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Good morning! This Tuesday, the Trump administration has big ideas about Section 230, Google extends its WFH policies, and plant-based meat is coming for everyone.

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The Big Story

Who gets to police the internet?

Just under the wire, the NTIA met President Trump's executive order and published its ideas for "fixing" Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Here's the greatest hits:

Actually, wait, before the greatest hits, some context:

  • This document is, to use a technical term, totally meaningless. The White House asked the NTIA (which it oversees) to petition the FCC (which it doesn't) to do a bunch of things it is in no way obligated to do. It carries the same legal weight as all my tweets asking McDonald's to bring back Szechuan sauce.
  • Here's how FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel responded: "Social media can be frustrating but turning the FCC into the President's speech police is not the answer."

So there's that! There's probably nothing in this you need to immediately worry about. But anyway, the greatest hits:

  • The argument, essentially, is that the internet has changed and has left behind the old world to which Section 230 applied. The difference: Social media is the public square now. But also, rather than charge for access, as Prodigy and AOL did, the primary purpose of the current social-media companies is the content itself, and so moderation is part of their business model.
  • The big plan: to dramatically shrink the kind of speech that can be moderated, so that social platforms can only remove things that are otherwise illegal. The NTIA wants to make it much, much harder for social platforms to remove content.
  • It takes for granted that the social platforms are deliberately deleting and hiding certain kinds of content (that it's conservative-leaning content is implied but unsaid). "Unfortunately, large online platforms appear to engage in selective censorship that is harming our national discourse," it says early in the petition, complaining that the platforms "censor or fact-check constitutionally elected democratic leaders."
  • There's also a big focus on transparency: The petition asks for much more information about how social platforms regulate their content and decide what users see and don't.

Will any of this go anywhere? Hard to say, but I wouldn't go rewriting your terms of service just yet. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr seemed to like it; Geoffrey Starks didn't; Ajit Pai was his usual lukewarm self. Trump's still mad, though: he tweeted his fury with Twitter's Trending sidebar on Monday afternoon. "Even if you think all the asks are a good idea," Colorado Law professor Blake Reid said, "it's an absolutely atrocious way to implement them. The proposed regs are terribly unclear, badly drafted, and poorly conceived."

In related news: Josh Hawley is also mad at Section 230. He's introducing the BAD ADS Act, which would amend Section 230 to remove immunity from tech companies enabling or displaying "manipulative, behavioral ads."


Work from home, forever and ever and ever

Tech companies continue to kick the can on when they'll go back to the office, and Sundar Pichai just kicked it extra hard. He told Google's staff that they're not coming back anytime soon. "To give employees the ability to plan ahead," he wrote in a note, "we'll be extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021 for roles that don't need to be in the office."

  • Most Googlers, he said, "can continue working remotely from anywhere within the country of your assigned office" for the next year. Which means, I suspect, that a lot of people are going to be signing leases in new cities pretty soon – and that a few others will be canceling their plans for a long-term rental in Belize.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported Pichai "was swayed in part by sympathy for employees with families to plan for uncertain school years that may involve at-home instruction."

Even a year-long delay puts a lot of Googlers in tricky positions, though. If you work at Twitter, Square, Facebook, Shopify or a number of other places, the remote-first-forever policy means people can move wherever they want … and settle there. Pichai is still keeping people in comparative limbo.

  • Google also created a new category of COVID response, which makes three: There's the Coming Back Soon crowd, whose numbers are dwindling by the day; the Ask Me In A Year crowd, of which Google is now the charter member; and the We're Never Going Back crowd. The third crowd seems to be growing the fastest.

For tech CEOs, this is becoming an interesting competitive landscape. Is remote flexibility an upside? Or are you scaring people off by telling new hires they might never meet their colleagues in person? Safety is obviously the most important thing, but it's not easy to manage employees' needs, competitive cultures, and the increasing number of unknown unknowns about the future of work.

Oh, and if you're four months into remote work and recently decided it's not nearly as productive or sustainable as you thought? You're not alone.


COVID could change how — and what — we eat

Shakeel Hashim writes: If Costa Yiannoulis has his way, you'll be eating lab-grown meat within the decade. As the investment director of CPT Capital, Yiannoulis has overseen investments in every type of meat alternative you could imagine, including giants like Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and Memphis Meats. And he thinks you can add his specialty to the list of trends accelerated by COVID.

  • The pandemic basically "broke" supply chains, Yiannoulis told me, pointing to the shortages and cullings caused by closures. And given that we're pretty sure COVID came from an animal, it's also highlighted how farming methods hurt human health. To him, the solution is obvious: locally produced meat alternatives.

