Overnight Tech: What we learned from Zuckerberg's media blitz | Opening arguments in AT&T-Time Warner trial | Trump plans new tariffs on China

Overnight Tech: What we learned from Zuckerberg's media blitz | Opening arguments in AT&T-Time Warner trial | Trump plans new tariffs on China
© Getty Images

ZUCK'S MEDIA BLITZ: Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergBorder Patrol chief was member of secret Facebook group for agents: report Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak urges Facebook users to delete their accounts Trump's legal battles over census go public MORE on Wednesday night released a statement on the Cambridge Analytica controversy, breaking his silence after days, and then gave interviews to The New York Times, CNN, Recode and Wired, in an effort to counter growing pressure on his company.

Zuckerberg is promising that Facebook will crack down on third-party apps like the one that researcher Aleksandr Kogan created to reportedly gain access to 50 million Facebook profiles. Kogan reportedly handed over the data to a political consulting firm without the users' knowledge or permission.


Highlights from Zuckerberg's interviews:

CNN: Zuckerberg said the company was open to some regulation.

"Actually, I'm not sure we shouldn't be regulated."

"I actually think the question is more 'What is the right regulation?' rather than 'Yes or no, should it be regulated?'"

-Note: Facebook also spent a company-record $11.5 million in 2017 on lobbying, including pushing back on regulations.

Wired: "Our job is to get the government and Congress as much information as we can about anything that we know so they have a full picture, across companies, across the intelligence community, they can put that together and do what they need to do. So, if it is ever the case that I am the most informed person at Facebook in the best position to testify, I will happily do that."

Recode: "I think we let the community down, and I feel really bad and I'm sorry about that. So that's why we're going to go and do these broad audits."

The New York Times: "If you had asked me, when I got started with Facebook, if one of the central things I'd need to work on now is preventing governments from interfering in each other's elections, there's no way I thought that's what I'd be doing, if we talked in 2004 in my dorm room."

"I don't know that it's possible to know every issue that you're going to face down the road. But we have a real responsibility to take all these issues seriously as they come up, and work with experts and people around the world to make sure we solve them, and do a good job for our community."


Here are five takeaways from the media blitz:

Facebook may accept regulation

Zuckerberg doesn't want to testify

Facebook is worried about the controversy -- and should be

More scrutiny is coming for Facebook apps

Zuckerberg hasn't come clean yet about data mining

Details on each here.


Please send your tips, comments and too-early Masters odds to Ali Breland (abreland@thehill.com) and Harper Neidig (hneidig@thehill.com) and follow us on Twitter: @alibreland and @hneidig. We're also on Signal and WhatsApp. Email or DM us for our numbers.


FACEBOOK BRIEFS LAWMAKERS: Facebook has been making the rounds on Capitol Hill this week to brief the judiciary, intelligence and commerce committees in both chambers on its dealings with Cambridge Analytica.


But that hasn't satisfied Congress. On Thursday, the leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee called on Zuckerberg to testify before their panel.

"Mr. Zuckerberg has stated that he would be willing to testify if he is the right person. We believe, as CEO of Facebook, he is the right witness to provide answers to the American people," said Committee Chairman Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenOvernight Energy: EPA expands use of pesticide it considers 'highly toxic' to bees | House passes defense bill with measure targeting 'forever chemicals' | Five things to watch as Barry barrels through the Gulf House passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker MORE (R-Ore.) and the panel's top Democrat, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneCongress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — White House withdraws controversial rule to eliminate drug rebates | Grassley says deal on drug prices moving 'very soon' | Appeals court declines to halt Trump abortion referral ban Hillicon Valley: Appeals court rules Trump can't block people on Twitter | Tech giants to testify in House antitrust investigation | DHS set for grilling over facial recognition tech | Commerce to allow sales to Huawei MORE (N.J.), in a statement.

They said a formal letter will be sent to Zuckerberg "in the coming days."


What lawmakers are thinking:

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sat in on the hour-and-fifteen minute Senate Commerce Committee staff briefing today and offered his thoughts after.

Blumenthal said he still had many questions, including:

-What is the time frame for notifying people whose privacy has been egregiously breached?

-How many other Cambridge Analyticas are out there?

-Have they similarly violated users' trust?

-Is Mark Zuckerberg going to voluntarily testify?

