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Huawei out-hustles Trump by stockpiling chips needed for China 5G
Oct 23. 2020An attendee wearing a protective face mask passe the Huawei Technologies Co. stand during the IFA Consumer Electronics Show at the Berlin Messe exhibition hall in Berlin on Sept. 4, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Jacobia Dahm
By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · No Author · BUSINESS
Huawei Technologies Co. quietly spent months racing to stockpile critical radio chips ahead of Trump administration sanctions, ensuring it can keep supplying Chinese carriers in their $170 billion rollout of 5G technology through at least 2021.
A customer service assistant wearing a protective face mask serves a customer inside a Huawei Technologies Co. store in Pretoria, South Africa, on Aug. 12, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Waldo Swiegers
Partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. began ramping up output in late 2019 of Huawei’s 7-nanometer Tiangang communications chips, the most crucial element in 5G base stations, people familiar with the matter said. The Taiwanese contract manufacturer eventually shipped more than 2 million units at Huawei’s behest ahead of the sanctions cutoff last month, one of the people said, asking not be identified discussing internal matters. The sheer magnitude of orders at one point got TSMC executives wondering whether they had underestimated global demand, the person said.
Huawei’s breakthrough in securing essential supplies underscores the mixed success of a U.S. campaign against China’s largest tech company since 2018. Citing national security concerns, the White House started by trying to curtail the sale of American software and circuitry to Huawei before finally enacting sweeping restrictions against its suppliers including TSMC. It’s that last salvo, a ban on the sale of ready-made, commercially available semiconductors, that finally kneecapped Huawei’s smartphone business and forced it to curtail device production, the people said. Representatives for Huawei and TSMC declined to comment.
But the Tiangang chip, designed in-house by secretive division HiSilicon, has proven pivotal to keeping the 5G business afloat. Huawei had leaned on TSMC in the months before Washington shut that loophole and it can now continue to supply China Mobile Ltd., China Telecom Corp. and China Unicom — the carrier trio now aggressively building out a nationwide 5G network Beijing considers instrumental to driving the world’s No. 2 economy. A China Mobile representative declined to comment for this story. A China Telecom spokesperson said the company will communicate any impact from curbs on Huawei but declined to comment on discussions about chip supply. Unicom representatives didn’t respond to requests for comment.
“The U.S. has demonstrated an intense will to restrict Huawei’s ability to offer 5G technologies. The U.S. government’s assertions of extraterritoriality have made it more difficult for Huawei to maintain access to critical components,” said Dan Wang, an analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics. In 2012, just a third of Huawei’s revenue was generated in China — that closed in on two-thirds last year. “Huawei is more dependent on domestic sales due to both U.S. pressure as well as its strong hold over the fast-growing China market.”
Huawei told Chinese wireless operators its component inventory was fully capable of supporting base station construction in 2021 and beyond despite U.S. sanctions, according to people familiar with the matter. The company has started shipping 5G base stations without American components since at least the end of last year.
It’s unclear how long those stocks can last. Rotating Chairman Guo Ping said last month the company has “sufficient” inventory for its communications equipment business, but is seeking supplies for the smartphone unit.
Even assuming Huawei has cached enough silicon for Chinese clients’ purposes, it may have had to make sacrifices in performance because of shortages in second-tier components. Resorting to less-sophisticated local alternatives may hinder areas such as power consumption rate, the people said. To rectify that, Huawei’s promised to compensate carriers for part of that additional electricity expense, they said. A typical 5G base station consumes roughly four times the power of a standard 4G model.
While Washington is gaining ground in efforts to pressure allies from Australia to the U.K. to shun Huawei equipment, the Chinese company’s main source of income remains its own home country. Huawei has so far won more than half of the 5G orders from state-owned carriers this year, securing contracts worth billions of dollars, Bloomberg News reported earlier.
Chinese carriers have built 690,000 5G base stations since the technology was commercialized about a year ago, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The nation’s carriers have yet to announce base station procurement plans for 2021, but ministry officials said the country’s network buildup will continue over the next three years.
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TikTok will better explain video takedowns in lead-up to election
Oct 23. 2020
By The Washington Post · Rachel Lerman · NATIONAL, BUSINESS, WORLD, TECHNOLOGY, POLITICSSAN FRANCISCO
TikTok will issue more detailed notifications when it removes videos for violating its policies, the company said Thursday, as social media companies continue to work to clarify their content policies in the lead-up to the election.
TikTok’s new notifications will pop up when the video app removes a post, and tell users exactly which policy they violated with a link to the app’s rules. Previously, TikTok did not tell users which policy they violated, leading to confusion that creators often expressed in subsequent videos.
TikTok has been working to expand its content rules and safeguards against misinformation and hate speech this year, including launching an election guide within the app and prohibiting deepfake videos. The company also confirmed this week it will remove posts supporting white nationalism, in addition to neo-Nazi content it already removed.
But like fellow social media companies Twitter and Facebook, TikTok still struggles to rid its site completely of misinformation – including the recent spread of false stories about Joe Biden’s health.
TikTok has been testing the new notifications announced Thursday for a few months, the company said in a blog post. It said the explanations have been helping reduce the number of repeat violations, and it saw a 14% reduction in appeals.
“By being more transparent with our content enforcement, we aim to ensure that our Community Guidelines are enforced uniformly and evenly,” TikTok wrote in its blog.
The company is also facing increased scrutiny from the U.S. government over its Chinese ownership and data security concerns, which has led to an ongoing lawsuit over a pending ban imposed by the Trump Administration.
TikTok was set to be banned from U.S. app stores on Sept. 27 following an order signed by President Donald Trump in August. But a judge blocked that ban with a last minute injunction and suggested the Trump Adminstration may have overreached by imposing it. The Justice Department is now appealing that decision.
A second part of the TikTok ban is still currently set to go into effect on Nov. 12, which would ban Internet hosting companies in the U.S. from working with TikTok, among other provisions. That ban could make it nearly impossible to use the app in the U.S.
A court hearing has been set for Nov. 4 to discuss TikTok’s request for that ban to be blocked.
TikTok is also pursuing another way to stop that ban – by striking a tentative deal with U.S. companies Oracle and Walmart, in hopes of satisfying regulator concerns that the Chinese government could potentially access U.S. data. Trump seemingly gave his blessing to the deal, but it has not been finalized and the parties still seemed to disagree on the ownership terms last month.
