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Big Tech greets its new president

Joe Biden

Good morning! This Monday, how the tech industry is reacting to the Biden victory, why conservatives are flocking to Parler and why Tesla is like a restaurant.

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The Big Story

Who's talking Biden, and who's not

Most people in tech seemed to react to the announcement that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had won the 2020 election in roughly the same way: With a giant sigh of relief, a glass of champagne and a couple nights of long overdue sleep.

  • Paul Graham summed it up nicely: "I feel like someone killed a background process that had been consuming 5% of my CPU for the last 4 years."

Some of the industry's biggest names have been quiet , at least publicly. Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey , two men with an awful lot on the line this election season (and who are surely aware that President Trump remains in the White House for now) haven't said much at all. Even Priscilla Chan left Zuckerberg conspicuously out of her statement after the election. No word from Sundar Pichai or Tim Cook either. For the biggest names in Big Tech, silence seems to be a safe move.

  • Jeff Bezos was one of the few Big Tech CEOs to explicitly congratulate Biden and Harris. "Unity, empathy and decency are not characteristics of a bygone era. Congratulations President-elect @JoeBiden and Vice President-elect @KamalaHarris. By voting in record numbers, the American people proved again that our democracy is strong."

Still, plenty of tech leaders did speak up about the election and the path forward. And that included at least a few who are in the Trump administration's crosshairs.

  • Sheryl Sandberg pointed out what a big deal this election was for people everywhere: "There are times when America takes a big step toward creating a government that reflects the diverse country we are. Today is one of those days. I'm thinking with joy about young people across the country watching the news today and thinking, 'Maybe I can lead this nation too.'"
  • Bill Gates quickly moved onto the issues at hand: "I look forward to working with the new administration and leaders on both sides in Congress on getting the surging pandemic under control, engaging partners around the world on issues like poverty and climate change, and addressing issues of inequality and opportunity at home."
  • Brad Smith echoed calls for unity going forward: "We live in a decade that has started with a virus that respects no border and carbon that moves in the atmosphere not just from country to country, but from continent to continent. More and more of the issues of our day require stronger collaboration between the United States and the rest of the world."
  • Aaron Levie welcomed a return to normalcy : "While there's nothing magical Biden can do, that's the point. Businesses need market stability, global trade relations that don't change on a whim, talent from everywhere, long-range planning, and a lack of constant distractions."
  • Gary Shapiro , the head of the CTA, told Protocol : "Biden can also help our competitiveness by stabilizing trade relationships and promoting — and protecting — innovation in our best companies. This includes a fact-based look at Section 230, the cornerstone of free speech online, and ensuring it continues to provide protections to companies both large and small."

Meanwhile, Elon Musk was out there talking about rocket booster design . And … " The Phantom of the Opera ."

In related news: Here's what a Biden administration means for the tech world . Also, our friends at POLITICO have a good primer on the frontrunners for Biden's cabinet . You might want to get on their calendar sooner rather than later.


Parler's winning the right-wing app war

As soon as Twitter started fact-checking and hiding President Trump's tweets, the familiar call came out to find a better app. One where everyone can speak their mind without fear of censorship. Or something.

There have been many contenders over the years, from Gab to MeWe, but it looks increasingly like Parler is going to win.

  • Parler's been the most popular free app on both iOS and Android for the last several days, besting even chart-topping mainstays TikTok and Zoom. Evidently the key to app success is some combination of "be essential" and "be controversial."
  • A who's who of conservative celebrities, led by Parler patron saint (and investor) Dan Bongino, have been telling followers on Twitter and elsewhere to jump to Parler. Many of them are saying things like , "I'm about to get kicked off Twitter, follow me on Parler!" Mostly, it wasn't true, but it seemed to work: Parler's been "adding thousands of users per minute," Bongino said .
  • John Matze, Parler's CEO, made clear that his platform will treat politics differently. "I don't think it's possible for Twitter to say with a 100% fact that there's not one mistake in the election and that there is not one fraudulent vote so fact checking the president on all of this is pretty ludicrous," he said .

