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Changing the date of the election would require an act of Congress.
Wednesday's tech antitrust hearing was a grueling six-hour event in which House committee members grilled Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sundar Pichai about their companies' market power.  Cook, Apple's CEO, received what seemed like the fewest questions, but he was asked about the App Store and how Apple treats app developers.  Zuckerberg was probed on Facebook's acquisition strategy and whether it bought companies like Instagram to "neutralize" a competitor.  Pichai, who is CEO of Google-parent Alphabet, received what seemed like the most questions from the committee on matters ranging from perceived conservative censorship to Google's search dominance.  Bezos had perhaps the most surprising admission of the day when he admitted Amazon may have violated its own policies when it comes to third-party seller data and its private-label business.  Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Four of tech's most high-profile leaders spend nearly six hours on Wednesday being grilled before the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee.  The hearing allowed subcommittee chair Rep. David Cicilline to compel Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, to answer questions on their companies' acquisition strategies, data collection tactics, advertising methods, and behavior toward consumers and third-party vendors that use their platforms. The hearing also opened up the floor to questions unrelated to antitrust. Several members of the committee grilled executives like Zuckerberg and Pichai over what they see as conservative censorship on their platforms, and Cook and Bezos were questioned on topics like cancel culture and charitable donations through their platforms.  Wednesday's hearing was the first time Bezos testified before Congress and the first time all four major tech CEOs testified alongside each other. The subcommittee said it would use the testimonies it gathered Wednesday to complete its year-long investigation into whether Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google engaged in anticompetitive practices. But if you didn't sit through all six hours of testimony, here's what you need to know about how each CEO was questioned Wednesday's hearing. Tim Cook was scrutinized over Apple's treatment of app developers Cook was largely left alone for a significant portion of the hearing. When he was questioned, Cook was mostly asked about the App Store, and whether Apple applies rules differently to different developers. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Democrat from Georgia, told Cook the committee's investigation had found that "the rules are made up as you go, they are arbitrarily interpreted and enforced, and are subject to change whenever Apple sees fit to change." Cook denied that's the case, saying the company treats every developer the same.  "We have open and transparent rules, it's a rigorous process," Cook said. "Because we care so deeply about privacy and security and quality we do look at every app before it goes on. But those rules apply evenly to everyone." When Johnson asked whether Apple would ever raise App Store commission fees, Cook replied that doing so would push developers to other app stores. "It's so competitive I would describe it as a street fight for market share," Cook said. Cook also denied assertions that the company would retaliate against developers who complained about Apple's policies, saying that "it's strongly against our company culture" to bully or retaliate against people.  Mark Zuckerberg was pushed on Facebook's acquisition tactics and its treatment of rivals Zuckerberg, along with Pichai, seemed to face the brunt of the committee's questioning. Lawmakers devoted a significant amount of time to how Facebook treats rivals in the social media space. Rep. Pramila Jayapal questioned Zuckerberg on whether the company's competitive strategy includes outright copying features from rivals, and Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook has "certainly adapted features" from other companies. Lawmakers also grilled Zuckerberg on whether Facebook had ever threatened to clone a rival's product in an attempt to acquire it, like in the case of Snapchat and Instagram, and whether he saw the acquisition as a means to "neutralize" a competitor, which Zuckerberg denied. "It was clear that this was a space that we were going to compete in one way or another," Zuckerberg said about Instagram. "I don't view those conversations as a threat in any way." Elsewhere in the hearing, Zuckerberg addressed what some lawmakers viewed as conservative censorship on the platform. Zuckerberg defended Facebook's content moderation policies and said he would investigate complaints of bias among moderators.  "We want to make sure that anything we do reflects the values of the company that we'll give everyone a voice," Zuckerberg said.  Sundar Pichai faced accusations that Google abuses its search prowess to identify competition and crush it Like Facebook, Pichai had to defend Google over assertions from GOP lawmakers that its platform is inherently biased against conservatives, that it actively attempted to help Hillary Clinton get elected in 2016, and that it's censoring information about an unproven treatment for the coronavirus a malaria drug called hydroxychloroquine. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, Democrat of Pennsylvania, described several of these notions as "fringe conspiracy theories."  But Pichai faced a tougher line of questioning when it came to Google's power over its competitors — Cicilline pointed to Yelp, specifically, as a competitor that Google has wielded unfair power over by threatening to delist Yelp in search results. Cicilline questioned Pichai over what the committee sees as a conflict of interest: that Google search results will frequently point users to other Google products, like YouTube, over competitors. Pichai denied that search results favor Google products. "We have always focused on providing users with the most relevant information," Pichai said. Pichai was also questioned over Google's relationship with China — he initially told the committee he didn't have "first-hand knowledge" of China stealing information from Google, though it was one of the main reasons Google pulled out of China. (Pichai later corrected this statement.) Jeff Bezos was grilled on Amazon's relationship with third-party sellers Bezos wasn't questioned for a significant portion of the hearing after what was likely a technical issue. But lawmakers quickly piled on the questions for Bezos on multiple aspects of the company's business, particularly its relationship with third-party sellers. In perhaps the most revelatory moment of the hearing, Bezos told the committee that he couldn't guarantee Amazon had never violated its own policies when it comes using trend data about third-party sellers to dictate Amazon's private-label products.  Amazon was accused of using its size to bully and harass third-party vendors, and that sellers have no other choice but to work with Amazon because "it's the only game in town," according to Cicilline.  Bezos didn't deny that that type of behavior had taken place, but stopped short of admitting any wrongdoing on Amazon's part.  "It does not seem like the correct way to treat her," Bezos said about comments from a third-party seller who said she'd been crushed by Amazon. "I don't understand what's going on in that anecdote. I do not think that's systematically what's going on."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Leslie Odom, Jr.'s $500,000 gamble that led to a starring role in 'Hamilton'