That would also potentially resolve another order signed by the president in August that requires Chinese parent company ByteDance to divest from TikTok in the U.S. by Nov. 12. TikTok is working with a government committee on that order, which could be extended by 30 days.
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Google accused of abusing power in landmark antitrust case
Oct 21. 2020
By China Daily
The US Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc’s Google, accusing it of abusing its monopoly in search in the most significant antitrust action against an American company in more than two decades — and possibly a century.
Google, which controls about 90 percent of the online search market in the US, is the “unchallenged gateway” to the internet and used anticompetitive practices to maintain and extend its monopoly in search, the government said in a complaint filed Tuesday in Washington.
“Google’s conduct is illegal under traditional antitrust principles and must be stopped,” Jeffrey Rosen, the Justice Department’s No. 2 official said on a conference call with reporters.
Google called the government’s lawsuit “deeply flawed.”
“People use Google because they choose to — not because they’re forced to or because they can’t find alternatives. We will have a full statement this morning,” the company said on Twitter.
Google’s shares rose less than 1 percent to US$1,542.43 at 10:45 am in New York trading.
The complaint is the first phase of what’s shaping up as a multi-pronged attack against Google. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is preparing a complaint against the company over its conduct in the digital-advertising market, where it controls much of the technology used by advertisers and publishers to buy and sell display ads across the web
The complaint is the first phase of what’s shaping up as a multi-pronged attack against Google. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is preparing a complaint against the company over its conduct in the digital-advertising market, where it controls much of the technology used by advertisers and publishers to buy and sell display ads across the web.
Google’s search business generates most of the company’s revenue and has funded its expansion into email, online video, smartphone software, maps, cloud computing, autonomous vehicles and display advertising. The search engine influences the fates of thousands of businesses online, which depend on Google to get in front of users.
“Google’s anticompetitive practices are especially pernicious because they deny rivals scale to compete effectively,” the US said in the complaint.
The advertising revenues that Google shares with search-distribution channels raise barriers to entry for rivals that can’t afford to pay a multi-billion-dollar entry fee, the US said. Those payoffs have allowed Google to create “continuous and self-reinforcing monopolies in multiple markets,” the US said.
Google began dominating online search 20 years ago with an algorithm that delivered results better than others’. Since then it has also relied on exclusive agreements and its own products, like its Android mobile operating system, to be the default search option for millions of users. That’s given it an insurmountable advantage over rivals, according to critics.
While it’s not illegal to be a monopoly under US law, it’s a violation for a dominant company to engage in exclusionary conduct to protect or strengthen its market power.
The Justice Department’s case, which Texas and 10 other states joined, is the first to emerge from an investigation of some of the largest technology companies initiated by Attorney General William Barr almost 15 months ago. It’s the most significant antitrust lawsuit since the US filed a case against Microsoft Corp in 1998 and marks a seismic shift away from the government’s mostly laissez-faire approach toward America’s tech giants.
Barr had championed the Google case by giving it a high priority and assigning his No. 2 to oversee it.
In addition to the case being developed by Texas, another group of state attorneys general are conducting a separate investigation into Google’s search business, including allegations that it violated antitrust laws by favoring its own specialized search services over offerings from rivals like Yelp Inc.
The Google cases could be followed by a Federal Trade Commission case later this year against Facebook Inc joined by state attorneys general. In Congress, Representative David Cicilline intends to push legislation to curb the dominance of tech giants following findings of an investigation that Google, Facebook, Apple Inc, and Amazon.com Inc abused their power as gatekeepers in the digital economy.
The combined challenges could upend how the companies do business. If the government prevails, one or more of the tech goliaths could even be broken up — reminiscent of the way the antitrust crusades of the early 20th century led to the breakup of Standard Oil in 1911.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly railed against US tech firms, exposing the Justice Department to criticism that the case against Google is politically motivated.
It will likely be more than a year before the lawsuit goes to trial if it’s not settled first. That could mean a Joe Biden administration will be responsible for continuing the case if the former vice president defeats Trump in November.
Google is expected to put up a fight and will be able to spare no expense with its defense. Its parent, Alphabet, is one of the world’s wealthiest companies with a market value of about US$1 trillion and projected 2020 sales of US$142 billion.
In hearings and court filings, the company has said it faces robust rivals in all its markets. It has argued that competition has helped lower the cost of online ads in recent years, and it has highlighted the money it makes for publishers and small businesses.
The House antitrust panel report found that Google has been able to build barriers to competition by becoming the default search engine on desktop and mobile internet browsers. In desktop browsers, Google search has default placement on Google Chrome, Apple’s Safari and Mozilla Corp’s Firefox, amounting to 87 percent of the market, according to the report.
In mobile, Google search controls essentially the entire market because it’s the default search on its Android operating system and Apple’s iOS operating system. It pays Apple roughly US$8 billion a year for the privilege, according to estimates by analysts at Sanford C Bernstein & Co. And that’s not the only such agreement. Google also has deals with Mozilla’s Firefox as well as phone makers including Samsung Electronics Co.
The suit is the biggest monopoly case brought by the US since the Justice Department and a group of states accused Microsoft of illegally monopolizing the market for computer operating systems. That case, brought under former president Bill Clinton, nearly led to the company’s breakup.
There are also parallels between today’s widespread anti-big-tech sentiment and the Progressive Era push that lead to the breakup of Standard Oil. Oil was to the industrial base of the economy in the early 20th century, what data is to the 21st century economy.
The John D. Rockefeller empire began as a small refinery, but grew through acquisitions to control 90 percent of US oil production, refining and transportation. Along the way, Rockefeller amassed huge amounts of economic power, as did steel and railroad magnates. That also led to the passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 and ultimately Standard Oil’s dissolution.
Google, likewise, began as a small search engine and grew quickly through acquisitions such as YouTube in 2006 and the DoubleClick digital advertising company in 2007 to control vast swaths of the digital advertising ecosystem. Google also stockpiled immense troves of data — decades’ worth of consumer and business buying preferences and surfing habits — deepening its economic grip and making it harder for new entrants to challenge it.
