Google plans to purge users’ abortion-related data, including location entries showing visits to abortion clinics, as states pass new abortion restrictions following the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
The company will automatically delete entries from users’ location history for certain health-related locations including abortion clinics and fertility centers, it announced July 1. Several experts have raised concerns about the pledge, given Google’s history of secretive health data collection.
Google is funding a Vox Media initiative to promote gender ideology and activist language in newsrooms nationwide, according to an announcement from Vox Media.
The Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge, a project that funds online journalism, is funding Vox Media’s new language guide for writers, “Language, Please,” Vox Media said in an article announcing the publication of the guide. The guide, which is meant to be used by outlets across the country, encourages journalists to avoid gendered words like “boy” and “girl” and links to “inclusivity readers” they can hire to correct their language.
Google has offered to break apart in a bid to avoid greater punishment for antitrust violations from federal regulators, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
The tech giant has raised the prospect of separating a major business operation off from Google—the auctioning and placing of online advertisements—to form a separate entity also under the umbrella of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, people close to Google reportedly told the WSJ. It was unclear if the offer would satisfy the Department of Justice (DOJ), which declined to comment on the story, according to the WSJ.
President Joe Biden’s top adviser on environmental issues called on technology companies to censor debates on environmental issues and energy policy during a Thursday event.
“The tech companies have to stop allowing specific individuals over and over again to spread disinformation,” White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, a former EPA Administrator, said during a virtual event, according to Axios. “We need the tech companies to really jump in.”
Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition — which can be summed up as the world’s wealthiest person buying one of the most powerful social media and news platforms — underscores one of the big problems with Big Tech.
In the absence of modernized anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws, Big Tech companies in the U.S. have amassed far too much economic and political control over society, and especially over the news and publishing industries.
The search engine giant Google has rolled out a new feature that acts as an auto-suggestion for changing certain language to more politically correct terms.
According to the Daily Mail, users who type out certain words will be faced with several suggestions encouraging them to adopt language that is gender-neutral, or otherwise more politically correct. For example, “landlord” will yield suggestions such as “proprietor” or “property owner,” while “mankind” will lead to the suggestion of “humankind.” “Policeman” is now recommended to be “police officers,” while “housewife” is to be replaced with “stay-at-home spouse.”
On Monday, the tech giant Google was sued by a group of black former employees who claimed that they experienced racial discrimination while working at the company.
According to ABC News, the class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of the group by far-left attorney Benjamin Crump, who is notorious for representing the families of some of the most prominent figures in the Black Lives Matter movement, including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and George Floyd.
A Big Tech watchdog group is speaking out about the way Silicon Valley’s titans of industry have handled the war between Russia and Ukraine.
“Apparently these Big Tech monopolists find everyday conservative Americans more objectionable than murderous foreign dictators,” Mike Davis, Founder and President of the Internet Accountability Project (IAP) told The Tennessee Star Thursday. “They’re willing to silence and censor political voices with which they disagree while welcoming war criminals like Putin with open arms. That alone should be enough to recognize these Big Tech monopolists are not our friends.”
Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation isn’t just imposing accountability for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 political trick to dirty up Donald Trump with the FBI; it’s also encroaching on the credibility of President Biden’s current chief foreign policy adviser and point man for the current Russia-Ukraine crisis.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan was a senior adviser to Clinton’s 2016 campaign and, by his own admission, spread the word to reporters back then that Democrats believed Trump was colluding with Vladimir Putin to hijack the election and had a secret computer channel to the Kremlin. Neither proved true.
But long before that Russia collusion narrative crumbled like a stale Starbucks muffin, Sullivan gave sworn testimony to the House Intelligence Committee disputing that anything the Clinton campaign spread around Washington was misinformation.
The Internet Accountability Project (IAP), a conservative tech group, launched a nationwide ad campaign Wednesday urging the passage of a bill targeting Apple and Google.
The ads, set to launch on Newsmax, are intended to support Republican senators who backed antitrust legislation designed to curb the anticompetitive practices of major tech companies, according to a review of the ad campaign by Daily Caller News Foundation. The ads thank the senators for backing the Open App Markets Act, which if passed would prevent app stores like Google Play and Apple’s App Store from forcing developers to use the tech giants’ in-app payment systems as a condition of distribution.
Google’s Chief Legal Officer and President of Global Affairs Kent Walker accused Microsoft on Friday of “carving out” an exception to a bill targeting app stores operated by Google and Apple.
