Google was fined $590 million Tuesday by a French regulator Tuesday for failing to negotiate with news publishers for use of their content.
France’s Competition Authority issued the €500 million (roughly $590 million) fine after Google repeatedly violated April 2020 orders forcing the company to pay news publishers to display their content in search results, the agency announced in a statement Tuesday. The orders were issued after the tech company failed to comply with a 2019 European Union (EU) copyright law mandating news aggregators such as Google license content from news publishers and press agencies, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Google’s negotiations with publishers and press agencies cannot be regarded as having been conducted in good faith,” Isabelle de Silva, president of Competition Authority, said in the statement.
State attorneys general of 36 states and the District of Columbia filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google on Wednesday alleging the company engaged in anticompetitive practices in its Play Store for Android.
The complaint argues Google holds and unlawfully maintains a monopoly in the market of “Android app distribution,” using anticompetitive tactics such as blocking competitors from accessing the Play Store, discouraging the creation of competing app stores, and acquiring smaller app developers. The complaint also alleges Google charges app developers up to a 30% commission when customers purchase their products through the Google Play Store.
“Google has taken steps to close the ecosystem from competition and insert itself as the middleman between app developers and consumers,” the plaintiffs argue.
The founder of CloutHub, a free speech social media network, has responded to former President Donald J. Trump’s class action lawsuit against several Silicon Valley titans, which the forty-fifth president announced Wednesday.
“I am pleased that President Trump is fighting back against Big Tech corporations after enduring months of blatant injustices,” Jeff Brain said in press release. “His lawsuit is based on the infringement of his fundamental free speech rights that powerful companies such as Facebook and Twitter imposed based on their own political bias; a bias that has no place with such important keepers of our national public square online.”
Last-minute changes to major antitrust legislation working its way through the House appears to exempt several Big Tech companies from being affected by its regulations.
The legislation, which has been months in the making and was crafted to take on Big Tech monopolies, targets a handful of companies while excluding others that also have massive market power, a leading expert told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Existing federal and state antitrust law already prohibits a wide range of anticompetitive business activity across all industries like unlawful mergers and monopolization.
Apple CEO Tim Cook called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress last week, warning lawmakers that newly proposed antitrust legislation would harm consumers and hurt innovation, five sources with knowledge of the conversations told The New York Times.
Lawmakers introduced a series of antitrust bills that target Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon, The New York Times reports. The legislative efforts seek to rein in the tech companies by addressing alleged anti-competitive practices and by curbing monopoly power, according to a report by CNET.
Pelosi pushed back on Cook’s warnings, asking him to name specific policy objections, two sources with knowledge of the conversations told The New York Times.
There are few, if any, political issues that now generate the breadth and intensity of bipartisan backlash as does the rise of Big Tech.
During Donald Trump’s presidency, the major parties largely diverged on their specific grievances against the woke Silicon Valley monopolists who serve as gatekeepers for America’s 21st-century public square. Republicans, by and large, focused on censorship of conservative online speech. Democrats, by contrast, tended to focus on economic concentration; the five American corporations with the largest market caps, for example, are tech behemoths Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google Alphabet, and Facebook. This divergence has stymied efforts to rein in the Big Tech oligarchy on issues such as Section 230, the 1990s-era provision permitting platforms to engage in publisher-like content-moderation decisions without being legally treated as publishers.
Conservatives still have myriad concerns with Big Tech’s noxious brew of speech suppressions, shadow bans, and unaccountable deplatformings. Those concerns are both legitimate and justified by Big Tech’s ever-expanding list of misdeeds. But there is an emerging sea change in the way conservatives conceptualize the relationship between Big Tech’s unfettered content-moderation leeway and the sheer economic clout wielded by the relevant corporate actors.
A lawsuit filed on Tuesday by Ohio Attorney General David Yost aims to make Google a public utility, limiting the ways the search engine provides search results.
“Google uses its dominance of internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products–that’s discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Yost said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access.”
Google announced that it will remove its global lead for diversity strategy and research, Kamau Bobb, after a 2007 blog post in which he’d made antisemitic comments surfaced, Fox News reported. Bobb will be reassigned to a STEM research role.
The reassignment comes after revelations that Bobb had previously authored a blog post that contained antisemitic statements.