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Justice Department sues Google, alleging multiple violations of federal antitrust law
Oct 21. 2020
By The Washington Post · Tony Romm · NATIONAL, BUSINESS, TECHNOLOGY, COURTSLAW, US-GLOBAL-MARKETS WASHINGTON – The Justice Department on Tuesday sued Google over allegations that its search and advertising empire violated federal antitrust laws, launching what is likely to be a lengthy, bruising legal fight between Washington and Silicon Valley that could have vast implications for the entire tech industry.
The federal government’s landmark lawsuit caps off a roughly year-long investigation that concluded Google wielded its digital dominance to the detriment of corporate rivals and consumers. The complaint contends that Google relied on a mix of special agreements and other problematic business practices to secure an insurmountable lead in online search, capturing the market for nearly 90 percent of all queries in the United States.
Google gained its “grip on distribution,” the Justice Department said, by paying billions of dollars to become the default search application in Web browsers, on smartphones and across a wide array of other devices and services, including those offered by some of its competitors, such as Apple. This vast, unparalleled reach allowed Google to enrich itself through lucrative ads, maintain its online foothold and render it impossible for other search engines to compete, the federal lawsuit alleges.
In bringing its case, the Justice Department did not explicitly ask a judge to break apart Google. Instead, it urged the court to consider “structural relief,” which theoretically could include a requirement that the company sell a portion of its business and cease other practices that federal regulators see as harmful and unlawful.
“Absent a court order, Google will continue executing its anticompetitive strategy, crippling the competitive process, reducing consumer choice, and stifling innovation,” the Justice Department alleged in its complaint. “For the sake of American consumers, advertisers, and all companies now reliant on the internet economy, the time has come to stop Google’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition.”
Google on Tuesday rejected the government’s claims as “deeply flawed.” Kent Walker, the company’s chief legal officer, defended Google’s business practices, arguing that consumers nationwide still have the choice to use its rivals’ online offerings.
“American antitrust law is designed to promote innovation and help consumers, not tilt the playing field in favor of particular competitors or make it harder for people to get the services they want,” Walker wrote in a blog post. “We’re confident that a court will conclude that this suit doesn’t square with either the facts or the law.”
An antitrust lawsuit marks the start, not the end, of the government’s antitrust fight with Google. It could take years for the courts to resolve whether the company violated the Sherman Act, a roughly century-old law that federal competition cops have previously put to use to combat tobacco, oil and telecommunications giants seen as threats to competition and consumers.
Eleven Republican attorneys general – from states including Louisiana, Florida and Texas – signed onto the Justice Department’s lawsuit. Other states are still probing Google on antitrust grounds and may choose later to join the federal case or opt to bring their own, threatening to widen the legal territory Google must cover to defend its business from serious, potentially far-reaching changes.
But the Justice Department’s filing alone still serves as a stunning turn of events for Google, marking the first major salvo in decades to challenge Silicon Valley’s size. It also follows roughly seven years after the government last probed the company for potential antitrust violations – and opted against suing Google or seeking significant penalties. The inaction in Washington for years had stood in stark contrast with the antitrust scrutiny Google has faced in Europe, where competition regulators over the past decade have slapped the Mountain View, Calif.-based technology behemoth with $9 billion in fines.
Since then, Democrats and Republicans have found rare accord in reexamining Google and looking anew at other Silicon Valley tech titans, fearing that they have become too big and powerful – and that the U.S. government had fallen far short in its responsibility to police them. The heightened concern has prompted a wave of probes targeting Apple, Amazon and Facebook, as well as a fresh effort to toughen federal antitrust laws in anticipation of future fights.
“Antitrust enforcement against Google is long overdue,” said Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., the chairman of the House’s top competition-focused panel.
The Justice Department began scrutinizing Google as part of a broad review of Big Tech announced last summer, with federal officials seeking to respond to what they described then as “widespread concerns that consumers, businesses, and entrepreneurs have expressed about search, social media, and some retail services online.” That September, Google started turning over key, sensitive documents to the Justice Department for its investigation, the company acknowledged in a securities filing at the time.
Initially, agency officials signaled an interest in probing the company’s advertising business, which contributed the lion’s share of the company’s $162 billion in 2019 revenue. Quickly, though, the probe expanded to touch on a wider array of issues in response to a flurry of complaints from rival companies – from news publishers to travel review websites – that say Google wields its powerful search engine in myriad ways to entrench its dominance.
The federal case filed Tuesday ultimately hinges on several allegedly “pernicious” agreements brokered between Google with some of its rivals aimed at expanding the reach of its search engine. With its Android smartphone operating system, for instance, Google relies on formal arrangements with device manufacturers including Samsung and LG that force them to set the tech giant’s search as the default – or perhaps risk losing access to its other suite of coveted smartphone apps and services.
In other cases, Google shares some of its lucrative advertising revenue – totaling billions of dollars – with its rivals to secure the primacy of its search engine. Google provides similar payments to Apple, which then sets Google as the default search service on its iPhones as well as its voice-enabled assistant, Siri, the Justice Department alleges. The Apple arrangement is especially valuable: The iPhone giant reaps up to 20 percent of worldwide net income from Google revenue, the lawsuit contends, and Google at one point in 2019 attributed almost half of its search traffic as having originated on Apple devices.
In response, Google sharply rebuked the government’s characterization, stressing that users could easily change the search service they use on a wide array of devices and services, including Apple’s iPhone. In the eyes of the government, however, the tech giant “aggressively uses its monopoly positions, and the money that flows from them, to continuously foreclose rivals and protect its monopolies.”
Apple, Samsung and other tech giants did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Months before the government filed its lawsuit, the federal probe had been shrouded in acrimony. The Justice Department and Google warred over the company’s apparent unwillingness to turn over documents that federal investigators described as critical to their work.
Within the agency, meanwhile, government lawyers have sparred among themselves over the timeline for bringing a case, particularly in the weeks before the 2020 presidential election. Dozens of agency staffers signaled this summer that they did not think they were ready to bring charges against Google, but Attorney General William P. Barr ultimately overruled them – and set the Justice Department on a course to file this month. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has attacked Google and other tech companies with claims that they are politically biased, leaving some critics fearful that political considerations fueled the government’s timing.