Hello, everyone! Welcome to the new edition of Insider Today. Please sign up here. QUOTE OF THE DAY "Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself," — the late John Lewis. He left the New York Times a posthumous essay to be published the day of his funeral. WHAT'S HAPPENING GDP plunged at an annualized rate of 33% in the second quarter, by far a record drop. The pandemic lockdowns caused the economy to shrink about 10% in the quarter. Meanwhile, weekly unemployment claims increased again to 1.43 million, the 19th week in a row with more than 1 million claims.   President Trump suggested postponing the presidential election, which he cannot do. Trailing badly in the polls, Trump tweeted falsely that mail-in voting could make the election "FRAUDULENT." Only Congress could change the date of the presidential election, and only a constitutional amendment could change Inauguration Day.  Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain has died at 74, apparently of COVID. He had been hospitalized for weeks, and had contracted the virus shortly after attending President Trump's Tulsa rally. A former restaurateur, Cain briefly led the GOP field in 2011. Trump considered him for the Fed board in 2019, but didn't nominate him after widespread opposition.  VIEWS OF THE DAY It's time to take Trump seriously, figuratively, and literally This morning President Trump tweeted about delaying the election due to the pandemic. In April Trump's rival, Vice President Joe Biden, predicted the President might try to delay the election if his poll numbers looked bad, and they look hideous. Remember that this is a pandemic that spun out of control largely because of a lack of federal response. Trump only put on a mask himself a few weeks ago. The White House could create the conditions for safe elections by competently handling this crisis, but it won't. That's why we're here. Trump works by gut instinct, and he has never let his ignorance of how the US government works — or the limits of presidential power — stop him from trampling on the rights of others. (See: His multiple attempts at passing a travel ban on Muslim countries.) The fact that he can't change the date of the election won't stop him from knocking on every door, or trying to open any window he can, into victory. We already have evidence that Trump will stop at nothing to improve his chances for reelection. Two weeks ago he tried to get Republicans to defund coronavirus testing in Congress' upcoming pandemic relief bill to make infection numbers look better for him.   If you think someone who is willing to do that won't try to hinder the democratic process, I have a gold-plated, Trump-branded bridge to sell you. And I don't just mean Trump will try messing with vote counts, I mean he will be messing with our faith in the outcome of this election and the process of democracy itself. That's the bare minimum of what he will do. It is in this man's inherent nature to use all of his power — unfortunately, the power of the presidency — for his own power's sake. That is exactly how Henry Wallace, Vice President of this country from 1941 to 1945, described American fascists. "A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends. The supreme god of a fascist, to which his ends are directed, may be money or power; may be a race or a class; may be a military, clique or an economic group; or may be a culture, religion, or a political party." Be vigilant. Take Donald Trump seriously, literally, figuratively. He is a desperate demagogue limited only by what we the people will abide. — Linette Lopez Now we know what Jeff Bezos' worried face looks like Four masters of Silicon Valley — the CEOs of Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook — testified before Congress to answer for their anti-competitive behavior yesterday, and in stark contrast to previous hearings they were visibly shaken by the questions they were asked. As I put in my column, we got to see Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' worried face. Some highlights in case all you caught were the clips of Republicans screaming about being silenced (there was some of that, but there was more productive questioning): Members of both parties hammered Facebook for its strategy of buying, copying or threatening competitors out of business, reading damning internal emails from the company's acquisition of Instagram. Bezos was tongue tied when asked why Amazon makes money from counterfeit goods, nor could he answer any questions about Amazon's protocol for ensuring that it's not selling stolen goods. Bezos squirmed through questions from Representative Pramila Jayapal about how Amazon misuses third-party seller data to develop in-house brands that compete with merchants selling on his platform saying only, "I can't answer that question yes or no." Zuckerberg could not explain away the fact that his company profits from peddling misinformation. Cicilline brought up that, despite committing to only distributing accurate information about the coronavirus, it took Facebook five hours and 20 million views before it took down a video full of false claims about the pandemic. Amplifying that misinformation once its on the platform, Cicilline said is a "business decision." Democratic Rep. Congressman Joe Neguse of Colorado pressed the CEOs of Apple and Google, both of which control app stores, to promise they would not use the information they collect from apps in their stores to build competitors. Democratic Rep. Val Demings of Florida pressed Pichai about the way Google surveils its customers, bundling data from across all of its products (Gmail, maps, etc.) in order to sell them targeted ads All in all, the CEOs seemed caught off guard. They expected this hearing to be more of the same from Washington — a series of uninformed questions from geriatric senators who barely read email. It was not that. Catch the whole column here.  — LL BUSINESS & ECONOMY Exxon is reclassifying employees as poor performers in order to hide layoffs as performance-based job cuts. Internal documents and 19 insiders reveal that the company is pushing managers to downgrade employees in order to force them out for performance reasons. In April, Exxon required managers to put at least 8% of employees in the poor performer category, up from a previous minimum of 3%.  There was some fraud, but not a ton of it, in the PPP program. The SBA watchdog has found about $300 million in potentially dubious small business loans, out of more than $500 billion issued. LIFE Scientists have finally figured out where the huge stones at Stonehenge came from. The 80 "sarsens," which weigh 25 tons each, were brought from about 15 miles away, and probably all at the same time.  10 signs your relationship will or won't work, based on a study of 11,000 couples. Some are obvious: Do you fight a lot? Is your sex life good? Others are less so: Do you appreciate your partner? LISTEN OF THE DAY Parents, teachers, and lawmakers are all debating whether or not schools should open their doors this fall for in-person instruction. We joined Insider Audio's Charlie Herman for a discussion about what it will take to get students back in their seats amidst a pandemic, and what's at stake if they don't return. Click here to listen to the full conversation. — HB & DP THE BIG 3* She tried making scrambled eggs 10 different ways: Insider's Rachel Askinasi changed the level of heat, added different liquids, and compared results. Milk made them watery, cream made them fluffy.  Claudia Conway returned to Twitter. She criticized her mom's boss, Donald Trump, and joked that AOC should adopt her. The best and worst things about living in a camper van. Pluses: the great views, the nature, the lack of schedule. Minuses: No showers, no WiFi, never getting to stay in the same place for more than a couple nights.  *The most popular stories on Insider today.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images The House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee has just released a huge trove of internal documents from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google as part of its vast investigation into the tech industry. The documents reveal the internal machinations of companies that are typically highly secretive — and they even include a few buried emails from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, which we’ve shared below. Two sets of emails discuss the decisions that, to this day, keep iPhone and iPad users from buying digital books in Amazon’s apps. (You have to use a web browser as a workaround.) In one email from November 2010, marketing chief Phil Schiller wrote to Jobs, internet services lead Eddy Cue, and product marketing head Greg Joswiak about how... Continue reading…
Photo illustration by William Joel | Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images Newly released emails from April 2012 show Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other executives were frustrated by slow internal prototyping and weighed the benefits of quickly copying and iterating on smaller apps like Pinterest instead. A chain of messages starts with Zuckerberg recounting a meeting with the founders of Chinese social networking app Renren. “In China there is this strong culture of cloning things quickly and building lots of different products,” he wrote. “Seeing all this and the pace that new mobile apps seem to be coming out from other companies makes me think we’re moving very slowly. ... I wonder what we could do to move a lot faster.” The messages were released on Wednesday as part of a House Judiciary Committee... Continue reading…
