September 26, 2022
Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
Hello, and welcome to Protocol Policy! Today I’m thinking about how much time we really have to solve the social media conundrum. Plus, the U.S. reportedly is trying to make a security deal with TikTok, but not everyone in the government is happy yet, and Newsom blocks licenses for crypto transaction platforms.
Like so much else in our world, democracy may be at risk of burning up in the next few decades. And if you ask Mark Zuckerberg’s most outspoken critics, he and the rest of social media may have just a year or two to figure out how to stop dumping the fuel of misinformation and incitement onto the pyre.
Some of this is here in the United States, where we’re in the final weeks before midterm elections that could hand power to a large crop of would-be Republican lawmakers who deny the legitimacy of the 2020 U.S. election.
It doesn’t stop with November.
These challenges are grave and far from simple — and social media firms from Meta and TikTok to YouTube and Twitter have set up what they say are measures to curb the spread of so much corrosive info, often with echoes of their work from 2020.
Even if those measures were working, the 333 million people in the U.S. are sadly just the beginning of the problem.
Brazil has another 217 million people, but even still, that’s barely the beginning of the problem.
If we want to fix this, we need to acknowledge the problem is bigger than Big Tech whiffing it on content moderation, especially in the U.S.
Last week, I attended a conferenceon social media where Maria Ressa — the Filipina Nobel laureate and investigative journalist who called outFacebook for its role in the rise of strongman Rodrigo Duterte — gave a warning that struck me as particularly powerful.
Then toward the end of her talk, Ressa brought it back to the U.S. “Where America goes, the rest of us will go,” she said, her voice cracking just a little. “Guys, please hold the line.”— Ben Brody (email | twitter)
The Biden administration is negotiating terms for TikTok to remain in the U.S., The New York Times reports. Officials within both the Justice Department and the Treasury Department feel the deal doesn’t sufficiently address security concerns. As it stands, TikTok would reportedly be forced to run data servers only in the U.S., submit to an algorithm audit, and create a security oversight board that reports directly to the U.S. government.
The Treasury Department is calling on U.S. firms to provide internet service to Iranians. In response to protests, the Iranian government shut down internet access almost across the board. The Elon Musk-backed Starlink has been used to provide internet access in Ukraine, and Musk offered to do the same in Iran.Amazon could bear the brunt of the U.S.’s new corporate minimum tax, according to The Wall Street Journal. However, the researchers at the University of North Carolina Tax Center warn that their analysis hinges on companies not changing their financial reporting behavior — which, as we’ve previously reported, is likely to happen in response to the new tax rules.
Every great tech product that you rely on each day, from the smartphone in your pocket to your music streaming service and navigational system in the car, shares one important thing: part of its innovative design is protected by intellectual property (IP) laws.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed the state legislature’s crypto bill. The bill would have required all companies facilitating crypto transactions to receive a license from the state. It also required companies to use only official stablecoin, issued either by a bank or another licensed entity. Newsom called for “a more flexible approach” in a letter explaining his decision to veto.
The state of innovation: Join Protocol Policy on Sept. 27 at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET as we dive into the U.S.’s national strategy on innovation, what’s working, what isn’t, and what policy changes we can expect from the year ahead. RSVP here!
Apple began assembling iPhone 14s in India and plans to ship them later this year. JPMorgan analysts predicted that Apple will shift 25% of iPhone manufacturing capacity to India by 2025, up from 5% today.
The U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office could fine TikTok up to 27 million pounds (about $28.8 million) for children’s privacy violations. Though the commissioner’s office is still deciding on the penalty, its investigation found that TikTok took children’s data without parental consent.France is trying to save its local book vendors from Amazon by adding a delivery fee. The minimum 3-euro delivery fee will apply to all online book store orders below €35 (nearly $34). France had previously already banned free book deliveries, but popular vendors including Amazon ended up charging 1 cent.
Two: That’s the number of elements of the energy system, of 55 analyzed, that were on track to reach 2030 climate targets, according to the latest International Energy Agency report. The sectors that received a passing grade included EV adoption and lighting. The bulk (30) received a “more efforts needed” assessment while the rest (23) received a “not on track” grade.
Sometimes it takes the unlikeliest figures to remind you that it’s the simple things in life (business-essential travel and cell phone reimbursements) that really matter. Luckily, Google CEO Sundar Pichai stepped up to the plate last week, reminding employees that they “shouldn’t always equate fun with money.” Google’s head of finance took it a step further by delivering the bad news that holiday parties should “try not to go over the top.” Google parties of yesteryear included Cirque du Soleil performances, fake snow, and hookah lounges.
If we want our nation’s rich history of innovation to continue, experts say, we must create an IP protection ecosystem that helps ensure that tech innovation will thrive.
Thanks for reading — see you Wednesday!