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Hillicon Valley — Netflix’s leadership shakeup

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Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings announced he is stepping down from his current position as co-CEO of the company, but he won’t be going away anytime soon.

Also today, Twitter and Meta filed briefs urging the Supreme Court to keep a controversial tech liability shield in place, and China’s Mars mission may be in trouble.

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca Klar and Ines KagubareSubscribe here.

Netflix founder to step down from CEO role

Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings announced Thursday he is stepping down as co-CEO of the company in a shakeup of the streaming giant’s leadership.

  • Hastings, who co-founded Netflix along with Marc Randolph in 1997, will become executive chairman while two others will share CEO responsibilities.
  • Greg Peters, the company’s current chief operating officer, will join Ted Sarandos as co-CEO. Sarandos was appointed to his current co-CEO role in July 2020.  

Hastings noted he was taking a page from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who shifted to other positions when passing “the CEO baton.”

Read more here.

Tech industry tells court to keep Section 230 as-is

Twitter, Meta and a handful of tech association groups said if the Supreme Court strikes down certain protections for internet providers under a controversial provision it could make online companies less useful and less safe for the public, according to briefs filed Thursday.

Taken together, the briefs, along with one filed by Google last week, show the tech industry putting up a joint front in urging the highest court against ruling to create a more narrow scope for protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in a case against Google.

  • Section 230 provides a legal liability shield to protect internet companies from content posted by third parties.
  • The case before the Supreme Court is based on allegations against Google subsidiary YouTube raised by the family of Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old U.S. citizen killed in a 2015 Islamic State terror attack in France. The Gonzalez family alleges that YouTube provided a platform for terrorist content and recommended content that incited violence and recruited potential Islamic State supporters through its algorithm.  

Twitter, Meta and tech associations said that if the Supreme Court’s decision strikes down some Section 230 protections, it would have far-reaching implications for other internet companies, as well.

Read more here

China’s mission to Mars in trouble?

In 2021, China earned a place in the Martian history books as it became the second nation to touch down on the Red Planet. Now, the star of that mission, a rover called Zhurong, may be in trouble.

Reports out of China say the rover has yet to wake up from its planned hibernation. 

The rover, along with a lander, makes up China’s first interplanetary mission called Tiawen 1. After touching down on Utopia Planitia, a massive lava plain in Mars’ northern hemisphere, Zhurong conducted a host of science activities before it was scheduled to hibernate during the Martian winter.  

Typically, spacecraft on Mars “sleep” through the winter to reserve power and help withstand the harsh winter conditions. Zhurong entered a dormant stage in May 2022 and was expected to wake up in December. However, the rover has failed to phone home.  

So far nothing official has been released from the Chinese space agency, but the South China Morning Post published a report on Jan. 7 citing anonymous sources who said the rover still hasn’t made contact. 

Read more here


TikTok is expanding its program to label content posted by state-affiliated media to more countries, the company announced this week.  

The policy will label accounts “run by entities whose editorial output or decision-making process is subject to control or influence by a government,” Justin Erlich, TikTok’s global head of issue policy and partnerships, trust and safety, wrote in a blog post

The video-sharing app first piloted the program last year in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. It is expanding to more than 40 markets “across multiple regions,” Erlich wrote.  

To assess editorial independence, TikTok will consider an organization’s mission statement, editorial practices, leadership and “actual editorial decisions.” 

Read more here


Ad spending from the top 30 advertisers on Twitter fell by an estimated 42 percent after Tesla CEO Elon Musk took over the company, according to a new report from Reuters based on research from the firm Pathmatics.   

Four companies in the top 30 spenders “significantly” reduced their ad buys in the wake of Musk’s takeover, decreasing spending by more than 90 percent by the end of the year, per the report. 

Another 14 companies halted all advertising on the platform, according to the research, among which were Coca-Cola Co., Kraft Heinz and Nestle SA. 

Apple Inc. and PepsiCo Inc., though, both increased spending, the research found. 

Read more here


An op-ed to chew on: Don’t underestimate Twitter’s ability to be a power for good in science and health care 

Notable links from around the web:  

The FAA is struggling. Who can save it? (Vox / Rebecca Heilweil) 

Supreme Court Poised to Reconsider Key Tenets of Online Speech (The New York Times / David McCabe) 

Tech workers had their pick of jobs for years. That era is over for now. (The Washington Post / Danielle Abril) 

One more thing: Trump says Facebook ban was a ‘mistake’

Former President Trump shared his efforts to return to Facebook, saying in an interview that his ban from the social media platform was a “major business mistake.” 

Trump confirmed his latest push in an interview with Fox News published Wednesday, claiming that the social media platform, owned by Meta, lost $700 billion since he was banned. 

“If they took us back, it would help them greatly, and that’s okay with me,” Trump told Fox News. “But they need us more than we need them.” 

Trump also told the media outlet that various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram made a “major business mistake” by banning him. 

Read more here

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.

Tags Bill Gates Jeff Bezos netflix Reed Hastings Reed Hastings Section 230 streaming service platform technology ted sarandos
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