Well, we had an antitrust hearing. A long one, too. The House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the market power of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google ran to nearly six hours, accounting for a handful of delays and intermissions. Alternating Democrats and Republicans asked the CEOs of those companies a combined 217 questions, ranging from pointed questions about how Facebook intimidates smaller competitors (from Rep. Pramila Jayapal) to comically self-interested inquiries into why members’ fundraising emails are going to the spam folder (thank you, Rep. Greg Steube.) In its lunatic whipsawing between companies, issues, and conspiracy theories, Wednesday’s antitrust hearing resembled nothing so much as an endlessly scrolling social... Continue reading…
New documents surfaced through a Congressional investigation into Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook show how the companies pursued acquisitions and fought off perceived competitors.  The documents provide a rare glimpse into the actions taken by top executives including Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs at crucial moments for their company. Lawmakers said the documents are evidence that companies engaged in anticompetitive behavior, but CEOs defended their companies' actions and said they continue to face stiff competition. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple didn't become four of the biggest tech companies in the world overnight — and newly surfaced documents show the tough, often-cutthroat decisions made by top executives at the company at pivotal moments in their growth. Members of Congress obtained emails, memos, and internal studies from the four companies as part of an ongoing antitrust investigation. They were published Wednesday when the CEOs of the four companies testified in an unprecedented Congressional hearing. The documents reveal how top executives at the tech giants including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs guided their companies' growth and jousted with perceived threats. They also paint a picture of four tech companies aggressively pursuing growth at all costs, chasing acquisitions and strategizing against possible competitors. Many of the lawmakers leading the House Antitrust Committee's investigation said the documents are evidence that the companies wield too much power. But the four CEOs repeatedly framed their actions as necessary steps to keep their companies alive. Facebook emails show Zuckerberg worried 'Instagram can hurt us' before acquisition Months before Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion, Zuckerberg wrote in an email that he was concerned "Instagram can hurt us meaningfully without becoming a huge business." In a different email, a colleague questioned whether Zuckerberg's reasoning for wanting to acquire Instagram was to either neutralize a competitor or improve Facebook. In his response, Zuckerberg said it was a combination of both. He then replied to that email 45 minutes later to clarify that "I didn't mean to imply that we'd be buying them to prevent them from competing with us in any way." At one point in Wednesday's hearing, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat, accused Zuckerberg of leveraging acquisitions of companies he saw as threats. "These tactics reinforce Facebook's dominance which you then use in increasingly destructive way," Jayapal said. Zuckerberg said in response that Facebook doesn't aim to intimidate or pressure competitors. "I respectfully disagree with the premise," he said. Amazon emails show how the company tried to hobble before acquiring it Emails published by Congress show Amazon aimed to undercut Quidsi, the parent company of and, before acquiring the company for $545 million in 2010. "We have already initiated a more aggressive 'plan to win' against," Amazon retail executive Doug Herrington wrote in a 2010 email. "To the extent that this plan undercuts the core diapers business for, it will slow the adoption of" "We have already initiated a more aggressive 'plan to win' against," Herrington apparently wrote in an email released by the committee. "To the extent that this plan undercuts the core diapers business for, it will slow the adoption of ... We need to match pricing on these guys no matter what the cost." Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, a Pennsylvania Democrat, questioned Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about the emails Wednesday and accused Amazon of routinely weakening competitors with low prices, even if it caused Amazon to take a loss. Bezos responded that he didn't remember the situation described in the emails about and that Amazon sets low prices to win over customers. "I cannot comment on that because I don't remember it," Bezos said. "What I can tell you is that we are very, very focused on the customer." New emails show how Steve Jobs used Apple's control over the app store to 'cut off' developers  Congress published emails that show former Apple CEO Steve Jobs wielding the company's control over its app store to punish developers. In one 2010 email, Jobs suggests the company "cut off" Joe Hewitt, a developer that didn't want to comply with Apple's new requirement that iPhone apps be written in Apple's native programming language. "I'd suggest we just cut Joe off from now on," he said. Emails suggest Google feared competitors that could divert traffic away from its own products Rep. David Cicilline, chair of the Antitrust Subcommittee, said that newly published emails from over a decade ago show Google repeatedly considering whether to delist companies from search that it found threatening. "These documents show that Google's staff discussed 'the proliferating threat' that these web pages pose to Google. Any traffic lost to other sites was a loss in revenue," Cicilline said. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google's parent company Alphabet, said in reply that the company prioritizes users' experiences, but did not directly address anticompetitive concerns. "When I run the company, I'm really focused on giving users what they want. We conduct ourselves to the highest standard," Pichai said. Read more about new emails surfaced by Congress: Mark Zuckerberg wrote to his top lieutenants about the benefits of 'cloning' competitors after meeting with Chinese entrepreneurs in 2012 — read the full memo Newly released Steve Jobs emails, included in Congress' antitrust investigation, show how ruthless the Apple founder could be Emails show Amazon coordinated an 'aggressive' plan to 'undercut' before acquiring its parent company in 2010 Newly-released emails reveal how Google hoped to pay $50 million for YouTube in 2006, and why it ended up paying $1.65 billion Emails show how Amazon's $1 billion Ring acquisition was driven by Jeff Bezos' interest in its 'market position – not technology' New text messages show Kevin Systrom worried about Mark Zuckerberg going into 'destroy mode' if he didn't sell to Facebook Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why YETI coolers are so expensive
Did you notice that an AI-powered chatbot takes your order?In such a case, the AI chatbot platform will help you when your order is expected to be ready and the total cost.Simple, isn’t it?Similarly, the Pizza Hut chatbot on Facebook Messenger can help you order your pizza online.The artificial intelligence of interactive chatbots is revolutionizing the customer service experience.But how?These platforms are more advanced than live chat software solutions.They can engage with your customers without the need for a support agent.By adding a chatbot to your website or on Facebook, you can provide information to customers whenever they need it, and that too, quickly.Did you know that interactive chatbots are, essentially, intelligent programs that are capable of having conversations with humans?They can help you steer your online prospects through the sales funnel with ease, right from initial discussions to final conversions.Pro Tip: Give your customers the option of chatting with a customer service representative if your chatbot isn’t able to resolve their queries.What is an AI Chatbot?Chatbots are machines that converse with humans via audio or text.And AI chatbots are smarter versions of these chatbots.It also safeguards you against unforeseen situations.Designing the conversational flow with these factors in mind gives your chatbot a human outlook.What’s more?Chatbot interactions are either structured or unstructured:Structured interactions are more about how information logically flows.Unstructured interactions include freestyle plain text like that used while chatting with friends and family.The former can consist of choices, menus, or forms.You must then design scripts and ensure they serve your business goal.How?Determine the tone and personality of the chatbot based on your business.Focus on ensuring consistency with your brand voice.Include a human element to hold comfortable and fluent conversations.Your scripting data should reflect your target audience.
