U.S. States Rise Up Against TikTok Over Security Concerns

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s executive order banning TikTok from state agencies has added further fuel to Washington’s calls for an outright ban on the Chinese-owned short-form video platform. The South Dakota tourism department deleted its account and 60,000 followers, and the state’s public broadcasting service and six public universities are planning how to move forward. Nebraska in 2020 became the first U.S. state to implement a government agency TikTok ban. Now a movement seems to be gaining momentum, with South Carolina, Arkansas and Maryland at various stages of action in dealing with the perceived national security threat. Continue reading U.S. States Rise Up Against TikTok Over Security Concerns

Apple Revises App Store Pricing Policy, Adding 700 Options

Apple has updated its App Store pricing in what some have interpreted as a preemptive move against regulatory and legal pressure over store policies. Apple is offering developers “700 additional price points and new pricing tools” to make it easier to set prices per App Store country or region and manage foreign exchange rate changes, among other things. The move brings the total number of available App Store price points to 900 and allows developers in the U.S. to set prices ranging from $0.29 to $10,000. The new policy is expected to roll out soon in global markets. Continue reading Apple Revises App Store Pricing Policy, Adding 700 Options

New Era Begins for Twitter as Elon Musk Acquires Company

Elon Musk took control of Twitter on Thursday, completing the historic $44 billion acquisition of the social micro-blogging platform. After some housekeeping — including carrying a sink into the company’s San Francisco headquarters for a cheeky video-op (“let that sink in!”) and firing top executives including CEO Parag Agrawal — the recalcitrant tech magnate began settling into his new role. Updating his bio to reflect his chosen title of “Chief Twit,” he tweeted off a letter assuring advertisers that Twitter will not “become a free-for-all hellscape” with no content moderation. Continue reading New Era Begins for Twitter as Elon Musk Acquires Company

Meta Platforms Will Adjust Ad Tech per Agreement with DOJ

Meta Platforms has agreed to change its advertising technology and pay a $115,054 fine to settle a Justice Department claim of race and gender discrimination by the algorithm used to display its housing ads. “Meta will — for the first time — change its ad delivery system to address algorithmic discrimination,” U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in a statement. “But if Meta fails to demonstrate that it has sufficiently changed its delivery system to guard against algorithmic bias, this office will proceed with the litigation.” Continue reading Meta Platforms Will Adjust Ad Tech per Agreement with DOJ

Musk, Twitter Board Sued in Wake of $7 Billion Commitment

Elon Musk revealed on Thursday he has brought in investors willing to supply $7 billion toward his Twitter buyout. On Friday, he and Twitter were sued by a Florida pension fund seeking to prevent the Tesla CEO’s proposed $44 billion takeover. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia has reportedly agreed to roll his existing $1.9 billion stake into a Musk-controlled Twitter. The fresh endorsement reverses the Saudi’s stance last month, when he tweeted “I don’t believe that the proposed offer by @ElonMusk ($54.20) comes close to the intrinsic value of @Twitter given its growth prospects.” Continue reading Musk, Twitter Board Sued in Wake of $7 Billion Commitment

Twitter Will Pay $809.5 Million to Settle Class Action Lawsuit

Twitter has agreed to pay $809.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that accused the social media giant of inflating stock value and misrepresenting user data for the benefit of insiders. In an SEC filing this week, Twitter stipulated the final settlement agreement will not “constitute an admission” or finding of liability or wrongdoing. The settlement agreement still needs approval from U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The suit originated with a shareholder complaint filed in Q3 2016 and was later consolidated. Continue reading Twitter Will Pay $809.5 Million to Settle Class Action Lawsuit

FTC Reveals Comscore Data Detailing Facebook Dominance

The Federal Trade Commission released Comscore figures showing Facebook’s marketplace dominance. From September 2012 through December 2020, the network generated 92 percent of the monthly time U.S. users spent on social media. In contrast, the combined market shares of Snap, Google+, MeWe and Friendster never exceeded 18 percent in any month during that time frame. A federal judge dismissed the case in June noting that the FTC did not offer details of its monopoly claim; these findings are now part of the FTC’s lawsuit. Continue reading FTC Reveals Comscore Data Detailing Facebook Dominance

