Antitrust investigations aren’t the biggest threat to Facebook’s future

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

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A week from now, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg will be among the CEOs appearing before the House of Representatives’ antitrust committee. Today let’s check in on how the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust case is developing.

The first thing to say is that the case is developing slower than expected. Once on track to wrap up before the US presidential election, it now appears that the case will arrive afterward — if at all, Cecelia Kang reports in the New York Times:

The investigation into whether the tech giant has broken antitrust laws continues to move along, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was private. A round of document production from the company and its rivals was done in the…

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The massive Twitter hack could be a global security crisis

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Illustration by Grayson Blackmon / The Verge

You can’t say you didn’t see it coming.

Whatever Twitter eventually comes to say about the events of July 15th, 2020, when it suffered the most catastrophic security breach in company history, it must be said that the events were set in motion years ago.

Beginning in the spring of 2018, scammers began to impersonate noted cryptocurrency enthusiast Elon Musk. They would use his profile photo, select a user name similar to his, and tweet out an offer that was effective despite being too good to be true: send him a little cryptocurrency, and he’ll send you a lot back. Sometimes the scammer would reply to a connected, verified account — Musk-owned Space X, for example — giving it additional legitimacy. Scammers would also amplify the fake…

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The antitrust case against Google is gathering steam

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Let’s spend a few minutes today catching up on the antitrust inquiries into Google. There are investigations related to competition underway against most of the biggest tech giants – Apple, Facebook, and Amazon face similar inquiries, and their CEOS are scheduled to join Sundar Pichai for a virtual hearing with the House of Representatives later this month. But there’s reason to believe the case against Google will land the soonest of any of them — in May, the New York Times reported that charges could come “as early as this summer.”

Scrutiny into the company’s business practices has since accelerated. Politico reported last week that California, which sat out an investigation led by 48 attorneys general, is preparing to mount its own…

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What a damning civil rights audit missed about Facebook

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Photo by Michele Doying / The Verge

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After two years of work, an independent civil rights audit of Facebook is now complete. The company had been under pressure from Congress and civil rights groups to undertake such an effort for some time, but the audit was voluntary on Facebook’s part. And while sometimes these outside consulting projects approach the client with kid gloves, lead auditor Laura Murphy and her team at the law firm Relman Colfax delivered an 89-page assessment of Facebook’s policies around voter suppression, hate speech, algorithmic bias, and content moderation that is measured but often unsparing.

Auditors took particular exception to Facebook’s decisions to let stand recent posts from President Trump that, in their view, violated the company’s stated…

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How Twitter is shifting the power balance from companies to their employees

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Photo by Michele Doying / The Verge

Last week, the worlds of technology and journalism were transfixed by a conflict that played out across across Instagram, Twitter, and the upstart audio-only social network Clubhouse. One reason it generated so much attention — you can read thorough accounts from varying perspectives at Vice, on Quora, or this venture capitalist’s Substack — is that you can approach the drama from so many angles. But despite the best efforts of everyone here, I still think the most clarifying way to understand the story of Steph Korey, Taylor Lorenz, Balaji Srinivasan, venture capital, and Clubhouse has mostly gone unspoken. And those who fail to see it, I think, could be in for a rude awakening of their own.

Let me start with a brief recounting of…

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The Senate is taking another run at ending encryption

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

To close out the week, let’s talk about some of the recent efforts in the United States to settle longstanding questions about moderation and encryption online.

One reason I like writing about technology companies more than I like writing about Congress is that technology companies are constantly taking action. They introduce new features, they change their policies, and then they apologize for the unintended consequences of the features and policies they released the previous week. Meanwhile, Congress prefers to talk. It holds hearings, stages press conferences, and releases letters. Occasionally bills are written, and sometimes one house or the other will even go to the trouble of passing one, but rarely do they become law.

There are…

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