Mercedes-Benz is at it again. Slowly but surely, the German carmaker is highlighting the many different new features in its next-generation 2021 S-Class luxury sedan. Yesterday, Mercedes-Benz went to Facebook to showcase its latest augmented reality heads-up display screen (AR-HUD) complete with innovative graphics and animations. But now, Mercedes-Benz is talking about the S-Class’ optional rear-axle steering system and E-Active … Continue reading
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos started to answer a lawmaker's question at Wednesday's tech antitrust hearing — only to be told that he had to unmute his microphone. "Mr. Bezos, I believe you're on mute," one lawmaker can be heard saying. Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai were all allowed to participate in the hearing remotely, due to the pandemic.  It was a standout moment in the hearing and a sign of the times, as a powerful tech exec struggled with the same everyday annoyance as countless others during the current period of remote office work. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Wednesday was a historic day for the tech industry — the CEOs of the sector's most powerful companies were grilled in front of Congress over antitrust concerns. The virtual nature of the hearing, however, meant that the executives attending remotely ran into some of the common pitfalls of modern remote work  — including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who at one point had to be reminded by lawmakers to unmute his microphone. Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL), asked all four leaders if they believe the Chinese government has stolen from American technology firms in the past. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg replied that he thinks such theft is "well-documented," before Bezos chimed in with his answer — except that he started speaking with the mute button on. "You're on mute," Stuebe said.  "Mr. Bezos, I believe you're on mute," said another lawmaker. Bezos unmuted, apologized, and proceeded to respond to the question. You can watch the clip, posted by a Twitter user, below. Wow! Even Jeff Bezos forgets he’s on mute sometimes. — Joma (@jomaoppa) July 29, 2020   The exchange was a surreal moment as the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing protocols allowed for Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Zuckerberg, and Bezos to dial in virtually to deliver their testimonies at the hearing. Representatives of the House Judiciary's antitrust subcommittee were stationed in-person at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington DC to grill the four execs over business practices that they say might give them an unfair advantage in the marketplace. So far, the hearing hasn't generated the same kind of viral memes as previous Congressional tech hearings — remember when Zuckerberg faced-off with Congress in 2018? — but some viewers online took notice of the moment. Jeff Bezos having to be told that he’s accidentally on mute during a zoom congressional hearing is maybe the greatest gift of 2020 — Leo Daube (@leodaube) July 30, 2020 Jeff Bezos being on mute was my highlight today — Zach Dembner (@zachdembner) July 29, 2020 Jeff Bezos just made everyone who has ever tried talking while still on mute feel so much better about themselves. — David Stark (@starkupnation) July 29, 2020 It wasn't the only noteworthy example of how technology played a role in the hearing. The event was paused at one point so one of the four witnesses' video connection could be fixed. And Rep. David Cicilline's swearing-in of the CEOs was also telling, when he asked the witnesses to "unmute your microphone, and raise your right hand."SEE ALSO: Jeff Bezos hinted Amazon might split from the SPLC over designation of extremist groups after pressure from a GOP lawmaker Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 7 secrets about Washington, DC landmarks you probably didn't know
You might soon be able to forever mute those annoying WhatsApp groups you never really participate in. The Facebook-owned messenger seems to be testing an “Always Muted” option for chats, WABetaInfo has noticed. The feature is still in development, but it will likely replace the “1 year” option which WhatsApp currently gives to users. At present, WhatsApp lets users mute chats for eight hours, a week, or a year. Unfortunately, those options leave a gap for certain chats where you need to be, but don’t necessarily have to follow the full discussion. I’ve got one of these too. The building… This story continues at The Next WebOr just read more coverage about: WhatsApp
Fisker Inc., fresh off a merger that valued the company at $3 billion and has given it $1 billion to work with, announced a lineup of four vehicles. The Ocean SUV (arriving in 2023), will be joined by a sports sedan, another SUV, and a pickup truck. Fisker is pursuing a lightweight business model: It doesn't want to build a factory, but rather work with contract manufacturers to make its vehicles. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Henrik Fisker, CEO of the electric-vehicle startup that bears his name, has $1 billion to work with — and a master plan to make the most of it. "When we created Fisker Inc., we set out to create a company that could deliver electric mobility as a service, but do so through a range of highly emotional and differentiated vehicles," he said in a statement. Earlier this month, Fisker Inc. merged with Apollo, the huge private-equity firm, in a once unusual, now increasingly common sort of deal that valued the company at $3 billion.   For more than year, Fisker has been avidly showcasing his Ocean SUV, the company's first offering, which until the merger remained a prototype, living primarily on social media. But Fisker — whose previous company, Fisker Automotive, was undone by the financial crisis and some freakishly bad luck — now has the cash not just to turn the Ocean into reality, but to roll out three more vehicles behind it. By mid-decade, the company said, its lineup will include the Ocean SUV, a "segment busting super-sports sedan," a sports crossover, and a pickup truck. Fisker doesn't want to be vertically integrated That's right, a pickup truck. These days, pickups are to EVs what sports cars were to the space a decade ago. (Who can forget the original Tesla Roadster?) The difference here is that the big automakers are getting into the game. GMC just announced a revived Hummer pickup will go into production next year. Chevy says an electric full-size is on the way. Everybody is waiting for the electric Ford F-150, and of course, Tesla is building a new factory in Texas, the heart of pickup country, to manufacture its Cybertruck. Fisker's approach, as the Danish-born designer and entrepreneur said in an interview with Insider, is to avoid owning the production process for its vehicles. "We don't want to be a vertically integrated car company," he said. "We're not going to do our own manufacturing. It would be stupid for any EV startup to make a brand-new factory." Instead, Fisker intends to contract out the work, leaving him to do what he does best: design compelling vehicles, promote them enthusiastically, and push a new business-model into the market, one based on experience. "A new generation of buyers has a new view on mobility," he said. "Their first ride in a car wasn't in their parents' old five-speed coupé. It was in the back seat of an Uber. They don't care how big the engine is. They're looking at the user interface." And maybe at the size of the bed, too. FOLLOW US: On Facebook for more car and transportation content! Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why hydrogen cars will be Tesla's biggest threat
A new Oculus headset could be coming soon. Here's what we think we know -- and what we want.
Facebook died for me back in 2017, yet I still find myself on the platform daily. This is mainly to stay up to date with schoolmates I haven’t spoken to for about ten years and see my ‘friends’ share questionable posts from “Britain First”. As awful as this platform is, I choose to stay, just like watching a house on fire.  So, to make my time on Facebook worthwhile I joined a private community called “a group where we all pretend to be Boomers (UNCENSORED).”  It’s self explanatory. On it, you’ll find teenagers mocking anyone aged 55-70 — and it… This story continues at The Next WebOr just read more coverage about: Facebook
What's inside Krowd by Mark Bishop & Venkata Ramana?The way Krowd works is incredibly simple... Krowd finds opportunities for you to obtain free laser targeted traffic from one of the largest platforms on the internet.A platform currently receiving over 320 million unique visitors (and growing) per month!Hint: It’s not Google, Youtube, Facebook or Instagram... Krowd then lets you emulate what the already successful marketers on the platform are doing, so you too can instantly tap into thousands of free targeted visitors and send them to any website or offer of your choice... You don’t even need to create any ‘content’.The software extracts it for you.