In a 2007 blog post by Bobb titled “If I Were a Jew,” he wrote that Jewish people had an “insensitivity” to suffering and stated “If I were a Jew I would be concerned about my insatiable appetite for war and killing in defense of myself.” The post has since been removed, but is recorded here.
According to a the most recent quarterly censorship report card from the Media Research Center (MRC), most of the major Silicon Valley tech titans are failing to protect freedom of expression.
“By almost any measure, the first three months of 2021 were the worst ever for online freedom. Amazon, Twitter, Apple, Google, Facebook, YouTube and others proved to the world that the Big Tech censorship of conservatives is a reality,” the group said. “And they did so in disturbing, authoritarian ways that highlight their unchecked power over information and our political process.”
Costco will raise its company-wide minimum wage to $16 per hour, a one-dollar increase that raises its wages higher than its fellow big-box retailers, the company’s CEO said during a congressional hearing Thursday.
Costco plans to raise its minimum wage from $15 to $16 because it is committed to paying workers “very competitive retail wages,” CEO Craig Jelinek said during a Senate Budget Committee hearing Thursday. Jelinek stopped short of advocating in favor of a federal minimum wage overhaul, instead saying he was solely focused on Costco.
Employees at Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, donated at least $15.1 million to President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, according to Open Secrets.
The donations eclipsed the amount given from employees in the banking and legal sectors, according to The Wall Street Journal. The five companies were also the largest fundraising sources for Biden’s campaign.
A handful of conservative organizations have signed onto a letter to House Republicans stating their opposition to any proposed anti-trust action against Big Tech companies, according to Breitbart.
The 10-page letter, addressed to Congressmen Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), declared on behalf of these groups that “both sides of the aisle are pushing for the weaponization of anti-trust, either as a tool to punish corporate actors with whom they disagree or out of a presupposition that big is bad.”
The National Labor Relations Board accused Google of violating labor laws by spying on and coercing employees who attempted unionization, according to complaint filings.
Google and its parent company Alphabet allegedly spied on and fired employees in retaliation for trying to organize into a labor union, according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) charges filed Tuesday, CNBC reported. The tech giant also allegedly prevented employees from sharing work grievances with each other via internal communications tools.
The CEOs of Twitter and Facebook returned Tuesday to Capitol Hill, this time to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. While focused on Twitter’s blocking of a New York Post story about the Biden family’s business dealings overseas and the social media giants’ immunity from lawsuit under the Communications Decency Act, the hearing veered into other topics as well.
Facebook and Google are banning political ads from their platforms with no exceptions allowed, at a time when two U.S. Senate seats are up for grabs in a Jan. 5 runoff election in Georgia that could help determine control of that chamber, NBC News reported.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee criticized the decisions, which they said, “amount to unacceptable voter suppression.”
After a series of mishaps involving muted senators, virtual cross-talk, and “connectivity issues” befuddling one of the world’s most tech-savvy men, the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, and Google appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday for what has now become a performative ritual: senators of both parties yell about different aspects of social media, the tech giants respond with bland, vague, noncommittal statements. And nothing substantive happens.
This is exactly where the Senate Commerce Committee found itself on Wednesday, when Big Tech was confronted with a host of critics and without any defenders—but ultimately very little in the way of committed follow-up from legislators.
It’s safe to say that Big Tech hasn’t had a great month.
Google received a beating at the Supreme Court for allegedly stealing the coding needed to create Android. Congress subpoenaed Facebook and Twitter for deliberately blocking news coverage potentially damaging to one political party — a move that culminated in a high-profile hearing yesterday. And now, the Department of Justice has charged Google with illegally maintaining its search and advertising monopoly.
Apple has ramped up development of its own search engine technology as antitrust U.S. and European Union regulators scrutinize Google, according to a Financial Times report.
The Silicon Valley tech giant has subtly started the transition away from its reliance on the Google search engine, The Financial Times reported. Apple’s latest software update iOS 14, for example, directs users directly to links when they search for a term on their device’s home screen.
A year ago, University of Georgia professor Cas Mudde took to Twitter and asked: “How do you manage to stay informed about political news and stay mentally balanced?” In his next tweet, he confessed too much time on social media was contributing to anxiety and depression.
With this, Mudde expressed a sentiment many social media users share. As we discuss policy issues tied to social media—tech regulation, free speech, foreign influence—we shouldn’t lose sight of the damaging psychological effects of today’s information environment. You may not want to hear this a week before the election, but social media addiction is a public health issue. Big Tech is the new Big Tobacco.