The federal investigation has proceeded in parallel with state probes commenced in September 2019 by nearly every Democratic and Republican attorney general. Some of the investigations have broadened to encompass more than advertising – touching on search and the extent to which Google further enhances its dominance through its Android operating system.
A handful of states including Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska and New York issued a joint public statement Tuesday indicating they are still scrutinizing a wide array of Google’s business practices and may opt to join any federal case later.
“This is a historic time for both federal and state antitrust authorities, as we work to protect competition and innovation in our technology markets,” the statement said. “We plan to conclude parts of our investigation of Google in the coming weeks. If we decide to file a complaint, we would file a motion to consolidate our case with the DOJ’s. We would then litigate the consolidated case cooperatively, much as we did in the Microsoft case.”
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Insurance firm Chubb Life launches health monitoring app
Oct 17. 2020
By The Nation
Chubb Life’s new Chubb LifeBalance app helps people view their health through a new lens. Available in Thailand, Hong Kong and Myanmar, the app is designed to help people actively manage physical, emotional and environmental factors during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.
It allows everyone to set their own personal health goals and provides daily prompts and inspiration to keep you motivated.
Chubb LifeBalance connects with a full range of health devices and other apps, from Fitbit to Strava, Garmin to Apple Health, and also lets you invite and compete virtually with friends and family.
“We believe everyone needs support to protect their health during these extraordinary times. Chubb LifeBalance helps everyone see their health through a new lens, one that focuses on more than just your physical well-being, but also cares about your sleep, diet, mind, and body,” said Angela Hunter, country president at Chubb Life Assurance.
Chubb LifeBalance is available for download from the App Store or Google Play. The first 3,000 users to register and use the application for a month will receive a Bt100 FamilyMart e-coupon.
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IPhone 12 first look: What’s tempting, and what Apple failed to mention
Oct 15. 2020
By Geoffrey A. Fowler The Washington Post
SAN FRANCISCO – Sometimes, it’s what Apple doesn’t say about a new iPhone that’s most revealing.
The headline upgrade in this year’s iPhone 12 – soon to be blasted across endless commercials – is that it supports fast 5G cellular networks. They probably won’t mention that across much of America, these next-generation networks are still slow. Depending on where you live, an iPhone 12 might do diddly for your downloads.
The iPhone 12 launched Tuesday with some of the most notable changes we’ve seen in years from Apple’s flagship product: there’s 5G, a flat-edge design and a “mini” model. But to figure out whether one is worth your money, we have to look beyond the hype.
My takeaway: Most people don’t need an iPhone 12 now, but you might want one in a year or two . . . by which point there could be an iPhone 13 or 14 with 5G. The iPhone 12 is the phone you buy because you’re planning to hold onto it for a while.
Normally after Apple unveils a product, I get the opportunity to spend a little time with it. This launch offered only a first-look-but-don’t-touch, because coronavirus pandemic precautions pushed Apple’s event online. Until professional reviewers get our hands on the new iPhone, we’re left to judge based on what Apple claimed in its prerecorded video and on its slick, computer-generated renderings.
That’s all the more reason to bite into this new iPhone with a healthy dollop of skepticism. Apple doesn’t really compete with Android phones for our business anymore. For most iPhone owners, the choice is when to upgrade, how much money you want to hand to Apple and – particularly this year – what size you want it to be.
Here are your 2020 options, arriving in stores in late October and mid-November:
– iPhone 12, $800, is the successor to the “standard” iPhone of the last few years but priced at $100 more. It’s got a 6.1-inch screen and two cameras on the back.
– iPhone 12 mini, $700, is a new smaller-form iPhone, with a 5.4-inch screen squished inside a smaller body than we’ve seen from Apple in years.
– iPhone 12 Pro, $1,000, is the fancy 6.1-inch model with extra camera tricks.
– iPhone 12 Pro Max, $1,100, is the giant 6.7-inch fancy model with extra camera tricks.
Any of these phones will probably feel like a significant upgrade to anyone using an iPhone 6S, 7 or 8. You can also get a cheaper upgrade by buying last year’s iPhone 11 for $600, or the recent $400 iPhone SE, which resembles an old iPhone 8 but is faster.
While the iPhone 12 offers lots of little improvements, there are four upgrades that are the most tempting – and need some caveats.
– 5G across the line:
What’s promising: 5G networks, which boast faster downloads, less delay and the ability to support a lot more devices, are unquestionably in our future. They’re now supported by the iPhone, the one device that can consistently make waves in tech. Unlike some competitors, Apple is also keeping 5G simple, at least in the United States, where all its phones will support the many different flavors of 5G (so you don’t have to learn terms like “millimeter wave” and “sub-6″). Buying one of these phones this year likely futureproofs you for years.
A 5G iPhone could be very fast. Verizon said on Tuesday its ultra-wideband network clocks peak downloads of 4 gigabits (yes, giga!) per second on the device.
What they didn’t mention: Even the marketing maestros at Apple couldn’t cook up a very convincing reason we need 5G on our phones in 2020. (Its few examples included a new video game and doctors quickly downloading patient brain scans . . . to examine on tiny phone screens?) I don’t doubt that someday 5G will power things we can’t even imagine today. But the reality is that the current “nationwide” 5G networks just aren’t very fast. When I tested Samsung’s 5G phones last month in the San Francisco Bay area, I got download speeds that were only marginally better than on 4G phones – and in some places worse! U.S. carriers have a lot of work to do to live up to what Tim Cook promised in his keynote presentation: that 5G is “super fast.”
One more caveat: Using 5G can drain your battery. Apple claims iPhone 12 battery life is about the same as the iPhone 11. But it has built in a special battery-saving Smart Data Mode that kicks you off 5G networks when it thinks you don’t need it. What happens in a few years when we actually do need it?
– New designs and materials:
What’s promising: Like hemlines, phone designs go in and out of fashion. The iPhone 12 brings back the flat edge of the old iPhone 4, which some people find less slippery.
And speaking of being easier to hold, there is a smaller option: the iPhone 12 mini. It’s smaller than even the iPhone 8, but it has an edge-to-edge screen.
All of this year’s iPhones had a little nip and tuck along the edges. The iPhone 12 is 11% thinner, 15% smaller and 16% lighter than the iPhone 11. That’s how they squeezed an even larger screen in the Pro Max model, measuring 6.7 inches on the diagonal.