When people think about TikTok these days, the thought that’s on everyone’s mind is: will the US ban it? Earlier this month, the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said that the government is ‘thinking about it.’ Last night, President Donald Trump also said the government is ‘thinking about it.’  But will they finally pull the plug? The Zuckerberg fight One person that might enjoy the demise of TikTok is Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook CEO has left no stone unturned to take potshots at the short video app and simultaneously building rival products. [Read: Congress fumbles through antitrust hearing with big tech CEOs]… This story continues at The Next Web
IBM is pushing forward with its search for a huge new Manhattan office where it would consolidate several locations, sources told Business Insider.  The firm has narrowed its search to about a half dozen buildings. The progress shows that not all tenants have soured on the workplace, even as the coronavirus has prompted some occupiers to question whether they will need as much space going forward. The tech sector has been a robust taker of office space through the pandemic.  Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. IBM is forging ahead with its search for a huge Manhattan office where it will consolidate several locations it occupies in the city, five sources with direct knowledge of the computing giant's plans said. The $110 billion public company has narrowed its options to roughly half a dozen buildings, these sources said. Among the spaces IBM is said to be considering is a deal to anchor a potential redevelopment of the office property One Madison Avenue. IBM is seeking between 450,000 and 500,000 square feet and has hired the real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield to help it evaluate and procure the space. "IBM continually looks at our real estate to ensure it services the needs of IBMers and how we serve our clients," a spokesman for IBM said in a statement, declining to provide further information about the status of the firm's plans.  The company's search highlights how some tenants, especially in relatively robust sectors of the economy such as technology, have persevered in making real-estate decisions despite the coronavirus crisis, which has caused commercial real-estate sales and leasing to otherwise plummet. Read More: WeWork is embracing big brokerage firms to help it fill space it gobbled up in NYC and Los Angeles. It's a key pivot for the coworking giant as leasing demand slows. Some tech firms are still seen pushing ahead with leases Facebook is said to be nearing an agreement to lease over 700,000 square feet at the Farley Building on Manhattan's West Side. Those negotiations have captivated the city's real estate industry, which views the transaction as a measure of health for the office market and a signal whether large companies remain committed to maintaining a physical footprint as the pandemic has thrust the future utility of the workplace into question. The video sharing site TikTok meanwhile, recently signed on to lease over 200,000 square feet at 151 West 42nd Street in Times Square. "Years go into the decision-making process of where to locate a company, lease space, and grow," said Nelson Mils, the president and CEO of Columbia Property Trust, which owns and operates nearly 3 million square feet of space in the city and also owns buildings in other major markets such as San Francisco, Boston, and Washington DC. "Successful companies spend a lot of time and energy making these decisions and Covid is just one more aspect of the process." Mills pointed out that Columbia recently signed a roughly 35,000 square foot lease with Twitch Prime, a streaming video gaming service owned by Amazon, which is taking two floors at 315 Park Avenue South. "These tech and media businesses are doing quite well," Mills said. "I don't think anyone we're talking to right now is devaluing the importance of the office to their future and the success of their culture and business." The coronavirus has dealt a considerable blow to the office market both in the city and nationally. Just 1.3 million square feet of space was leased in Manhattan in May and June, almost half of the 2.5 million square feet that was leased in June 2019 alone, according to data from CBRE. So far, about 8.3 million square feet has been leased in Manhattan this year, down from almost 15 million square feet at the same point a year ago, CBRE reported. The large office provider WeWork is awash in so much space, it revealed to Business Insider that it is tapping large real-estate brokerage companies such as CBRE and JLL for the first time to help it fill large holes in its portfolio. IBM, itself, seemed to pull back on its office presence, dropping a 70,000 square foot space it occupied in Manhattan with WeWork. Columbia releases its earnings on Thursday, but peers in the business have been bruised by the crisis. Last week, SL Green released second-quarter financial information that showed its earnings per share dropped to 74 cents, down 60% from the same period a year ago. Read more: IBM is ditching a big WeWork office in NYC, revealing the risks of the popular flex-space model as the pandemic prompts Blue Chip companies to rethink real estate Long-term remote work plans have loomed over office markets Large tenants have uncoupled their operations from the workplace, raising anxieties among landlords when tenants will return and if the pandemic could lead to a long term downsizing and deprioritization of physical office space. Google, for instance, announced Monday that it would allow employees to work from home until next summer. Twitter, which has its NYC headquarters in a building owned by Columbia on West 17th Street, told its workers earlier in the virus crisis that they are free to work from home indefinitely. Mills said he believes that despite that edict from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, the company has conveyed it will maintain an office presence. "We had conversations with them and there is no suggestion that they will reduce their footprint," Mills said. "Will working from home be a lasting thing? It could happen. But we have talked about it many times that the drivers that made office space a necessary for creativity and culture for firms like Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter all still exist." Read more: Neiman Marcus' shocking exit from glitzy Hudson Yards strikes a huge blow to the $25 billion project. The departure could unravel one of the most expensive mega-malls in US history. Co-living is the real-estate industry's big bet on dorm-like housing for young professionals. Here's why players like Nuveen and Cushman & Wakefield remain bullish even during the pandemic. Real estate developers are building costly cold storage space before they even have tenants. They're betting the risky move could be a winning investment as grocery delivery booms. Have a tip? Contact Daniel Geiger at [email protected] or via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (646) 352-2884, or Twitter DM at @dangeiger79. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop. SEE ALSO: IBM is ditching a big WeWork office in NYC, revealing the risks of the popular flex-space model as the pandemic prompts Blue Chip companies to rethink real estate SEE ALSO: A quarter of NYC office leases went to tech firms in 2019. Now, the fate of a blockbuster Facebook deal is make-or-break for the city — and a case study for the future of commercial real estate. SEE ALSO: Major tenants are delaying big leases in NYC as they re-think their office space needs for the post-coronavirus world Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why Pikes Peak is the most dangerous racetrack in America
Hi, this is Amanda Perelli and welcome back to Influencer Dashboard, our weekly rundown on the influencer and creator economy. Sign up for the newsletter here. Before we get started, I wanted to remind you to mark your calendars for a digital event I'm hosting on Wednesday, August 5 at 11 a.m. ET on how influencers are earning money in 2020 with YouTube creators Shelby Church, Ruby Asabor, and Katy Bellotte. Sign up for the event here. And now, to the news!  Social-media platforms like Triller and Instagram are taking steps to lure creators away from TikTok as they aim to become more competitive in the short-form video category. My colleague Dan Whateley wrote about Triller's new hire, 18-year-old TikTok star Josh Richards, who will serve as chief strategy officer as the platform looks to raise $250 million in new funding. Two of Richards' friends and content collaborators — Griffin Johnson, 21, and Noah Beck, 19 — will also join Triller as advisors and equity shareholders. The three previously worked and lived together as members of a TikTok creator collective called Sway LA. But don't expect them to stop posting on TikTok. "We aren't going to stop right away posting on TikTok because we want to be able to migrate our audience over from TikTok to Triller," Richards said. Read the full post, here. How to create Instagram Stories with high engagement and reach Britney Turner, a lifestyle Instagram influencer and a content creator coach, works with other creators on how to land brand deals and pitch themselves. One thing she has seen in the past few months is that brands want to incorporate more Instagram Stories into their agreements with creators. My colleague Sydney Bradley spoke with Turner who shared her tips for growth in reach and engagement on Instagram Stories.  "I advise five to eight story slides filled with impactful content," Turner said. "If you want to share longer-form content (i.e. a day in the life, clothing haul, a routine, etc.), I'd say limit your stories to 15 to 20 slides. Anything past this will cause drop off unless you're adding value." Read the full post on using Instagram Stories for business, here.  Meet the team helping Dixie D'Amelio launch a music career  TikTok star Dixie D'Amelio recently released her first single, "Be Happy," under a new family-owned label, DAM FAM Recordings, and the song reached over 1 million Spotify streams within its first weekend. I spoke with the D'Amelio family's comanagers about developing a song with Dixie and their plans to work with more talent on music going forward.  