committee chair, helped lower the temperature with an opening statement that emphasized the aim to come up with standards that make social media’s content moderation more transparent to users. Whether that will lead anywhere remains the unanswered question.—Martin Peers
>
> Onto other news…
>
> ELLIOTT DEACTIVATES AT&T STAKE
> You win some, you lose some. That might be the Elliott Management philosophy as it exits its stake in AT&T, 14 months after disclosing the $3.2 billion position. After pressuring AT&T to consider selling DirecTV, among other assets, and to improve its corporate governance, the outcome is mixed. It’s not even clear Elliott made any money on the investment.
>
> AT&T has reportedly tried to sell DirecTV, without success. It added a couple of new directors. But AT&T’s stock price is trading about 13% below where it was when Elliott first wrote to AT&T outlining its concerns.
>
> It may be that the media’s expectations of activist investors like Elliott are overblown. In some companies, such as eBay, Elliott had a big impact, triggering numerous asset sales and senior management changes. Sometimes, though, the activists appear to be coopted by the target. Nine months after Elliott took a stake in Twitter, reportedly unhappy about CEO Jack Dorsey’s part-time role, Dorsey has just been affirmed in his position by a board committee that includes an Elliott representative. Twitter shares are up 20%, though, which may satisfy the activist.
>
> Elliott has a position in Dropbox, securities filings show, another tech firm with tepid growth and a depressed stock price. Given the recent history of Elliott’s tech adventures, no one should bet on any miracles occurring there.
>
> DISCUSSING AIRBNB’S IPO
> Airbnb became an iconic Silicon Valley company doing what many startups can only dream about. “They created a market that didn’t really exist before,” said Tobias Wann, a former travel industry executive, during The Information’s live video conference on Airbnb on Tuesday.
>
> But how tight of a grip does 12-year-old Airbnb still have on that market? The company stressed in its IPO paperwork that the No. 1 factor affecting its future performance, as the travel industry recovers, was its ability to attract and retain hosts. Before the pandemic, growth in active listings on the site had slowed from 33% in 2018 to 29% in 2019. As we reported recently, executives are worried those active listings could slip further in cities where hosts saw a decline in bookings.
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> For now, potential investors should be heartened that the majority of its hosts list their homes only on Airbnb, the company said in the filing. “That’s the secret sauce that makes Airbnb in my mind work,” said Drew Patterson, executive chairman of short-term rental data firm Transparent Intelligence, in the video call.
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> Interest in Airbnb’s IPO is high, with twice as many potential investors showing interest in research on Airbnb compared with DoorDash, said Bernstein senior analyst Mark Shmulik.—Cory Weinberg
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> ROBINHOOD’S IPO PLANS
> Robinhood, the trading platform credited with bringing lots of new individual investors into the stock market, is discussing an IPO in the first quarter of next year, Bloomberg reported.
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> That seems appropriate. Earlier in the year, when the stock market began to rally after the pandemic plunge, Robinhood was credited in various news reports with bringing new investors into the market and driving the market’s recovery.
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> That role has been reflected in fundraising success. Robinhood raised $460 million in venture funding last month, following a $200 million funding round in August, with the most recent round valuing the company at $11.7 billion. Now all those retail investors trading through Robinhood may get a chance to buy shares in the company itself.
>
> IN OTHER NEWS…
> Twitter will introduce vanishing tweets available to its users globally. The new feature, called Fleets, are fullscreen posts that disappear after 24 hours, replicating the Stories format pioneered years ago by Snapchat.
> Amazon launched a prescription drug delivery service called “Amazon Pharmacy,” letting customers purchase prescription medicine and upload their healthcare insurance information to the website.
> Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing unveiled an electric vehicle it co-developed with Chinese EV maker BYD. The new D1 electric car, custom-built for ride-hailing, is part of Didi’s effort to boost the supply of qualified vehicles that meet local government regulations that have become tighter in recent years.
> SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said he has $80 billion in cash for investments and stock buybacks, Bloomberg reported.
> NEW FROM OUR REPORTERS
>
>
> AGoldman Sachs Goes on AWS Hiring Binge to Boost AI, Cloud Efforts
> By Kevin McLaughlin
> A little over a year ago, Marco Argenti, a top engineering executive at Amazon Web Services, left the cloud computing arm of the internet retail giant to join Goldman Sachs as co–chief information officer. READ STORY →
>
>
>
> OnlyFans Chief Talks Sports Ambitions and Role of Adult Content in Site
> By Tom Dotan
> One of the buzziest companies in tech today, OnlyFans, is about as far from a typical startup as is possible. READ STORY →
>
>
>
> Rental Startup Domio Plans to Shut Down After Failing to Raise Funds
> By Paris Martineau
> Domio, a short-term rental startup founded in 2016, plans to shut down and is looking to sell its assets, according to two investors in the company and documents viewed by The Information. READ STORY →
>
> Corporate Subscriptions
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> Empower your teams to stay ahead of market trends with the most trusted tech journalism. For group access to insider scoops on upcoming IPOs and startups, deep insights on the biggest tech competitors and more, visit here.
>
> WHAT WE’RE READING
> America’s Zombie Companies Have Racked Up $1.4 Trillion in Debt: READ NOW →
> The Substackerati: READ NOW →
> Steve Jobs’ Last Gambit: Apple’s M1 Chip: READ NOW →
> Uber and Lyft Are Going National With Prop 22 Concept, Despite Voter Complaints: READ NOW →
> Sent to ali@hussein.me.ke | Unsubscribe from these emails | Help
> The Information · 1 Post Street, Suite 1050, San Francisco CA 94104
>

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