Major TV Broadcasters Prevail in Court Case Against Locast

Locast, a non-profit organization founded by lawyer and former FCC legal advisor David Goodfriend, streamed local TV to those who couldn’t access local signals, declaring that U.S. copyright law allows third parties to boost local signals. Major broadcasters ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX disputed that claim, believing that Locast simply wanted to avoid carriage fees, and have now won a court battle finding that Locast violated their copyrights. The court also stated that Locast cannot use its non-profit status as a defense against further action. Continue reading Major TV Broadcasters Prevail in Court Case Against Locast

Court Dismisses FTC, States Antitrust Suit Against Facebook

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia judge James Boasberg dismissed antitrust lawsuits against social media giant Facebook brought by the Federal Trade Commission and 48 states. The judge said the states waited too long to bring up a case on deals made in 2012 and 2014 and that prosecutors failed to prove that Facebook holds a monopoly over social networking. The FTC can bring the case back in 30 days but the judge said it would require a lot more detail. Facebook’s stock rose 4.2 percent in the wake of the news. Continue reading Court Dismisses FTC, States Antitrust Suit Against Facebook

Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Will Step Down as CEO on July 5

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will officially leave his position as chief executive on July 5, and Amazon Web Services chief executive Andy Jassy will take over the Amazon CEO position. The departure of Bezos was originally announced in a February earnings report but a specific date was not revealed. Bezos said July 5 is “sentimental” because it was the date Amazon was incorporated in 1994. Bezos will become executive chair, focusing his attention on “new products and early initiatives.” He said he expects Jassy to be “an outstanding leader.” Continue reading Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Will Step Down as CEO on July 5

DC Files Lawsuit Against Amazon Alleging Antitrust Violations

Attorney general for the District of Columbia Karl Racine filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, claiming the tech giant abuses its monopoly power by artificially raising product prices. The suit adds that Amazon blocks vendors from charging lower prices for the same products elsewhere, which results in higher prices for these products on Amazon and other marketplaces. This marks the first time a U.S. government entity has filed a suit against Amazon. Racine stated that, “Amazon has used its dominant position in the online retail market to win at all costs.”

Continue reading DC Files Lawsuit Against Amazon Alleging Antitrust Violations

Apple Chief Exec Tim Cook Testifies in Trial with Epic Games

“Fortnite” creator Epic Games sued Apple over its 30 percent commission on all App Store transactions. That case is now in court, and Apple chief executive Tim Cook took the stand to defend his company against accusations of monopolistic behavior. On the sidelines are other companies with the same grievance and the European Union, which also charged Apple with violating antitrust rules with the App Store. In an hour of testimony, Cook stated that commissions from app developers help the company create better App Store security. Continue reading Apple Chief Exec Tim Cook Testifies in Trial with Epic Games

Apple, Epic Games Trial to Determine Anticompetition Charge

The lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games has come to trial and is expected to last about three weeks. Epic sued the Big Tech company over its App Store rule that developers must use its payment system, for which it charges a 30 percent fee. Epic Games has also sued tech giant Google for the same issue on its Play Store. The European Union has similarly charged Apple with violating antitrust laws. At the trial, Epic’s lawyers will argue a legal theory that Apple is using its dominant position to stifle competition. Continue reading Apple, Epic Games Trial to Determine Anticompetition Charge

Facebook Opposes Apple Plan to Limit Targeted Advertising

Apple plans to limit the ability of Facebook and other companies to target ads via its identifier for advertisers (IDFA) by giving iPhone users the option to block tracking when opening an app. Meant to protect users’ privacy, the change was originally slated to be part of iOS 14, introduced last month. But Apple postponed the change until 2021 “to give developers time to make necessary changes.” In response, Facebook chief revenue officer David Fischer stated that the change will “hurt developers and businesses the most.” Continue reading Facebook Opposes Apple Plan to Limit Targeted Advertising

Facebook Pushes Back Against Regulators on Data Transfer

Facebook has upped the ante in its showdown with European regulators, stating that an unfavorable decision by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) would leave the company no choice but to leave the region. Facebook Ireland’s head of data protection/associate general counsel Yvonne Cunnane is referring to the DPC’s preliminary order to stop the transfer of its European users’ data to servers in the U.S., citing fears of government surveillance. In response, Facebook filed a lawsuit challenging DPC’s ban. Continue reading Facebook Pushes Back Against Regulators on Data Transfer