Shannon Bond | WAMC

Shannon Bond

Facebook and Twitter said on Thursday they had removed several hundred fake accounts linked to Russian military intelligence and other Kremlin-backed actors involved in previous efforts to interfere in U.S. politics, including the 2016 presidential election.

Updated at 4:56 p.m. ET

President Trump warned tech companies he is "watching them very closely during this election cycle" as his administration proposed stripping online platforms of long-held legal protections.

"We see so many things that are unfair," Trump said during at a White House discussion with Republican state attorneys general about social media. "It's very serious. Very bad. Very serious."

Critics of Facebook and Twitter — and even some people inside the companies — say dramatic action is needed to counter the way the platforms supercharge false, and sometimes dangerous, claims.

Facebook says it has taken down a network of China-based fake accounts whose posts included content about the U.S. presidential election.

Most of the activity by the more than 180 fake accounts, groups and pages was focused on Southeast Asia, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of security policy, said in a blog post Tuesday.

A Google executive faced bipartisan grilling in the Senate on Tuesday over the company's dominance in digital advertising, in a preview of arguments the tech giant is likely to soon face from antitrust regulators.

Twitter is putting new restrictions on election-related content, including labeling or removing posts that claim victory before results are official or attempt to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.

"We will not permit our service to be abused around civic processes, most importantly elections," the company said in a blog post Thursday.

If this were a normal school year, Denison University senior Matt Nowling and his fellow College Democrats would be "dorm storming" around their campus, near Columbus, Ohio.

"We ran to people's dorms, knocked their doors and got them registered to vote," he said. "Sometimes we got kicked out of dorms," he added.

Zoom reported higher sales and profit in the three months from May through July than it did in all of 2019, as more people work and learn remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Uber and Lyft spent the past week threatening to shut down their ride-hailing services in California at the stroke of midnight on Thursday.

But the companies got a last-minute reprieve from complying with a judge's order to classify their drivers as employees, instead of independent contractors, as required by a state labor law.

Federal prosecutors have charged Uber's former chief security officer with covering up a massive 2016 data breach by arranging a $100,000 payoff to the hackers responsible for the attack. The personal data of 57 million Uber passengers and drivers was stolen in the hack.

Updated at 1:16 p.m. ET

Apple has hit $2 trillion in market value, the first publicly traded U.S. company to do so.

The iPhone maker first crossed the $1 trillion milestone just two years ago.

This week, Apple and a handful of other tech giants propelled the S&P 500 index to a new record. Apple's stock is up nearly 60% this year.

Both Twitter and Facebook have removed a post shared by President Trump for breaking their rules against spreading coronavirus misinformation.

Twitter temporarily blocked the Trump election campaign account from tweeting until it removed a post with a video clip from a Fox News interview from Wednesday morning, in which the president urged schools to reopen, falsely claiming that children are "almost immune from this disease."

Facebook has launched its answer to TikTok, the wildly popular video-sharing app that the Trump administration considers a national security threat.

Reels is a new feature on Instagram, the photo-sharing app owned by Facebook. Like TikTok, users can make short videos set to music, add filters and other effects, and easily share them.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Four Big Tech CEOs spent Wednesday being grilled — virtually — by House lawmakers, creating a first-ever spectacle that was by turns revealing and, inevitably, awkward.

Updated at 7:17 p.m. ET

Some of the world's most powerful CEOs are coming to Capitol Hill — virtually, of course — to answer one overarching question: Do the biggest technology companies use their reach and power to hurt competitors and help themselves?

Here's what you need to know:

Who: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Google is letting its employees work from home for at least another year — a sign that the technology industry is expecting disruption from the coronavirus pandemic to linger for a long time.

The company had expected most employees to return to the office by the end of this year and has reopened some offices around the world.

Now, CEO Sundar Pichai has told staff by email: "To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we are extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021 for roles that don't need to be in the office."

Updated 6:51 p.m. ET

Twitter is now under scrutiny from the FBI, Congress and state authorities in New York. Officials are demanding details about a breach that targeted some of the social network's most high-profile users.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

Facebook's decisions to put free speech ahead of other values represent "significant setbacks for civil rights," according to an independent audit of the social network's progress in curbing discrimination.

Uber is buying the delivery app Postmates, bolstering its food-delivery business at a time when few people are hailing rides.

The $2.65 billion all-stock deal is a sign of how Uber's business model has been turned upside down as customers have stayed home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A Black Facebook employee is accusing his employer of racial discrimination.

In a complaint filed Thursday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Oscar Veneszee Jr. said the social network does not give Black workers equal opportunities in their careers.

When the Stop Hate for Profit campaign launched just two weeks ago, its organizers had not yet persuaded a single advertiser to boycott Facebook in July.

Updated at 8:05 p.m. ET

Facebook will put warning labels on posts that break its rules but are considered newsworthy, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Friday. The new policy marks a reversal for Zuckerberg and comes as more brands pledge to stop advertising on the social network until it does more to curb hate speech and harmful content.

Joe Biden is demanding that Facebook crack down on false information, including from President Trump, adding his voice to escalating criticism over the social network's hands-off approach to political speech.

Congressional Democrats and two influential Washington think tanks this week joined the mounting criticism of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for doing nothing about President Trump's most inflammatory post on the recent protests over police brutality and racism.

Uber is seeing signs of recovery as cities, states and countries lift lockdown restrictions and businesses reopen, according to one of the ride-hailing company's top executives.

Commuters are the first people returning to Uber as businesses reopen, Andrew Macdonald, senior vice president of mobility and business operations, told NPR in an interview.

"Morning and evening rush hour are the parts of the business that have come back first, and then you tend to see the social hours start to come back after that," he said.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Facebook employees on Friday that the social network will review how it handles some of the most incendiary posts on its platform, including those by President Trump. His announcement follows a revolt by employees over his decision to do nothing about messages the president posted about violence toward protesters and mail-in voting.

LinkedIn's CEO has apologized to staff after anonymous employees made "appalling comments" about racism and diversity during a companywide meeting.

"We are not and will not be a company or platform where racism or hateful speech is allowed," Ryan Roslansky wrote in an email to staff that was also posted on LinkedIn. Roslansky took over as CEO of the professional networking company this week.

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