We're still in the early stages of all this, but within the next two years, Yiannoulis thinks you'll be able to buy food products that contain "recombinant protein," produced by genetically-modified microbes. CPT's latest investment, Geltor, uses this to make human collagen for cosmetics companies.

  • Further out, lab-grown meat (known as "cell culture") should come to fruition. "The physical equipment to produce that does not exist yet," Yiannoulis said, nor does a suitable regulatory pathway. He thinks you'll be able to buy it in high-end restaurants within five years before a grocery store rollout in five to 10 years.

By the way: If you're a budding alt-food entrepreneur, Yiannoulis has a pitch for you. "There's a lot of companies doing [recombinant] proteins as ingredients. There aren't a lot of companies doing fats ... that's probably a big white space." I hope McDonald's trips count as market research.



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People Are Talking

With TikTok out of India, Triller boss Ryan Kavanaugh said people started immediately looking for alternatives:

  • "After the ban, we literally woke up one morning and found that we had almost 30 million users from India who joined our platform versus one million a day ago ... Influencers started calling us and we needed to hire more people on the ground in India."

A group of creatives is protesting Twitter this week, after the platform left up an anti-Semitic screed from a British rapper. U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel supported the protest:

  • "The antisemitic posts from Wiley are abhorrent. They should not have been able to remain on Twitter and Instagram for so long and I have asked them for a full explanation. Social media companies must act much faster to remove such appalling hatred from their platforms."

Nobody on the internet is better at drumming up viral attention than MSCHF, and founder Gabriel Whaley said it's by subverting the whole process of doing so:

  • "All of a sudden, the word content is almost synonymous with quick bites of video content that bigger richer people try to come in and capitalize on. And that's why what MSCHF does is it's almost like a punch up at the powers that be to tell stories in a way that's more human and less platform dependent."

Making Moves

Jim Lanzone is the new CEO of Tinder. He comes from running CBS Interactive and replaces Elie Seidman, who the WSJ reported is going back to working with early-stage companies. Tinder also named Joshua Sell its new CPO.

Kim Milosevich is the new head of communications at Coinbase. She'd been a marketing partner at Andreessen Horowitz since 2013 and has been working with Coinbase since a16z invested in the company.

Singapore's StarHub is looking for a new CEO after Peter Kaliaropoulos said he'll step down at the end of October. He said he's leaving for personal reasons.

In Other News

  • On Protocol:As we head into another round of the console wars, there's more at stake between Microsoft and Sony than you might think. (Also, this is Seth Schiesel's first story for us as a contributing editor. He'll be here a lot, covering the business of gaming. Welcome aboard, Seth!)
  • Days after the company was basically taken offline by a ransomware attack, Garmin is starting to recover. And as it does, Garmin's offering a bit more information about what happened – though not much, at least until Wednesday's earnings call.
  • File this under unsurprising and still horrifying: For years, Twitter contractors made a game out of peeking into celebrities' accounts, tracking their data and locations from Twitter's back-end services.
  • India banned another 47 Chinese-made apps, many of which were cloned versions of the already-banned apps. The government's reviewing another 250 or so, including the popular game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.
  • Don't miss this story from The New Yorker about how an underground Cold War bunker became a crucial hosting service for a crime-happy segment of the Dark Web.
  • Renault gave every single resident of Appy, France an electric car, and asked in return only that they keep Renault up to date on how they like owning an electric vehicle. It's part of an experiment to prove the electric lifestyle really does work.
  • In the market for some malware?The source code for Cerberus, a banking-related hacking tool, is up for sale because its developers don't want to deal with it. They claim it's already making $10,000 a month, and they hope to sell it for at least $50,000.
  • Wired profiled Facebook's "Red Team," the group inside the company whose job it is to hack their employer's AI programs. Their goal is to find every problem and exploit it before the bad guys do and to figure out where Facebook's algorithmic blind spots are.

One More Thing

Beta Yoshi > Baby Yoda

There's a trove of fascinating stuff inside the massive security breach at Nintendo that's now known as The Gigaleak. New characters, new levels, a way for Luigi to give the middle finger? But hands down the best find so far is Beta Yoshi, a gangly version of everyone's favorite rideable dinosaur. The fan art's already here in droves, and I can only assume the merch is coming soon. Given the fan reaction, Beta Yoshi's going to get its own Switch franchise before you can say, "Wait, is that Mario punching Yoshi to get him to stick his tongue out?"



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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.

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