Overnight Tech: White House plans digital blitz to boost State of the Union

LEDE: President Obama goes before Congress tomorrow to deliver his final State of the Union address, and the White House is hoping to use the web and social media to broaden its reach.

In a post to Medium, White House Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman described the White House's efforts as a "multi-platform streaming and social broadcast." That will include a stream of the speech hosted on Amazon and made available for viewing from Wednesday until the end of the week. The speech will also be streamed on the White House's website and on YouTube.

"So, for those who've cut the cord from cable and network TV: Whether you use a smart TV, web browser, mobile device, or tablet there's a way for you to watch the President's speech as it happens and on-demand," said Goldman.

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The White House has also expanded its social media footprint in advance of the speech, adding a Snapchat profile. The first two snaps in their story -- the reel of videos and photos available to all of your friends on the platform -- were of the Oval Office and Press Secretary Josh Earnest preparing to go out for his daily briefing.

Josh Miller, the White House's director of product management, said in a blog post that Tuesday's story would focus on preparations for the evening's speech.

SPEECH GENIUS: Last week, in advance of the speech, the administration posted an annotated version of the president's previous addresses to Genius (née Rap Genius), a platform that has become more prominent in political circles in the last year. You can read the annotations here.

TUNE-IN ALERT: Whether you're streaming it or watching over the airwaves, the speech starts at 9:00 p.m. ET (6:00 p.m. on the West Coast).

EFF RANKS GOOD, BAD OF TWITTER ABUSE POLICY: The Electronic Frontier Foundation waded through Twitter's updated policy on harassment and abuse and found sections that it considered vague and concerning. The digital rights group called Twitter's takedown policy "unaccountable and opaque," and said it is worrying now that it promises to remove posts that promote terrorism. The group said Twitter is now responsible for "defining terrorism and justifying account suspensions accordingly," which can lead to mistakes and mix ups. EFF pointed to some bright spots, including a more detailed description of its evaluation of abusive behavior.

APOLOGY FROM T-MOBILE FOR OFFENDING: T-Mobile CEO John Legere on Monday said he would "apologize for offending [the Electronic Frontier Foundation] and its supporters. Just because we don't completely agree on all aspects of Binge On doesn't mean I don't see how they fight for consumers." The comments come after he questioned the non-profit's source of funding after the group concluded that T-Mobile's Binge On Video service likely violated net neutrality rules. The CEO, however, continued to defend the video program.

FOUR BILLS ON HOUSE E&C AGENDA: A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hear testimony on four telecom bills Tuesday morning, including one to prevent the FCC from regulating Internet rates and another to permanently exempt small Internet service providers from new transparency requirements. The other two focus on amateur radio and fraudulent text messages. The Communications and Technology subcommittee will hear testimony from Public Knowledge, a representative of the Wireless Service Providers Association, and former Republican FCC commissioner Robert McDowell.

TECH GROUP OUTLINES SOTU PRIORITIES: Consumer Technology Association president Gary Shapiro said his trade group is looking for President Obama to mention patent reform and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night. Shapiro also said Obama should focus on ways to "help promote disruptive innovation." He specifically mentioned removing some overtime regulations from the Department of Labor. The White House has said Obama does not plan to outline a laundry list of priorities in his final State of the Union address, but trade is expected to be one topic mentioned.

FIRMS PUSH TECHNICAL EDUCATION: In a letter on Friday, firms including IBM, Dell and HP urged lawmakers to reauthorize a bill supporting career and technical education. "These improvements will more effectively spend federal dollars to help our nation's students acquire the skills that they need and employers are demanding. We urge you to move forward with this important work and applaud Congress' ongoing, bipartisan commitment to invest in our nation's students, workers, and economy." Read the letter here.

SPOTIFY SEES BOWIE STREAM SURGE AFTER DEATH: USA Today reported that music streams of David Bowie shot up 2,700 percent on Spotify on Monday after fans learned that he died early Monday morning after being diagnosed with cancer more than a year ago.

 

ON TAP:

At 10:15 a.m., the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications and Technology convenes a hearing on four communications-related bills.

At 9:00 p.m., President Obama delivers his final State of the Union.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Daily fantasy sports websites FanDuel and DraftKings can stay open while courts in New York state determine whether they constitute illegal gambling, a panel of appellate judges said on Monday.

The House on Tuesday will discuss concerns over a set of proposed Obama administration regulations designed to keep hacking tools out of the hands of repressive regimes.

Uber trips will cost less in 100 cities in 2016 under a new pricing structure announced by the company.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is growing bullish as it nears the end of an extended effort to convince television broadcasters to sell off their airwaves in an auction.

New York state signed off on Charter Communication's proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable on Friday, an expression of faith in the deal as it awaits federal approval.

 

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