The iPhone 12 also uses a new kind of glass that Apple says makes it four times more resistant to cracking when it drops. And, at long last, there’s a blue model.
What they didn’t mention: The iPhone 12 mini still isn’t as small as the beloved original iPhone SE, which Apple said goodbye to this year in favor of a new model that’s the same size as an iPhone 8. Apple also says the mini’s battery lasts 2 hours less than the regular 12.
And Apple didn’t make a change many of us really have been asking for: The return of TouchID. Apple’s FaceID system, introduced in the iPhone X, has never worked very well when you wear sunglasses. But the coronavirus pandemic caused an epidemic of unlock failures by people wearing masks. Come on Apple – you were able to put a fingerprint reader on the button in the new iPad Air, so why not in the iPhone?
– Night camera improvements:
What’s promising: A lot of fun happens in the dark. Now you can take better selfies at night with the addition of Apple’s Night Mode, introduced with the iPhone 11, to the front-facing camera. The impressive lowlight mode can take pictures in situations typically too dark for photography. It also has been added to the ultrawide angle camera on the back of the phone.
On the pricier 12 Pro models that have a telephoto lens on the back, Apple added a lidar sensor – it looks less like a fourth eye and more like a beauty mark. Lidar is the same depth-measurement tech used in self-driving cars. No, the iPhone 12 Pro can’t hit the road, but it can use this data to improve focus, particularly in the dark, among other tricks. As a photo hobbyist, this excites me.
What they didn’t mention: Apple didn’t do much to improve my top camera request: zooming. Samsung and other phone makers are embedding telescoping lenses in phones that do up to 10 times optical zoom and 100 times digital zoom. The iPhone 12 Pro Max offers just 2.5 optical zoom and 12 times digital zoom.
– Environmental benefits:
What’s promising: The iPhone 12 no longer comes with headphones or a charging brick. Wait, why is that a good thing? Apple says it’s good for the environment, because there are already over 700 million corded white EarPods in the world, and 2 billion Apple power adapters. It’s true: I could raise a family of hamsters in my big tangle of old headphones. By dropping them from the package, Apple could also make its boxes smaller, part of a wider commitment to have a net-zero climate impact across its entire business by 2040.
What they didn’t mention: If you still need headphones or a charging brick, the Apple-made models will cost you a total of $38. (Perhaps the company can interest you in some $160 AirPods instead?) And Apple didn’t lower the prices of its iPhones to compensate for giving us less. The iPhone mini starts at $700, the same price as last year’s regular-sized iPhone 11. It costs a hundred bucks more for the regular size this year.
And while environmental watchdogs report Apple generally has a better track record than others in the tech industry, it could still do more to help its products last longer. A recent lawsuit in Canada revealed that more than 100,000 used devices Apple had sent for shredding were still able to be used.
The No. 1 thing an iPhone owner can do to help the environment is not buy a new iPhone. Or buy a used or refurbished one.
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Seven nations join the U.S. in signing the Artemis Accords, creating a legal framework for behavior in space
Oct 14. 2020
By The Washington Post · Christian Davenport · NATIONAL, SCIENCE-ENVIRONMENT
NASA announced Tuesday that seven nations have joined the United States in signing the Artemis Accords, a series of bilateral agreements that would establish rules for the peaceful use of outer space and govern behavior on the surface of the moon.
The rules would allow private companies to extract lunar resources, create safety zones to prevent conflict and ensure that countries act transparently about their plans in space and share their scientific discoveries.
In an interview ahead of the announcement, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the accords are “intended to create norms of behavior that all countries can agree to so that we can keep peace and prosperity moving forward in space and avoid any kind of confusion or ambiguity that can result in conflict.”
He said the accords, first announced in May, would build on the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which bans the use of nuclear weapons in space and prohibits nations from laying sovereign claim to the moon or other celestial bodies.
“There is nothing in the Artemis Accords that isn’t enshrined in the Outer Space Treaty,” Bridenstine said. “It’s a forcing function to get nations to comply with the Outer Space Treaty.”
The seven nations that signed are the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and Italy. It’s a somewhat eclectic mix, with countries like Japan, that have long been partners on the International Space Station, joining others, such as Australia and the UAE, that have relatively new but up and coming space programs. Bridenstine said the event Tuesday was only the beginning and that other nations would soon be joining. Ultimately, he said, the U.S. would create “the biggest, most diverse coalition of nations ever in the exploration of the moon and beyond.”
Signing the accords would also be a requirement for any nation wishing to partner with the U.S. in its Artemis program to return astronauts to the surface of the moon. But not all nations have reacted favorably to the agreements, or the lunar plan.
Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, previously compared the accords to an invasion that would lead to another “Iraq or Afghanistan.” On Monday, during the International Astronautical Congress, a global space conference, he said Russia was not likely to participate in NASA’s moon mission, which he said was “too U.S.-centric.”
He said NASA’s approach to lunar exploration, which would use a station in orbit around the moon called the Gateway, differs from the cooperation between nations on the International Space Station.
“The most important thing here would be to base this program on the principles of international cooperation that, which were used in order to fly ISS,” he said, speaking through a translator. “If we could get back to considering making these principles as the foundation of the program then Roscomos would also consider its participation.”
Bridenstine said “the Gateway uses the exact same international agreement, the IGA, that the International Space Station uses.” He added that NASA has “shared with Roscosmos what we would like to do with the Gateway in terms of collaborating with them and seeing what they’re interested is, and we just haven’t heard back.”
By law, the United States is effectively barred from cooperating with China in space. But NASA officials said that even if Russia and China are not signatories, the accords would be successful because they would create a baseline for the world to follow.
“Precedent is important,” said Mike Gold, NASA’s acting associate administrator for the office of international and interagency relations. “By embracing our values, along with our partners, we’re creating a track record, a norm of behavior that will influence the entire world to proceed with the transparent, peaceful and safe exploration of space.”
Signatories would agree, for example, to help provide emergency assistance in the case of an injured astronaut. They would also agree to protect historic sites, such as the Apollo 11 landing area. They would also agree to be transparent about their plans for space and share scientific data.
The accords would allow countries or companies to create “safety zones” so they could work to extract resources. NASA and China are both interested in going to the South Pole of the moon, where there is water in the form of ice in the shadows of craters.