The other app to keep an eye on? Rumble , a video platform positioning itself as a similarly free speech-friendly alternative to YouTube. "Buh-bye big tech, you just made yourselves the next Friendster and Myspace," Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski tweeted over the weekend.

No platform can be crowned the new conversative home , though, until Trump himself shows up . And so far, no dice. But that could change: Trump will lose his "public interest" protections on Twitter in January, The Verge reported , meaning he'll be subject to the same rules as the rest of us. And I think most of us would've been suspended if our timeline looked like his.

People Are Talking

Toyota's Akio Toyoda said Tesla is like a kitchen and a chef :

  • "They have not created a real business in the real world yet. They are trying to trade recipes. The chef is saying 'Our recipe is going to become the standard of the world in the future!' At Toyota, we have a real kitchen and a real chef too, and are creating the dishes already."

Platforms that don't have huge moderation resources should just embrace the act of blocking content , Stanford's Alex Stamos said:

  • "It's much easier to just block Sharpiegate than to try to wade through misinformation and what isn't. You can still enjoy your handmade tea cozy pictures without having your Sharpiegate content."

Joe Lonsdale said he's leaving San Francisco for lots of reasons, but mostly it's about tax :

  • "I could either put that money toward things that are fixing the world or give it to the California state government."

If you're not campaigning on Facebook, you're not campaigning right , Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said:

  • "The fact of the matter is if you're not spending $200,000 on Facebook with fund-raising, persuasion, volunteer recruitment, get-out-the-vote the week before the election, you are not firing on all cylinders."



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Coming Up This Week

Apple's next event is tomorrow at 10 a.m. PT . We're likely to see new Macs powered by Apple's own chips.

Cisco, Tencent, Foxconn, Lyft and others report earnings this week. Keep an eye on Lyft in particular: It's been a huge week for Uber since Prop 22 passed, and we'll likely hear similar things there.

The deadline for a TikTok deal is this Thursday. I can't imagine anyone in the White House is spending much time thinking about TikTok right now, but keep an eye out the next few days.

In Other News

  • The Facebook antitrust lawsuit is likely coming this month , POLITICO reports. The FTC is reportedly considering handling the case internally, rather than working with state attorneys general.
  • Facebook's disinformation battle continues . It said groups which repeatedly violate its community standards will be forced to have admins and mods manually approve each new post for 60 days.
  • Apple found labor violations at Pegatron , and suspended new business with the company as a result. Apple said that Pegatron was misclassifying student workers and falsifying paperwork to cover that up.
  • Apple and Sony are in talks to acquire Wondery , Bloomberg reports. The podcast company is reportedly looking for over $300 million, and Spotify has supposedly ruled itself out as a buyer. Meanwhile, a user survey suggested Spotify is considering offering a premium podcast subscription .
  • Ripple opened an office in Dubai . Its CEO recently said the UAE was attractive as an HQ location because of unfavorable crypto regulation in the U.S.
  • Inrupt, Tim Berners-Lee's new network project, launched its Solid servers . The BBC, NHS and NatWest Bank are all piloting the new technology, which seeks to completely rewrite data architecture on the web.

One More Thing

What's your screen time?

Nine hours and one minute. That was my average screen time for last week, according to my iPhone. (Up 23%, too.) I'm not alone: Last week was a banner week for staring at screens across the board, I suspect. But I want to know how you did! Send me your Screen Time screenshot from last week, and I'll send a Protocol mug to the highest numbers. If you can beat mine, well, congrats and I'm sorry.



Find out how cities will reimagine what growth means for everyone in today's digital economy. Mastercard's experts weigh in on the future of cities.

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Today's Source Code was written by David Pierce, with help from Shakeel Hashim. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to, or our tips line, Enjoy your day; see you tomorrow.

Correction: This story was updated at 3:34 p.m. ET to correct the spelling of Akio Toyoda's name.

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