With next week’s election looming, the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google were scolded by Republicans at a Senate hearing Wednesday for alleged anti-conservative bias in the companies’ social media platforms and received a warning of coming restrictions from Congress.
Lawmakers of both parties are assessing the companies’ tremendous power to disseminate speech and ideas, and are looking to challenge their long-enjoyed bedrock legal protections for online speech.
The Justice Department on Tuesday sued Google for antitrust violations, alleging that it abused its dominance in online search and advertising to stifle competition and harm consumers.
The lawsuit marks the government’s most significant attempt to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. It could be an opening salvo ahead of other major government antitrust actions, given ongoing investigations of major tech companies including Apple, Amazon and Facebook at both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.
On Wednesday morning, the Star published my commentary on free speech. Little did I know when I wrote it or the editors when they published it, the whole concept of free speech online was about to blow up in an incredibly spectacular way.
Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have abused their monopoly power and must undergo significant restructuring, according to a House report released Tuesday.
Lawmakers who wrote the report said the four tech companies had grown into monopolies akin to “oil barons and railroad tycoons” and suggested an overhaul to U.S. antitrust laws, according to The New York Times. The lengthy report, spearheaded by Democratic Reps. Jerrold Nadler and David Cicilline, is the result of a 15-month House Judiciary Committee investigation into the companies collectively known as Big Tech.
More than half of American voters strongly or somewhat support breaking up Silicon Valley tech giants to promote competition, according to a poll published Thursday.
Only 26% of voters oppose or strongly oppose splitting up the country’s largest tech companies, while 19% of those surveyed didn’t offer a view, a poll from progressive think tank Data for Progress showed. The poll, which surveyed 1,200 likely voters in September, comes as the House lawmakers conclude their nearly yearlong probe into the industry’s supposed anticompetitive behavior.
Ahead of the U.S. presidential election Google said that it will now remove any autocomplete predictions that seem to endorse or oppose a candidate or a political party and claims about voting or the electoral process, according to a CNN report.
Google executives outlined these changes at an online press event Thursday, as well as in a blog post. Google’s autocomplete feature offers recommendations for queries once a user begins typing.
Virginia has rolled out a smartphone app to automatically notify people if they might have been exposed to the coronavirus, becoming the first U.S. state to use new pandemic technology created by Apple and Google.
But hopes for a nationwide app that can work seamlessly across state borders remain unrealized, and there are no known federal plans to create one. State officials say their new app won’t work as well outside Virginia, at least until a group of coordinating public health agencies gets a national server up and running and other states join in.
As the 2020 election draws nearer, search engine and tech giant Google is being exposed as engaging in election interference by artificially altering search results to negatively impact right-wing sites, as reported by Breitbart.
Breitbart reports that its own visibility on Google search results has been reduced by as much as 99.7 percent of its previous performance since the 2016 election. In contrast to its performance in April of 2016, when it was among the top ten search results for 355 key search terms, it now ranks in the top ten of only one such search term in the month of July of this year.
Google’s first U.S. operations center is coming to northwest Mississippi.
The company announced Thursday it will lease a new 60,000-square-foot (5,574 square-meter) facility in Southaven, Mississippi, near Memphis, Tennessee. Google expects the site, which will provide customer and operations support to customers worldwide, to be operational by summer 2021.
by Peter Hasson and Chris White Department of Justice investigators who are conducting an antitrust probe targeting Google do not appear to be scrutinizing claims that the tech giant manipulates its search function, leaks about the probe and a source familiar with it indicate. Google critics argue that Google…
A massive spyware effort targeted users of Google’s Chrome web browser extensions downloaded tens of millions of times, Reuters reported Thursday.
The people responsible for the spyware attacked users through 32 million downloads of extensions to Google’s web browser, and collected browsing history and other user data, researchers at Awake Security told Reuters. Google removed more than 70 malicious extensions after researchers alerted the company of the attack in May, the company said.
Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley announced Wednesday that he is introducing a bill aimed at fighting bad-acting tech companies hours after Google threatened a conservative publication with demonetization.
The Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act, cosponsored by Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Braun of Indiana and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, would prevent big tech companies from receiving Section 230 immunities unless the companies updated their terms of service, promised to operate in good faith and promised to pay a $5,000 fine if they violated their promise.