Being able to operate there safely, without interference, will be critical if multiple nations are vying for the same resource in the same place, he said.
“The most valuable resource that I think any nation is going to be interested in is the water ice at the South Pole,” he said. “So if we get to a position where there is a competition for that resource that’s an area that we’re going to have to deal with.”
But he also said there was value in being open so that nations could avoid any confusion and potential conflict.
“We need transparency so that people know where you’re going, and what yours doing and how you intend to operate. And that includes, for example, a rover,” he said. “How far is that rover going to go? What is the space within which that rover is going to operate? How do we make sure that when somebody else goes to a nearby region, they’re not interfering with the rover.”
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Apple going smaller with ‘mini’ phones and speakers, fewer accessories in box
Oct 14. 2020
By The Washington Post · Heather Kelly, Geoffrey A. Fowler, Reed Albergotti · BUSINESS, TECHNOLOGY
SAN FRANCISCO – Apple is thinking small again. The company is making a new “mini” iPhone and HomePod smart speaker, and shrinking its iPhone packaging by taking out the power adapter and headphones.
The one thing the company hopes to keep growing is sales, as it enters a most unusual holiday season. It’s an open question how the coronavirus pandemic, which has devastated the finances of many families, might affect customers’ upgrade decisions.
In a pre-recorded video streamed Tuesday morning, Apple unveiled its new iPhone 12 lineup that includes four different models. Filled with elaborate drone shots of Apple’s mostly empty Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, the announcement focused on camera features, durability and the promise of fast wireless connections. Literally from the rooftop (which is covered in solar panels), Apple proclaimed that it was shrinking its environmental footprint by not automatically including the power adapter and headphones.
The star attraction was a new iPhone 12s that supports new 5G cellular networks. That technology theoretically enables much faster mobile downloads than the 4G networks the iPhone has supported since 2012’s iPhone. But consumers won’t experience that until carriers build out their 5G networks.
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After years of smooth, slippery rounded edges, Apple is bringing flat sides back to its iPhone designs. It one of several changes that are a throwback to older phones.
The iPhone 12 mini is 5.18 inches tall, and could appease fans of the older iPhone SE, which fits better into some hands and pockets. There appear to be few other differences between the 12 mini and the regular iPhone 12, except for a shorter battery life.
Apple is also bringing back “MagSafe,” its name for putting magnets around a charging area. MagSafe used to help keep MacBook cords from popping out, and now a circle of magnets on the back of new iPhones will help it stay in place on a wireless charger, or hold new accessories like a wallet.
In another nod to older, heavier devices, Apple says it is making its new phones sturdier. It touted the new glass on the iPhone 12, which is made by Corning, calling it “tougher” than previous models because of its new “ceramic shield.”
“Tough” in the glass industry means the glass is less breakable. That’s a good thing, because broken glass is one of the main reasons people end up repairing their iPhones. But in glass, toughness is at usually at odds with hardness, which makes glass scratch resistant. However, Apple says this is a new kind of technology that won’t make the tougher screen easier to scratch.
Of all the tweaks and upgrades on this year’s iPhone 12, there was one older feature that really would have made a difference in people’s lives: a fingerprint scanner.
Apple switched to Face ID on new iPhones in 2017, ditching the Touch ID sensors that unlocked phones quickly and easily. Apple had a good reason for getting rid of fingerprint sensors. It wanted to make bigger screens, and the home button with the sensors took up valuable real estate.
But Face ID isn’t cutting it anymore, now that the pandemic has us all masked up in public. It’s no fun repeatedly typing in six-digit passwords at the supermarket just to check your shopping list. It has some people disabling passwords, creating a big security risk, or just not using Face ID.
Apple has a solution to the problem: Fingerprint sensors on the side of the device, instead of the screen. But those sensors are only available on iPads, not iPhones. That’s a curious decision, considering the Face ID problem is less of an issue for iPads, which people tend to use more at home, when they’re not wearing masks.
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Starting with the iPhone 12, there will be no more power adapter or corded headphones included with new phones. The change was expected, especially after it dropped the adapter from the new Apple Watch Series 6 box last month.
Apple believes that anyone upgrading from an older iPhone model probably has one or more of the adapters and a tangle of EarBuds already. But if anyone needs to restock, Apple will sell them for $19 each.
Apple vice president Lisa Jackson, a former administrator of the EPA, said the move was part of Apple’s commitment to the environment. There will still be a power cable, which plugs into a standard smaller, USB-C style port.
Standing on solar panels on top of Apple’s headquarters, Jackson said there are already over 700 million corded headphones in the world, and 2 billion Apple power adapters. Cutting the accessories, Jackson said, means Apple can make smaller boxes, which cuts 2 million metric tons of carbon emission annually – like removing 450,000 cars from the road per year.
But Apple didn’t cut the price of its phones to compensate consumers for the cutbacks. The iPhone 12 mini starts at $700, the same as last year’s iPhone 11. And while Apple generally has a better environmental reputation than other tech companies, it isn’t perfect. A recent lawsuit in Canada revealed that more than 100,000 devices Apple had sent for shredding were still able to be used.
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Apple has struggled to make its mark in the smartspeaker market. While it was the first of the big tech companies to have a voice assistant, Siri, it is still far behind Amazon and Google when it comes to voice controlled smartspeakers.
Now, three years after releasing the HomePod, Apple has announced a new version that is smaller and cheaper. Small and plump with a glowing circle on top, the new HomePod mini looks like a votive candle holder.
At $99, compared with $299 for its original HomePod, the mini is more in the price range of competing products from Google and Amazon. Apple has added some new features, many of which already exist on competing speakers, such as the ability to recognize different voices and an intercom feature to yell at family members over different speakers in a house.
However, it appears to still have limited integrations with third-party services. Apple says it will work with Apple Music, its own Podcasts app, iHeart Radio, Radio.com and TuneIn radio, with Pandora and Amazon Music coming later. Still conspicuously missing is Apple Music competitor and smartspeaker favorite Spotify.
Apple is focusing on one advantage it thinks it has in the smartspeaker market: audio quality. It says the device uses “computational audio” for 360-degree sound, but without a side-by-side demonstration, it’s impossible to know how it will stack up to the range of Google and Amazon offerings.