The Open App Markets Act, introduced by Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in a near-unanimous vote Thursday. Microsoft president Brad Smith applauded the passage of the bill in tweet shortly after, writing that the legislation “would promote competition, and ensure fairness and innovation in the app economy.”
Walker responded to Smith’s tweet accusing the software company of “carving out” an exception in the legislation favoring Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console and service.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar appeared on Fox News’ Special Report Thursday night, primarily to promote an antitrust bill aimed at reforming laws that govern Big Tech and increasing competition.
A bipartisan U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted 16-6 Thursday to advance the legislation — The American Innovation and Choice Online Act — as bipartisan lawmakers seek to curtail the power and influence of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and others.
In short, the bill would prevent companies from “unfairly preferencing their own products and services” on their platforms while prohibiting “specific forms of conduct that are harmful to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and consumers.”
Google temporarily suspended conservative talk show host Dan Bongino’s website, Bongino.com, from its ads service, a company spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Friday.
“We have strict publisher policies in place that explicitly prohibit misleading and harmful content around the COVID-19 pandemic and demonstrably false claims about our elections,” the spokesperson said. “When publishers persistently breach our policies we stop serving Google ads on their sites. Publishers can always appeal a decision once they have addressed any violating content.”
The spokesperson added that while Google would not disclose the specific offending content on Bongino.com, the website had been subject to frequent reviews and Google had flagged content in violation of its policies.
Amazon and Facebook parent company Meta spent more money in 2021 lobbying lawmakers and officials than any year before, according to lobbying disclosure filings.
Amazon spent $20.3 million on lobbying while Meta spent $20.1 million in 2021, according to a review of lobbying disclosure filings by MarketWatch. The figures are record totals for both tech companies, who spent $18.9 million and $19.7 million on lobbying in 2020, respectively.
Google’s lobbying spend for 2021 clocked in at $11.5 million, while Microsoft spent $10.3 million and Apple spent $6.5 million, according to MarketWatch’s review.
Facebook and Google CEOs Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai signed off on a deal between the two companies to rig the digital advertising market, a recently unredacted lawsuit alleges.
The existence of the deal, dubbed Jedi Blue, was first revealed in a complaint filed by Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in December 2020 which alleged that Google unlawfully abused its dominance in the digital ads market. The complaint alleged that Google struck a deal with Facebook in 2018 to give the social company secret advantages in its ad exchanges, known as Open Bidding auctions, to the detriment of competitors.
An unredacted version of the complaint filed Friday alleges that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally signed off on the deal. The complaint alleges Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg brokered the deal with top Google executive Philipp Schindler and pushed Zuckerberg to approve.
Amazon and Google are lobbying small businesses who use their services to oppose antitrust bills aimed at breaking up major tech companies, enlisting them to pressure lawmakers, Politico reported.
The companies are conducting a public relations campaign in an effort to drum up opposition to antitrust legislation proposed in the Senate, including a bill sponsored by Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar that goes after companies like Amazon and Google for prioritizing their own services in online shopping platforms, according to Politico.
The tech giants are using email campaigns, Zoom calls and online petitions, to spread the message that the bills would harm small businesses that rely on their platforms, Politico reported. Several technology trade groups, including the Connected Commerce Council, are also working to encourage small businesses to oppose the legislation.
Google told its employees that they would lose pay and eventually their jobs if they did not abide by the company’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, according to an internal memo obtained by CNBC.
Employees had until Dec. 3 to state their vaccination status to the company and upload the required documentation or to apply for a medical or religious exemption, according to the memo, CNBC reported.
The Supreme Court ruled Friday that abortion providers in Texas will continue to be allowed to challenge the state’s restrictive abortion law but decided to not stop the law from being enforced.
The opinion, authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, emphasizes that the question of whether the Texas law is constitutional is not the one before the court. The ruling allows lawsuits by the clinics to go forward in lower courts, while leaving the law in place for now.
Eight of the nine justices said the abortion providers may continue bringing legal challenges, and Chief Justice John Roberts, writing on behalf of himself and the court’s three Democrat-appointed justices, encouraged the district judge should act quickly.
There is growing bipartisan concern over the power Silicon Valley’s oligopolies wield over American society. Amazon alone controls 72% of U.S. adult book sales, Airbnb accounts for a fifth of domestic lodging expenditures and Facebook accounts for almost three-quarters of social media visits. Just two companies, Apple and Google, act as gatekeepers to 99% of smartphones, while two others, Uber and Lyft, control 98% of the ride-share market in the U.S. Yet, for government to take robust antitrust action against Silicon Valley requires the kind of data it currently lacks: documenting the harm this market consolidation inflicts on consumers. A new RealClearFoundation report offers a look at how amending Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to require platform transparency could aid such antitrust efforts.