D'Amelio and her internet-famous family aren't betting on an established record label for her introduction into the music industry. Instead, they are counting on the massive fanbase their family has built across social media.  For Dixie, the launch of her new song is the start of a larger strategy, said Barbara Jones, who comanages the family and is the founder of Outshine Talent. Read more about the team launching Dixie's music career, here.  TikTok influencers say they're making tens of thousands of dollars by promoting apps Most TikTok creators don't rely on the app's built-in monetization features, and instead, they've turned to outside brand deals, paid song integrations, and more recently, app marketing to earn money.  "I started doing apps around four weeks ago, and it was a gamechanger," said Reagan Yorke, a 19-year-old college student who was recently paid tens of thousands of dollars to promote the group video chat app Bunch to her 2.5 million TikTok followers. Dan wrote that Yorke worked with the app-marketing company Yoke, which provided her with a tracking link to add to her TikTok bio that would give her credit for any app installs she drove from her account.  "I literally posted it right before I went to sleep," Yorke said. "I woke up the next day and I had like $20,000 in my account, so I was just like, is this real?" Read more about how TikTok influencers are making money with app promotions, here.  More creator industry coverage from Business Insider:  Instagram news Instagram and TikTok are becoming powerful tools to drive sales for clothes sellers on the app Poshmark. We broke down the major Instagram metrics that brands are tracking to measure success, like post "saves," which are sometimes referred to as "super likes." YouTube news 15 YouTube creators share the most money they've made from a single video. 6 media startups built around influencers and digital creators that are set to surge this year. YouTube creators break down their exact monthly incomes from the platform, from under $600 to over $140,000. TikTok news How a media brand that started on Snapchat is trying to replicate its success on TikTok. An influencer management company is looking to spend between $5 million and $8 million on a new TikTok content house. Creator Spotlight: Sonja Lauren I spoke with fashion and fitness influencer Sonja Lauren on her YouTube channel (17,000 subscribers) and growing a social-media business.  A year ago, Lauren learned that she could be making money as a micro influencer through the ads that play in her videos, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing. She had originally created her YouTube channel in 2012, but she didn't post videos consistently until six months ago, she said. "There's been a big jump in my channel from six months to now, in terms of my following," Lauren said. "For me, my most viewed video is actually a video on weight gain and how you can grow your butt through working out. That's the video that got me a lot of subscribers."  Lauren treats her YouTube channel as a side hustle, but wants to pursue her digital business as a full-time career one day, she said. "I'm also in school and I work, but I think if you really want something you just make time for it," she said. Lauren shared her tips for starting out and growing a YouTube channel. Here's what she said:  "Be consistent. Drop videos every week and make the time for it. It looks easy, but it takes hours of editing and time." "I get emails from various companies who want me to include a product in a video. Make sure to go back and forth with a brand and negotiate what you deserve. I'm my own manager for now, pitching brands and responding to emails. I don't accept every offer, only the ones that I genuinely believe in." "Ask yourself, are you willing to work for free for your dream until you get to the point where you can make this into a main occupation?"  Check out her YouTube channel here. This week from Insider's digital culture team:  Black Reddit moderators are hoping for stricter policies that make spaces safe (by Margot Harris) Sexual misconduct allegations show sexism in the gaming industry (by Rachel Greenspan) Gabbie Hanna says YouTube has fostered a toxic environment (by Kat Tenbarge)  5 Egyptian women were sentenced to 2 years in prison for TikTok videos (by Palmer Haasch) Here's what else we're reading and watching: The challenge of breaking up TikTok from tech giant ByteDance (by Juro Osawa, Yunan Zhang, and Amir Efrati, from The Information) Why women are posting black-and-white selfies on Instagram (by Taylor Lorenz, from The New York Times) A deep dive into Shane Dawson's YouTube history: (by D'Angelo Wallace, on YouTube) Influencer Arielle Charnas got a loan PPP loan of up to $350,000: (by Emily Smith, from Page Six)  Thanks for reading! Send me your tips, comments, or questions: [email protected] Subscribe to the newsletter here.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Pathologists debunk 13 coronavirus myths
The CEOs of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google were grilled during a five-hour congressional hearing on Wednesday. The hearing followed an antitrust investigation into the power and size of the Big Tech companies. Analysts at Wedbush identified the three moments from the hearing most likely to come back and bite the companies. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Over the course of five hours on Wednesday, the CEOs from the world's four biggest tech companies were grilled by Congress over whether they use their enormous size to crush competition. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Sundar Pichai, Apple's Tim Cook, and Amazon's Jeff Bezos all faced an inquisition from members of the congressional sub-committee, which has been investigating the power of Big Tech since 2019. The hearing covered a wide range of topics, with members of the committee honing in not just on traditional antitrust questions about company acquisitions, but also questions about how the companies use data, treat political speech, and whether they profit from forced labour of the Uighur people in China. The hearings have yet to result in anything concrete, and in a few weeks the subcommittee will publish its full report. Analysts at Wedbush identified what they think are the three biggest issues that could haunt the tech giants in the years to come:1. Jeff Bezos admitted it's possible Amazon might have used third-party sellers' data to benefit its own-brand products Bezos was questioned by Rep. Pramila Jayapal about a Wall Street Journal investigation from April which claimed Amazon had used its marketplace data about third-party sellers to build strategies for developing its own products. "We have a policy against using seller-specific data to aid our private label business, but I can't guarantee you that that policy has never been violated," Bezos replied. He said that the policy was "voluntary" — which he clarified to mean that Amazon had created the policy for itself. Bezos said Amazon is conducting an internal investigation following The Journal's report. "I do not want to go beyond what I know right now," Bezos said, adding Amazon is "looking at that very carefully."  The hearing also gave some insight into Bezos' mentality around buying companies, as it revealed emails from him about Amazon's 2018 acquisition of home security company Ring. In a December 2017 email Bezos said: "To be clear, my view here is that we're buying market position — not technology. And that market position and momentum is very valuable." Bezos told the committee market position is the most common reason companies acquire each other. 2. Tim Cook was grilled over the way Apple controls its App Store and takes a 30% commission from app developers The way Apple controls its App Store came under fire from Georgia Representative Hank Johnson. "Mr. Cook with over 100 million iPhone users in the United States alone and with Apple's ownership of the App Store giving Apple the ability to control which apps are allowed to be marketed to Apple users you wield immense power over small businesses to grow and prosper," said Johnson. "Throughout our investigation we have heard concerns that rules governing the App Store review process are not available to app developers, the rules are made up as you go, they are arbitrarily interpreted and enforced, and are subject to change whenever Apple sees fit to change. And developers have no choice but to go along with the changes or they must leave the App Store," said Johnson, before asking whether Apple treats all app developers equally. "Sir, we treat every developer the same. We have open and transparent rules, it's a rigorous process," said Cook. Specifically Cook defended the App Store's policy of requiring developers to use Apple's payment system Apple Pay for in-app purchases, which comes with an either 15% or 30% commission on any in-app payments. For example, if you buy a Spotify subscription in the Spotify iOS app, a cut of that payment goes to Apple.  This element of Apple's App Store policies has been under fire from developers including Spotify, which filed an antitrust complaint with the EU last year — which resulted in the launch of an investigation last month. Spotify argued this rule allows Apple to artificially inflate prices while launching competing own-brand apps, such as its music-streaming service Apple Music. Although Johnson's questions were sharp, Wedbush analysts qualified their assessment of their impact saying "the bark has been worse than the bite" on this particular line of questioning. 