His takeaway: "With all due respect to the people in this room, they can't commit the company. Someone needs to appear before the public and commit the company in public under oath to what it's going to do to prevent this kind of egregious breach of trust in the future."

His message to Zuckerberg: "My message to Mark Zuckerberg is 'you are the right person [to testify].' There is no question."


Mozilla pauses Facebook advertising: "We found that [Facebook's] current default settings leave access open to a lot of data – particularly with respect to settings for third party apps," the company said in a blog post.


What would regulating Facebook look like? Wired takes a look.


AT&T, DOJ MAKE OPENING ARGUMENTS IN MERGER TRIAL: Harper covered today's opening arguments in the AT&T-Time Warner merger trial as both sides went on the attack.

Key points:

-The Justice Department urged the judge to block the merger, arguing that it would raise prices for consumers and hurt innovation by using Time Warner's content to suppress competition.

-AT&T dismissed prosecutors' concerns, saying that the merger is vital to compete with tech giants who are also getting into video content. The company's lawyers also attacked the economic model the government is presenting that predicts price increases for consumers.

In attendance in the packed courtroom were AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes and DOJ antitrust head Makan Delrahim, for what watchers are calling "the antitrust trial of the century."


CNBC: Four reasons why AT&T is better off without Time Warner


TRUMP SLAPS CHINA WITH TARIFFS OVER TECH SECRETS: Trump says he plans to hit China with as much as $60 billion in tariffs in retaliation for what he sees as intellectual property theft by Chinese firms.

"We want reciprocal, mirror," he said during a White House event. "If they charge us, we charge them the same thing. That's the way it's gotta be."

From our colleagues Vicki Needham Jordan Fabian:


Trump will ask U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerChinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report The Trump economy keeps roaring ahead Trump says no discussion of extending deadline in Chinese trade talks MORE to consider whether the actions by China should result in increased tariffs on their imports. Within 15 days, the USTR is expected to publish a proposed list of products and recommended tariff increases for public comment.

The decision follows a separate move by Trump to impose new tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. That decision affected imports of those metals to the United States from around the world and prompted fears of a trade war.


The markets were not happy... The Dow closed down more than 700 points.

And Wired looks at how Trump's tariffs could hurt tech and social media.


DEMS URGE TRUMP TO APPOINT SCIENCE ADVISER: Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand On The Money: Fed chief warns of 'unthinkable' harm if debt ceiling breached | Powell basks in bipartisan praise amid Trump attacks | Federal deficit jumps to 7 billion Fed chief basks in bipartisan praise as lawmakers dismiss Trump attacks MORE (D-Va.) and Gary PetersGary Charles PetersGOP Senate challenger in Michigan raises .5 million in less than a month A better way to protect small businesses from cyberattacks Hillicon Valley: Critics push FTC to get tough on YouTube | Analysts expect regulatory trouble for Facebook's cryptocurrency | Senators to get election security briefing | FBI, ICE reportedly using driver's license photos for facial recognition MORE (D-Mich.) want President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates MORE to appoint a director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy.

On Thursday, they sent him a letter pointing out that the post has been vacant since Obama left the White House.

"An OSTP Director could immediately make an impact in our nation's approach to present science and technology challenges through his or her leadership," the senators wrote.


DEMS PUSH DOJ ON SINCLAIR MERGER: Thirty-seven Democratic congressman led by Rep. Tony Cardeñas (D-Calif.) penned a letter to the Department of Justice's antitrust chief Makan Delrahim, nothing their concerns with the Sinclair-Tribune merger.

Read it here.


LONGREAD OF THE DAY: IBM, unlike many technology companies, has long had a workforce of older, more experienced employees. Over the last several years, the company has begun to lay off many of them off, prompting charges of ageism. ProPublica dug deep into the company's recent layoff history to break down how one of America's oldest tech companies is dealing with its oldest employees.



The FCC and FTC will hold a joint event on the "scourge of robocalls" at 9:30 a.m.

The Brookings Institutions will hold an event on smart transportation at 10:00 a.m.



BuzzFeed: The Cambridge Analytica whistleblower said that he wanted to create the "NSA's wet dream."

The Guardian: Experts think that the Uber accident in which a pedestrian died is more serious than the growing pains of a new technology that some are playing it off to be.

Fortune: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey thinks cryptocurrency will take over the world.

Reuters: In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the European Union is planning tougher data restrictions on Google and Facebook

Forbes: Inside the world of race, hate and cryptocurrency