When it comes to Silicon Valley’s social media platforms, they have long argued that antitrust laws don’t apply to them because their services are provided free of charge. In reality, users do pay for their services: with their data rather than their money. Companies today harvest vast amounts of private information about their users every day, using that data to invisibly nudge their users toward purchases and consuming ads, or the companies simply sell that data outright.
A group of roughly 600 Google employees signed onto a letter opposing the tech giant’s company-wide vaccination mandate and called for its repeal.
Google first imposed a requirement in July that all of its in-person workers be vaccinated against COVID-19. The company is now asking all of its workers, including those working from home, to upload their vaccination status to the company website by Dec. 3 due to the federal contractor vaccine requirement, according to CNBC.
The European Union (EU) General Court upheld a ruling Wednesday that Google violated EU antitrust law by preferencing its own shopping service in search results.
The European Commission, the EU’s top regulator, ruled in 2017 that Google’s practice of prioritizing its online marketplace in its search results was anti-competitive, slapping the tech giant with a roughly $2.8 billion fine. Google appealed the decision, but the EU General Court, the second-highest court in the continent, upheld the ruling Wednesday.
Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar unveiled a bipartisan bill Friday intended to restrict how major tech companies acquire and merge with smaller firms.
The bill, titled the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, is a companion to antitrust legislation advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee in June. If enacted, the law would shift the burden in antitrust cases to the acquiring party for mergers greater than $50 million, meaning that the acquiring firm would have to prove that its acquisition of another company was not anti-competitive.
The bill explicitly targets Big Tech companies, and it applies to firms with market capitalizations over $600 billion, at least 50,000,000 U.S.-based monthly active users or 100,000 monthly active business users. This would include Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple.
Major tech companies are continuing to require their employees to be vaccinated at their Texas facilities, in violation of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning all vaccine mandates.
Abbott signed an executive order on Oct. 11 prohibiting “any entity,” including private businesses, government contractors and local schools, from imposing a requirement that employees be vaccinated as a condition of employment. However, Google, Facebook, HPE, Twitter and Lyft have yet to lift their vaccine mandates in response to the order, Protocol first reported.
HPE spokesman Adam Bauer confirmed the company had not changed its vaccine policy, and told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the company was making “vaccination a condition of employment for U.S. team members to comply with President Biden’s executive order and remain in good standing as a federal contractor.”
Facebook is reportedly planning on rebranding and is set to announce a new company name next week, according to The Verge.
Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg intends to announce the new name at the Facebook Connect conference on Oct. 28, a source familiar with the matter told The Verge. The rebrand is reportedly an attempt by Zuckerberg to shift public perception of the company as a social media platform to a technology conglomerate with several different products beyond the Facebook social network.
Author and Senior Editor at The Federalist Mollie Hemingway held nothing back in her forthcoming book “RIGGED,” detailing the irregularities in the 2020 election.
One chapter of that book is titled “Zuckerberg Should Be in Jail,” referencing Facebook’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg.
Google and YouTube announced a new policy Thursday demonetizing all content that denies the scientific consensus on climate change.
Google will no longer allow ads for “content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change,” the company announced in a support page added to its website Thursday. The policy, which Google will start enforcing next month, covers YouTube videos and websites that treat climate change as a “hoax or a scam,” content “denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming” and content “denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change.”
The search giant said it was implementing the policy due to pressure from advertisers, who didn’t want their products associated with content promoting climate denial.
Wisconsin Representative Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI-05) signed onto a letter opposing Google’s ban of abortion reversal pills from the pro-life organization Live Action. Fitzgerald tweeted out saying he had joined Representative Jim Banks (R-IN-03) “in demanding answers from Google for their indefensible decision to bow to pressure from the left.”
Google began its appeal Monday of a $5 billion fine levied by a European regulator over alleged market abuses.
The European Commission slapped the tech giant with the fine in 2018 for a number of alleged anticompetitive practices, including forcing smartphone makers to pre-install the Google Chrome browser to be able to install the Google Play Store, and imposing restrictions discouraging smartphone makers from manufacturing devices that run unofficial versions of the Android operating system. The commission alleged Google used these requirements to keep out competitors and maintain its monopoly position in Android distribution.