“I don’t think anyone is going to run out and buy this speaker and then get rid of their existing Google or Amazon model,” said Victoria Petrock, an analyst at eMarketer who follows the smart speaker market. “Over time, however, Apple may be eyeing a bigger play for subscription services in entertainment, fitness and/or healthcare – and having this speaker as part of an entrenched, more complete system of Apple products within people’s homes could tilt the balance toward Apple products and services.”
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Apple says its entire new lineup of iPhones will support 5G networks, the next generation in wireless tech. A 5G iPhone 12 might sound like a useful upgrade, but the cellular networks that would support it are still being built in the United States and many other countries.
To help sell the new technology, Apple included Verizon’s CEO Hans Vestberg in its video. But both companies chose their words carefully about a tech that’s still a work in progress in markets such as the United States.
What the companies skipped over: how few places you can use this ultrafast network. As of this summer, it was less than 1% of the United States, and mostly in places we spend little time during a pandemic – in stadiums and busy downtown corridors. New iPhone owners in the U.S. might have to wait a year or more to notice dramatic download speed improvements on a wide scale.
At the Apple event, Verizon said it would double its ultra wideband 5G presence in some cities, and roll out to 60 markets by the end of the year. But it didn’t say how much of the United States that would cover.
Network analysis firm Opensignal says the overall download speed experience of 5G phones on American networks is 33 Mbps, the second-slowest in the world. Average 5G speeds in Saudi Arabia, which topped the list, are 145 Mbps.
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For many iPhone customers, the camera is the most important feature when considering an upgrade. After essentially killing the point-and-shoot-camera market, smartphones have become the only camera many people use to record their lives.
Apple is well aware, and it tries to regularly improve its camera offerings, including marketing its highest-end phone to professionals and people who pretend they are pro photographers. The iPhone 12 is no different, with improvements across the line and especially in the iPhone 12 Pro.
Night Mode is a setting that automatically turns on when you’re shooting someplace that would typically be too dark for a photo. With the iPhone 12 line, Apple is adding its night mode feature to all the device’s cameras, including the front-facing option used for selfies and the ultrawide back camera. The new devices will also add the ability to shoot night-mode time lapse videos.
In addition to adding new wide-angle lenses to the iPhone 12, Apple is trying to woo professional photographers with upgrades to the iPhone 12 Pro and larger iPhone 12 Pro Max. They will have larger sensors, increased optical zoom, and improved computational photography features.
The iPhone 12 Pro also adds a fourth sensor on the back that measures distance, similar to the lidar (light detection and ranging) scanner Apple built into its latest iPad Pro. The sensors are used by many autonomous vehicles to sense the environment in much greater detail than traditional radar would allow. However Apple is using them to improve augmented reality offerings and improve photography in low light, by finding the right spot to focus on when traditional light sensors might fail when it’s dark.
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Washington’s one-two antitrust punch is about to smack Big Tech
Oct 13. 2020
By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · David McLaughlin · NATIONAL, BUSINESS, POLITICS, COURTSLAW, US-GLOBAL-MARKETS U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Rep. David Cicilline are far from ideological soulmates. But in a one-two punch, they’re about to take on the country’s biggest technology platforms and could drive the most significant changes to antitrust law enforcement in decades.
Barr, one of President Donald Trump’s most loyal cabinet members, is poised to file a monopoly-abuse lawsuit as soon as this week against Google. Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, is preparing legislation based on last week’s report alleging wide-ranging antitrust violations by Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.com.
While the Justice Department case, which is expected to focus on Google’s monopoly over internet search, could take years to resolve, Cicilline’s legislation could have immediate effect if passed — and could be far more consequential for the tech industry as a whole.
This is true even if Cicilline’s most dramatic proposal — to break up the companies — stalls because of Republican opposition, antitrust experts said.
After the 449-page report’s release, Cicilline said he intends to offer legislation by the end of the year. That won’t leave enough time for Congress to act, but Cicilline said he intends it as a way to “educate our colleagues about the challenges ahead” and plans to offer more proposals in 2021. Several House Republicans said the report contained proposals they could endorse. And Cicilline said he thought a potential Biden administration would be “very receptive.”
“Even if half of this, a fourth of this, makes it through the dog fight, it’s still a pretty huge deal,” said John Newman, who teaches antitrust law at the University of Miami School of Law. “Even a compromise here is revolutionary in some ways.”
Measures proposed by Cicilline could arm competition cops with new powers and weaken legal barriers that many say have tilted the playing field too much in favor of big companies.
A Cicilline bill could have its most profound effect on mergers and acquisitions. The House Democrat is expected to take aim at the heart of antitrust thinking for the last 40 years — the so-called consumer-welfare standard that says short-term consumer price effects should be the focus of merger evaluations and monopoly investigations.
The report calls on Congress to clarify that antitrust laws are designed not just to protect consumers, but also “workers, entrepreneurs, independent businesses, open markets, a fair economy, and democratic ideals.”
The document also recommends several changes to merger statutes, such as by setting bright-line rules for when deals are disallowed. It would, for example, make acquisitions of tech startups generally illegal, a step that would go a long way toward loosening the power of the tech giants without breaking them up.
Herb Hovenkamp, a leading antitrust scholar at the University of Pennsylvania’s law school, said he favored the proposal’s call for restrictions on acquisitions of startups, which would allow smaller companies to grow and compete against the large platforms.
Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple have made hundreds of acquisitions over the last decade, none of which were stopped by antitrust enforcers.
Cicilline is also expected to seek to revive laws banning companies from driving competitors out of business through below-cost, or predatory, pricing.
That could stop Amazon, for instance, from waging price wars against sellers of rival products, much the way it did to Diapers.com in 2009. The report says Amazon slashed diaper prices so much, it lost $200 million in a month. Amazon’s rock-bottom prices drove the smaller firm to sell itself to the online retail giant, which ultimately increased prices.
The report further recommends banning the tech titans from favoring their own products and discriminating against rivals on their platforms. That could stop Google, for example, from ranking its travel- and shopping-search products above third-party content.
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., and others in his party endorsed making it easier for antitrust enforcers to stop future deals. While dismissing calls for breaking up the tech giants along business lines and non-discrimination mandates as “nonstarters,” they backed two measures aimed at boosting the ability of startups to compete against tech giants.