3. Mark Zuckerberg had to explain his logic behind acquiring Instagram, and was accused of threatening to crush it if Facebook didn't buy it Representatives presented Mark Zuckerberg with internal emails and texts going back to 2012 relating Facebook's acquisition of Instagram. In a 2012 email to Facebook's chief financial officer at the time, Zuckerberg voiced the concern that Instagram could "hurt us meaningfully without becoming a huge business." The committee also published messages exchanged between Instagram founder Kevin Systrom and investors after being approached by Facebook. In a text Systrom said he worried Zuckerberg might go into "destroy mode" if Instagram refused to sell. An exchange between Zuckerberg and Systrom was also presented, in which Zuckerberg said Facebook was developing its own camera product. "In a chat you told Mr. Systrom that Facebook was 'developing our own photo strategy so how we engage now will also determine how much we're partners versus competitors down the line. Instagram's founder seemed to think that was a threat," Rep. Jayapal told Zuckerberg. "I think it was clear that this was a space we were going to compete in one way or another. I don't view those conversations as a threat in any way," said Zuckerberg. Another piece of Facebook history that came out as part of the hearing was a memo Zuckerberg sent his lieutenants in 2012 about the benefits of "cloning" features from rival companies. The analysts don't think the investigation will leave much of a mark on big tech unless there's a big political shift in the US. Wedbush's analysts said the hearing has set the stage for an antitrust "battle royale" overt the next six to nine months. One of the biggest factors governing how this battle could actually turn out for the tech companies is November's presidential election. "We don't see Congress agreeing on legislation unless both houses of Congress and the Presidency are controlled by the same party, as the parties have had difficulty reaching consensus on more pressing issues," the analysts concluded. Although both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have attacked the size and tactics of big tech companies, they have done so from different angles. Democrats including former presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren have criticized the market size of companies like Amazon and Facebook and called for breakups, while Republicans have honed in on accusations that platforms like Facebook and Google use their influence to disadvantage conservative politicians and voices — an accusation the companies deny. Partisan divides on how to hold big tech to account were apparent during Wednesday's hearing. There was a fiery exchange between committee members after Republican Rep. Jim Jordan asked Sundar Pichai whether Google is biased against conservatives. Democrat Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon was up next, and took a swipe at Jordan's line of questioning: "I'd like to redirect your attention to antitrust law rather than fringe conspiracy theories." Jordan interrupted her allotted time, and was furiously told his time had expired. Tweet Embed: // INSANE exchange after Penn. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon suggested moving away from "fringe conspiracy theories." Nice to see the Real Housewives of DC are back. #BigTechHearing  
Hi! Welcome to the Advertising Insider daily for July 30. I'm Lauren Johnson, a senior advertising reporter at Business Insider. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. Send me feedback or tips at [email protected] Today: Walmart's new weapon against Amazon, the big four tech firm CEOs testify about antitrust concerns, and Snap's power players. Walmart is pushing harder into advertising with a new tool that shows if people buy a product after seeing an ad for it Walmart is steadily building an internal advertising business to rival Amazon and is launching a measurement tool that tracks sales after someone sees an ad. Jeff Clark, VP of product and product marketing at Walmart Media Group, told me that the new tool is Walmart's first step in building an ad manager akin to the software that advertisers use to buy ads on Amazon, Facebook, and Google. He also said that the number of advertisers who have participated in Walmart's eight-month-old advertising API has increased by fivefold but did not say how many total advertisers are in the program. Read the full story here. Lawmakers question the CEOs of Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon The CEOs of Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon testified in front of the US House of Representatives' Antitrust Subcommittee yesterday over concerns that the tech companies hold too much control. The executives pushed back on the antitrust concerns: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg said that for every $1 spent on US advertising, Facebook makes 10 cents; Tim Cook from Apple said that its app store is a fair playing field for all developers; Amazon's Jeff Bezos said that its marketplace does not crush third-party sellers; and Alphabet's Sundar Pichai said Google's search algorithms do not favor its own content. Amazon's Bezos added that he could not guarantee that a policy prohibiting Amazon from using seller data to inform its private-label brands has not been violated. Read the full story here. The 31 top power players helping CEO Evan Spiegel run Snap Tanya Dua and Paige Leskin identified the top leaders at Snap, which has made a comeback from challenges a couple years ago. The executives include chief business officer Jeremi Gordon, VP of Americas Peter Naylor, VP of global operations Radhika Kakkar, and VP of US advertiser solutions Luke Kallis who help run Snap's advertising business. The executives also span engineering, policy and investor relationships. Read the full story here. More stories we're reading: Some members of multilevel-marketing company Young Living are making questionable claims about 'essential oils' curing cancer and coronavirus (Business Insider) Short-form video app Triller has hired 18-year-old TikTok star Josh Richards as its chief strategy officer and an investor says it's looking to raise $250 million in new funding (Business Insider) 'We are not the enemy': TikTok CEO slams Facebook for attacking the Chinese company and launching 'copycat' product (Business Insider) The pandemic reshaped Americans' daily Starbucks routine, leading to menu tweaks and a new time for the morning coffee run (Business Insider) ByteDance investors value TikTok at $50 billion in takeover bid — sources (Reuters) The Trade Desk is building version 2.0 of its unified ID (Adweek) Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow! You can reach me in the meantime at [email protected] and subscribe to this daily email here. — LaurenJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: July 15 is Tax Day — here's what it's like to do your own taxes for the very first time
TikTok has announced a $300 million creative fund in Europe. It mirrors a larger fund announced for the US on July 23. The company has not yet said who can apply for the fund, which is designed to help creators make money from the platform.  Currently, creators can only make money on TikTok from brand deals or donations. The news comes after a report in the Wall Street Journal said Instagram Reels, an upcoming Facebook-backed competitor, was offering TikTok's biggest names hundreds of thousands of dollars to defect. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. TikTok says it will hand up to $300 million to European creators over the next three years, giving them the chance of earning a living on the short-video platform. The new European creator fund will kick off at $70 million in its first year, TikTok said Thursday, and rise to an estimated $300 million within three years. The fund is the European version of a scheme TikTok announced for the US on July 23. The US fund is $200 million for its first year. Creators looking to apply for the US fund must be 18 years old or older, meet a certain baseline for followers, and meet TikTok's requirements around posting original content. TikTok hasn't detailed eligibility criteria for Europe, but says it'll provide more detail in the coming weeks. TikTok creators can currently only make money on the platform through brand deals or donations. Alongside the fund, TikTok said that brands could broker deals with up to 12,500 creators  to mention products through the company's Creator Marketplace. UK-based Anna Bogomolova, who has 2.3 million followers on the app, suggested the fund could help creators buy equipment, such as a new phone, to help them make better videos. Money was a "big restriction" for many on the app, she said. "I think it's a good idea, and I think obviously it all depends on how the selection process works, but it will give more of a chance for creators to create more exciting and varied content than they're doing now," she told Business Insider. Timothy Armoo of Fanbytes, a social media company that runs the ByteHouse, the UK's first collective of TikTok creators, said the fund could help users who were already popular grow faster. "I'm excited to see things like that happening ... From our perspective, when we launched the ByteHouse, it's almost turned into its own TV show. If you can use a fund to elevate that to the next level, it would be excellent," he said. He also called for clarity on who could get the money in Europe. "We need to know who would be eligible," he said. "I think it would be people who are truly creators, to some degree – not people who are celebrities. I don't think the Jason Derulos of the world are going to benefit from this." The cash could prevent TikTok's creator base being tempted away from the platform by other social media networks. Instagram Reels, the Facebook-backed competitor to TikTok launching worldwide imminently, is offering TikTok's biggest names hundreds of thousands of dollars to defect, according to the Wall Street Journal. "I find it interesting that funding has come just as Facebook has offered hundreds of thousands to TikTok creators to post on Reel first or exclusively," said Vicky Banham, a TikTok creator with 1.3 million followers. "But either way it's a great step in a positive direction to keep TikTok thriving and succeeding."SEE ALSO: Inside the rise of TikTok, the viral video-sharing app that US officials are threatening to ban due to its ties to China Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's what it's like to travel during the coronavirus outbreak
The four horsemen of the techpocalypse – the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google – joined the US House of Representatives today for an antitrust hearing. We watched every second of the more than five and a half hours of Congress’ grilling of some of the richest men in the world so you wouldn’t have to. Let’s start with the ending. House Antitrust Committee Chairman David Cicilline closed today’s hearing with the following statement: This hearing has made one fact clear to me: these companies as they exist today have monopoly power. Some need to be broken up, all… This story continues at The Next Web
Partisan antics aside, lawmakers on the antitrust subcommittee dished out some serious, probing questions to the CEOs of Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple.
