FACEBOOK DRIP-DRIP: The Cambridge Analytica story keeps dominating headlines, with Facebook announcing on Wednesday that as many as 87 million users were affected in the data scandal. Previous reports had said that Cambridge had improperly obtained personal information on 50 million users.
-Recall that when the Cambridge news was first revealed, the figure that Facebook would reference was 270,000 -- the number of users who signed up for the third-party app at the center of the scandal.
The other big takeaway from Facebook's announcement is that the platform suspects that most of its users have had their public information scraped by a feature that allows people to search for users by their email or phone number. The company said it would be disabling the feature.
The news came just hours after the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced that Zuckerberg would be testifying in front of the panel on April 11.
"This hearing will be an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online," Chairman Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenEx-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Ex-Rep. John Shimkus joins lobbying firm Lobbying world MORE (R-Ore.) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHouse Democrats announce bill to rein in tech algorithms House Democrats ramp up probe of FDA approval of Alzheimer's drug Intercept bureau chief: Democrats dropping support of Medicare for All could threaten bill's momentum MORE (D-N.J.) said in a joint statement.
-Check out The New York Times' helpful breakdown of the scandal and its aftermath.
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GOOGLE EMPLOYEES PUSH BACK ON DRONE PROJECT: The New York Times revealed that thousands of Google employees are urging CEO Sundar Pichai to call off the company's work on a program called Project Maven, that is developing machine learning that can be used in drone warfare.
"We believe that Google should not be in the business of war," the group of more than 3,100 employees wrote. "Therefore we ask that Project Maven be cancelled, and that Google draft, publicize and enforce a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology."
FACEBOOK MAKING MOVES AHEAD OF PRIVACY LAW: Before its Cambridge bombshell today, Facebook announced it would be rewriting its terms of service and data policy to be more clear about what it does with user information. The announcement comes ahead of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a sweeping EU data law that goes into effect on May 25 and requires digital companies to be more up front with their users.
"These updates are about making things clearer," Facebook said Wednesday in a blog post. "We're not asking for new rights to collect, use or share your data on Facebook. We're also not changing any of the privacy choices you've made in the past."
--ICYMI, here's Harper's story on the scramble to prepare for the new law.
Zuckerberg said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that not all of the changes the company is making for GDPR will apply beyond the EU's borders. In a call with reporters on Wednesday, he pushed back on Reuters' characterization of his comments but declined to elaborate.
TECH RIVALRIES ARE SPILLING INTO WASHINGTON: Check out Ali's story with Megan Wilson on how tech industry disputes are popping up in the policy arena. From their report:
The rivalries between major technology and internet companies are increasingly playing out in the nation's capital.
Alliances between Silicon Valley powerhouses and their cousins in Seattle are constantly forming and breaking apart, with big names often coming down on the opposite side of policy and legislative debates.
The result is that the "tech lobby" is far from monolithic, with big names in the industry often at odds with one another.
Key quote: "The funniest thing is the myth that tech has been monolithically unified and has never had differences, that tech is one big happy family and they agree on issues and they have each other's back in lobbying -- you mess with one and you mess with all," said Bruce Mehlman of Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas. "The tech industry in Washington is as quarrelsome and divided and eager to mess with each other as they are in Silicon Valley and the marketplace."
TRUMP MEETS THIEL AND ORACLE CEO: The president dined with Peter Thiel and Oracle's co-CEO Safra Catz on Tuesday night as the tech sector is taking a beating from lawmakers.
According to Bloomberg, Catz pressed the president on the Department of Defense's ongoing cloud contract process, which her company is competing for. The president reportedly did not suggest he would intervene.
Context: Amazon's rivals have charged that the cloud procurement process has been biased in favor of that company.
The stakes: The contract for the Pentagon's cloud computing needs could be worth billions.
The backdrop: Trump has been hammering Amazon for days, claiming it pays too little in taxes and wrongly saying that it is costing the U.S. Post Office money.
The Brookings Institution is holding an event on the economic, political, and security implications of technology transfer at 10:00 a.m.
The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a field hearing on Hawaii false missile alert in Honolulu at 10:00 a.m. local time.
ITIF event on using technology to make real estate more competitive at 1:00 p.m.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT :
BuzzFeed: A critique of Twitter as a source of information during crises, following the YouTube shooting
New York magazine: Tinder's Facebook login went down, which upset a good amount of people
WSJ: A profile of Margrethe Vestager, the European competition chief who has been taking action against tech companies
Op-ed: A ransomware attack brought Atlanta to its knees -- and no one seems to care
The Ringer: Can Instagram's brand survive Facebook backlash?