A bipartisan group of 32 state attorneys general sent a letter to leading lawmakers in the House and Senate on Monday urging the passage of a series of antitrust bills targeting major technology companies.
The letter, led by attorneys general Phil Weiser of Colorado, Douglas Peterson of Nebraska, Letitia James of New York, and Herbert H. Slatery III of Tennessee, was addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The attorneys general urged Congress to modernize federal antitrust laws and enhance consumer protections by passing a series of bills introduced in the House Judiciary Committee in June that target big tech companies.
“A comprehensive update of federal antitrust laws has not occurred in decades,” the attorneys general wrote. “The sponsors of these bills should be commended for working to ensure that federal antitrust laws remain robust and keep pace with that of modern markets.”
A warning by former national security officials about the dangers of regulating technology companies is in lockstep with arguments made by Big Tech chief executives, according to a report from an internet watchdog group.
A group of former intelligence community officials sent a letter Wednesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy arguing against the passage of a series of antitrust bills advanced in the House Judiciary Committee in June. The warnings echo talking points made by groups lobbying for the tech industry and major tech firms themselves, according to a report by the Internet Accountability Project, a nonprofit conservative advocacy group focused on issues related to Big Tech.
The intelligence community officials argued the bills would make the U.S. less competitive with China and could even compromise America’s national security.
Police are reportedly increasingly using Google data to identify suspects in criminal investigations, a trend that has experts warning about possible privacy and civil liberty concerns.
“Geofence location warrants and reverse search warrants” are “increasingly becoming the tool of choice for law enforcement,” according to The Guardian.
Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters wants to break up Big Tech and ban their business practices he believes are harmful.
“I think Republicans need to reacquaint themselves with their history of antitrust enforcement, and realize huge concentrations of power in private hands can violate people’s liberties just as much as government,” Masters said in an interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Masters, who announced his candidacy in July, serves as chief operating officer at investment firm Thiel Capital and runs the Thiel Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by billionaire investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. He competes in a crowded Republican primary with fellow candidate and current Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich for the chance to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in 2022.
Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley called on Google Wednesday to explain its recent censorship of pro-life ads.
In a letter addressed to Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai, Hawley called on Google to explain why ads placed by the pro-life organizations Live Action and Choose Life Marketing had been “seemingly censored.”
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law Thursday preventing social media companies from banning users for their political views.
The law, known as HB 20, prohibits social media platforms from banning or suspending users, and removing or suppressing their content, based on political viewpoint. The bill was introduced by state Sen. Bryan Hughes partly in an effort to combat perceived censorship of conservatives by Facebook, Twitter, Google-owned YouTube, and other major tech companies.
“Social media websites have become our modern-day public square,” Abbott said in a statement. “They are a place for healthy public debate where information should be able to flow freely — but there is a dangerous movement by social media companies to silence conservative viewpoints and ideas.”
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is readying an antitrust lawsuit against Google over its digital advertising practices, a source familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
The lawsuit will be based on the ongoing DOJ investigation into allegations Google illegally maintains a monopoly in the digital advertising market, and could be filed as soon as December, the source told Bloomberg. Though the decision to file the complaint has yet to be finalized, the suit would be the DOJ’s second antitrust challenge against Google, following an October lawsuit which took aim at Google’s search business.
Thursday morning on Frist Principles with Phill Kline, host Kline welcomed The Star News Networks CEO and Editor in Chief Michael Patrick Leahy to the phone lines to discuss the changing landscape of journalism and Big Techs’ partnership with social media titans.
Apple and Google might change their app store business practices because of a new South Korean law similar to recent legislative efforts by U.S. lawmakers.
The new law would prohibit app stores, including Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, from forcing developers to use the tech giants’ payment systems, The Wall Street Journal reported. The bill, passed by South Korea’s National Assembly, will become law once signed by President Moon Jae-in.
The Korean bill is similar to a bipartisan bill introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Amy Klobuchar, and Marsha Blackburn to the U.S. Senate earlier this month that seeks “to promote competition and reduce gatekeeper power in the app economy, increase choice, improve quality, and reduce costs for consumers.” Both bills prevent app stores from requiring the use of their billing systems and take aim at the tech giants’ commission structure.
Despite calls for increased regulation of the tech industry, Congress has yet to pass any major legislation, leaving it up to the states to take action curbing tech companies’ power and influence.
Meanwhile, state legislatures have introduced and enacted legislation on data privacy, antitrust, and content moderation, while state attorneys general have issued a number of legal challenges alleging anticompetitive business practices.