Google is planning to ban The Federalist and Zero Hedge from its ad platform, Google Ads, after NBC News raised concerns to the tech giant about articles that the conservative websites published regarding rioting and looting that occurred alongside the protests over the death of George Floyd.
According to the NBC report, Google notified The Federalist that it will block the site from using Google Ads because of concerns raised over an article related to the protests over Floyd’s death.
Amazon, Twitter, and other major tech companies are facing intense criticism on antitrust issues and censorship claims in the months since government officials reportedly began asking for help from Silicon Valley on ways to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
The president and lawmakers have turned their sights on Twitter and Amazon, respectively, while Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and other attorneys general are reportedly ratcheting up their antitrust investigation targeting Google’s business model. The White House asked them in March to fight coronavirus disinformation while also assisting the government in its virus response.
President Trump’s long-hoped-for Executive Order on social media censorship is a good first step in dismantling the Left’s dangerous influence over these 21st-century communications vehicles. (You can read the draft that was available online when this article was posted through this link to The National Pulse, edited by Raheem Kassam.)
We particularly agree with this part of the EO’s statement of principles, “In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey online. This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic. When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.”
President Donald Trump is considering forming a commission to review anti-conservative bias on social media platforms, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the idea.
A potential White House-created commission would examine allegations of online bias and censorship, according to the report. The administration will also encourage the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Election Commission to conduct similar reviews, the sources told the WSJ.
Google acknowledged nixing an internal racial justice program Wednesday, and some employees believe the company did it fearing lawsuits from “right-wing employees,” according to an NBC News report.
The company ended Sojourn in 2019, claiming the program designed to teach about racial injustice was too difficult to expand beyond the United States, NBC News reported Wednesday. Current and former employees, however, told NBC the program ended because Google feared backlash in the wake of former software engineer James Damore’s 2018 lawsuit that accused the company of ideological discrimination.
The ground is shifting quickly beneath our feet when it comes to tech, privacy, and power. And, although tech companies, their advocates, and even some policymakers, would like us to imagine these issues are cut and dried, they are not.
In their book The Sovereign Individual, published on the eve of the year 2000, James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg attempt to grapple with the forthcoming technological changes that the new millennium inevitably would bring. “As technology revolutionizes the tools we use,” they wrote, “it also antiquates our laws, reshapes our morals, and alters our perceptions.”
This is the dynamic that has been unfolding slowly over the last 20 years, as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms have transformed how we engage with communications, culture, commerce, and one another.
As the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, China has become infamous for its role in allowing the virus to spread. From misleading the World Health Organization about the virus’s contagious elements, restricting the access of global investigators to infected sites, and lying about their infection numbers, China single-handedly stole months of preparation from other countries that have been savaged by the disease.
China has also hoarded masks and personal protective equipment from desperate countries and threatened to withhold critical medicines relied upon by millions of Americans.
The attorneys general who are involved in an antitrust investigation targeting Google are weighing whether to press the accelerator on the probe or focus resources on the coronavirus response.
Google is doing everything it can to protect not only its employees, but also Americans, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry told the Daily Caller News Foundation. He is referring to what he said was the company’s work to help the Trump administration on the virus response.
Landry is one of the 33 attorneys general who is helping to spearhead the probe.
Sens. Josh Hawley and Richard Blumenthal called on the Department of Justice to train its antitrust probe on Google’s search operations, which some say fuels the tech giant’s alleged anticompetitive practices.
The Department of Justice is reaching out to some of Google’s largest rivals to determine how the tech giant’s advertising business model is impacting the industry, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
by Chris White Apple’s voice-controlled assistant told the big tech company’s customers Saturday night that Israel President Reuvin Rivlin is the leader of the Zionist occupation state.” Someone changed Rivlin’s Wikipedia page to describe Israel’s president as the “main child of Israel,” Israel’s i24 News reported Saturday. Apple and Google often rely…
The nation’s second-largest health system, Ascension, has agreed to allow the software behemoth Google access to tens of millions of patient records. The partnership, called Project Nightingale, aims to improve how information is used for patient care. Specifically, Ascension and Google are trying to build tools, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, “to make health records more useful, more accessible and more searchable” for doctors.
Do non-conforming voices have a prayer against Silicon Valley in November’s critical election? Before the cycle even begins, disturbing new developments show how conservatives and others already may have been marginalized by Big Tech behemoths.