One is called interoperability, which would require dominant platforms to interconnect with other networks so that the same services are easily available across firms. The second, data portability, would require networks to make it easier for users to migrate their data between platforms.
Together, the changes could allow social-media startups to get a footing by ensuring that, say, Facebook users who want to move to an alternative network could easily take their lists of friends, photos and posts with them.
The recommendations by the House antitrust subcommittee, which Cicilline chairs, are a long way from becoming reality, given Republican control of the Senate and White House. Even if Democrats take both in November, Republicans may be able to force compromise with procedural tools that allow them to block legislation — unless Democrats do away with the 60-vote majority needed to advance legislation, as some have advocated.
If Trump loses to former vice president Joe Biden, many of the Cicilline report’s recommendations are likely to resonate with people who are informally advising the Biden campaign on tech policy, said a person familiar with the matter.
The central antitrust laws in the U.S. were passed more than a century ago and the last major antitrust statute became law in 1976. The last antitrust breakup of a company was nearly 40 years ago, when AT&T’s telephone monopoly was dismantled into regional phone companies.
Advocates of tougher antitrust enforcement believe the government for decades has been too permissive toward mergers. They also think the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission need more firepower to counter the increasing concentration and market power of companies across the economy, not just the tech sector. By overhauling the antitrust statutes, the advocates say, Congress can also override court cases that have tied enforcers’ hands.
“The overall result is an approach to antitrust that has significantly diverged from the laws that Congress enacted,” the report says. “In part due to this narrowing, some of the anticompetitive business practices that the subcommittee’s investigation uncovered could be difficult to challenge under current law.”
Some antitrust traditionalists disagree over the need for reforms. “It’s really about doing a massive, radical overhaul of the entire system, root and stem,” said Josh Wright, a former FTC member who teaches at George Mason University’s law school.
He criticized as dangerous the recommendations that would target business conduct that can benefit consumers. “This is an invitation for having bureaucratic agencies design the economy without much check for judicial review.”
Some favor a middle-of-the-road approach. In the AT&T case, the federal courts ordered its breakup only after more modest regulatory efforts failed. Gene Kimmelman, a senior adviser at Public Knowledge, a think tank that generally favors more aggressive enforcement, thinks that should be the model for the tech giants.
Breaking up the platforms may not be needed if more modest interventions are tried first, such as preventing them from discriminating against other companies that use their platforms and requiring interoperability, Kimmelman said. Those are significant changes that can potentially deliver the same benefits as a breakup, he said.
“Some of the more severe remedies can be justified but they cause trade-offs that cause some consumer benefits being given up,” said Kimmelman. “You have to have a really strong track record to convince the public that they should make those trade-offs.”
Legislation to strengthen enforcement is also certain to instigate a fight with the tech companies, which wield some of the most influential lobbying operations in Washington.
Already, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest business trade group, is pushing back with a five-figure advertising campaign to defend existing antitrust laws.
At an Oct. 9 panel discussion about the report, Cicilline said the tech juggernauts “have enormous incentive to resist any change or allow any competition into this market because they are benefiting enormously” from their monopoly power.
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Mark Zuckerberg’s reversal on Holocaust denial is a 180-degree turn
Oct 13. 2020Mark Zuckerberg
By The Washington Post · Elizabeth Dwoskin · NATIONAL, TECHNOLOGY, MEDIA FACEBOOK-ANALYSIS Three years ago, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg stridently defended the rights of Holocaust deniers to publish their thoughts on the social media giant’s platform, saying it wasn’t in the business of removing content just because it was factually wrong.
The comment, a year after the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va., was considered one of Zuckerberg’s boldest stances affirming his permissive views on free speech – a watershed moment that preceded his controversial announcement, a year later, that the company would not fact-check statements from politicians. It drew a huge backlash from Jewish groups and from Holocaust survivors.
The reversal of that stance on Monday is a striking reminder of how Facebook is belatedly caving to criticism that the company has not done enough to prevent hate from spreading on its platform and has been slow to acknowledge the connections between misleading information, strategic disinformation and violent acts.
Zuckerberg said in a blog post that his “thinking has evolved” after seeing data showing an increase in anti-Semitic violence.
Jewish groups applauded the move but wondered why it took Facebook a decade to listen.
“Since 2011, ADL has been calling publicly and privately for Facebook to change its policies to classify Holocaust denial on its platform as a form of hate speech, because Holocaust denial is most certainly hate speech,” said Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt, in a statement. “While Facebook has made numerous positive changes to its policies since that time, it stubbornly had held onto this outrageous platform policy, even in the face of the undeniable threat of growing anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic violence around the world.”
When Zuckerberg defended Holocaust denial in an interview in 2018, he said it was because it was difficult to know the intentions or motives of those denying it. “At the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong,” he said, adding that as a Jewish person, he found Holocaust denial to be personally offensive.
The comment provoked immediate uproar from researchers and Jewish groups, who for years have documented how promoting the conspiracy theory that Nazi Germany did not kill six million Jews and millions of others during the Second World War is part of a broader anti-Semitic strategy.
Facebook banned the term “White supremacy” and neo-Nazi groups at the time, but that ban was narrow enough that it was easy for hateful movements to flourish on the platform using other names and terms. For example, the company didn’t have policies banning terms such as “White nationalism” and “White separatism” until 2019 (the term alt-right is currently permitted).
The Proud Boys were banned several months after Zuckerberg’s comment, but other groups closely tied to White supremacist movements and hateful thinking, such as the “boogaloo” and QAnon, garnered huge followings on the platform before they were banned in response to pressure this year.
YouTube banned Holocaust denial videos in 2019, calling such conspiracies “hateful.”
This summer, civil rights groups organized a large advertiser boycott of Facebook. Removing Holocaust denials was one of the demands of the boycott, echoing the near decade-long request from Jewish groups.
With the coronavirus and the election in 2020, Facebook has drastically shifted its stances on misinformation. For years, the company allowed misinformation. In 2018, it created a program to attach fact-checking labels to misleading articles.
This year, Facebook prohibited covid-19 misinformation, as well as a host of election-related misinformation, including false statements about election results or the status of polling places. The company has banned political ads after the election.