Here’s a look at how Mark Zuckerberg plotted the Instagram acquisition. Plus: Inside Amazon’s plan to take down
We watched six hours of congressional hearings so you didn’t have to Analysis  For six hours on Wednesday, the Western world’s most powerful tech CEOs – whose businesses have become household names and touch every part of our daily digital lives – were grilled by US lawmakers regarding their market dominance.…
On Wednesday, lawmakers squared off with the chief executives of the tech industry’s four most powerful players, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Even though each company is under antitrust scrutiny for different reasons, the committee used this week’s hearing to point out similarities between all four, making the case for future regulatory reform. Since last June, lawmakers have been engaged in a sweeping antitrust investigation into the tech sector, honing in on how some of the most notable names in the industry have grown too big by allegedly stifling competition. Lawmakers have heard hundreds of hours of testimony and obtained over one million documents throughout their investigation, a process that made it difficult for CEOs... Continue reading…
Guess what? Literally everyone thinks this is a terrible idea The US Department of Commerce (DoC) has formally asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to review a critical law that provides blanket liability to online platforms such as Google and Facebook.…
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos gave his first-ever Congressional testimony on Wednesday, alongside CEOs of Facebook, Apple, and Alphabet. Bezos dodged most of the sensitive questions, instead saying that he'd get back with a more detailed answer at a later date. The careful approach is understandable given Bezos is speaking under oath, according to legal experts. But some experts believe he could have been more direct in addressing the key issues, like allegations of accessing seller data. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Americans got a rare chance to take the measure of the world's richest person on Wednesday, when Jeff Bezos, the press-shy CEO of Amazon, testified before Congress for the first time. But far from making an indelible impression, Bezos stood out mainly for what he didn't do, sidestepping sensitive questions about Amazon's market power and business practices, and behaving with the calculated caution of someone hoping not to be noticed in a crowd. During the House Antitrust Subcommittee hearing that also featured the top execs of Facebook, Apple, and Google, Bezos mostly stuck to party-line comments, rarely giving definitive answers, and instead offering to get back with more details at a later date. By one count, tracked by the Markup news site, Bezos had the most "I'll-get-back-to-you-on-that" comments of the four CEOs at the hearing.  At one point, Bezos struggled to answer a basic question about requiring seller names and addresses when opening an account on its marketplace, saying he'd get back because he'd "rather give the accurate answer." Amazon does verify seller name, address, and phone numbers, a company spokesperson later told Business Insider. The cautious demeanor underscores the heavy scrutiny Bezos, the world's richest person, is facing as lawmakers debate whether Amazon, along with other tech giants including Apple, Alphabet, and Facebook, need to be broken up in an effort to foster fair competition. While it may make Bezos look evasive, and almost detached from the company, it's the right approach when you're testifying under oath, according to Bill Kovacic, former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission who now teaches antitrust law at George Washington University. "He was trying to be very careful — it's a natural consequence of being sworn in," Kovacic told Business Insider. "Rule number one is never guess or speculate." 'Can't guarantee it's never been violated' Bezos, one of the most feared competitors in the business world, has earned a reputation as someone with the courage to fight for their beliefs — as was the case in 2019, when he publicly declared that he would not cooperate with a tabloid that had obtained sensitive selfies and text messages about his extra-marital relationship.  But the Bezos that appeared before lawmakers on Wednesday showed no signs of spoiling for a fight. When Florida Republican Matt Gaetz attacked Amazon for working with the Southern Poverty Law Center — a renowned, 50-year old nonprofit that monitors extremist and hate groups — because in Gaetz's word the group is hostile to "Christian doctrine" and "out of step," Bezos demurred.  "I'm going to acknowledge this is an imperfect system," Bezos said, of Amazon's program allowing consumers to donate to charities that include the SPLC. And when it came to important questions about the company, some legal experts said Bezos should have been a lot more forthcoming. That includes his response to a question about Amazon looking into individual seller data to clone best-selling products. The question follows a Wall Street Journal report alleging that Amazon employees accessed proprietary data about third-party merchant on its platform in order to come up with its own competing product that eventually stole market share from the original seller.  Bezos said it's against company policy to access proprietary seller data, and the company has additional safeguards to prevent it from happening. But he said he couldn't guarantee that policy "has never been violated," adding that the company is still investigating the case. "I do not want to go beyond what I know right now," Bezos said. John Kirkwood, a law professor at Seattle University, told Business Insider that it was "disappointing" to see Bezos dodge the question because it was the issue of greatest importance during the hearing. Given tbat the story came out in late April, Amazon had plenty of time to come up with a better answer, he said.  Instead, Bezos could have used it as an opportunity to tackle the antitrust issue more directly, explaining why it's pro-competitive to use publicly available information to copy or improve others' products. He could have also explained in more detail about Amazon's policy of prohibiting the use of confidential data about individual sellers, he said. "You'd think on such a key issue they could move faster," Kirkwood said. 'Amazon Heroin' Part of the reason why Bezos failed to appear more engaged may have had to do with the format of the hearing. Due to COVID-19, the testimony took place virtually, with each of the CEOs speaking through online video conferencing software. Because each speaker was given a five minute limit to ask questions, some of the conversations seemed rushed and disorganized, according to Juozas Kaziukenas, CEO of Marketplace Pulse. He said it would have been more effective if the committee had questioned each CEO on separate days, as the questioning seemed to lack depth. "It didn't seem to present any new angles or uncovered evidence," he said. On less sensitive issues, Bezos didn't appear to hold back.  Rep. David Cicilline, who chaired Wednesday's hearing, shared a story about a seller who compared Amazon to heroin for its addictive nature — because it's so big, it's the only place to sell online and merchants keep coming back, even if Amazon may engage in abusive tactics, like copying their products or undercutting them. Bezos disagreed with the characterization, saying Amazon only opened up its marketplace to third-party sellers to help both the sellers and customers on its marketplace. Although it was a "very controversial" idea internally when Amazon first accepted third-party sellers, the company was eventually convinced by the many benefits, he said. Bezos also disputed the idea of Amazon being the only viable online marketplace for sellers. When asked about its growing market size, including Amazon's roughly 40% share in US e-commerce, Bezos said he doesn't think e-commerce should be considered a separate category from the broader retail market (under that premise, Amazon owns just 4% of total retail).  "I think we're the best one," Bezos said. "But we're not the only option [for small sellers]." On one occasion, Bezos appeared to take a jab at Facebook. When each of the CEOs were asked to share their thoughts on social media, Bezos said he viewed it as a "nuance-destruction machine," without further elaborating. Amazon's biggest critics, however, took Wednesday's hearing as an opportunity to pounce on Bezos. Athena Coalition, a nonprofit organization that previously organized worker walkouts for Amazon employees, said Bezos largely gave "non-answers" during the hearing, often appearing to lack "the will or competence to change Amazon through his own leadership." "During today's hearing, Jeff Bezos seemed to be unaware of the widespread harms that Amazon inflicts, including the company's mistreatment of sellers, raising the question: has Amazon grown too big to be managed?" Dania Rajendra, a director at Athena, said in a statement.SEE ALSO: Amazon wants to put a waist-high robot in your home. The secretive project's facing high staff turnover, doubts over a $1,000 price tag, and visits from Jeff Bezos. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why YETI coolers are so expensive