Hillicon Valley: Trump's new attack on Silicon Valley | Instagram adds tools to fight 'fake news' | Scalise warns against violent language on Twitter

Hillicon Valley: Trump's new attack on Silicon Valley | Instagram adds tools to fight 'fake news' | Scalise warns against violent language on Twitter
© Getty images

Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill's newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley.

Welcome! Follow the cyber team, Olivia Beavers (@olivia_beavers) and Jacqueline Thomsen (@jacq_thomsen), and the tech team, Harper Neidig (@hneidig) and Ali Breland (@alibreland).

And CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter.


TRUMP VS. GOOGLE: President TrumpDonald John TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could MORE has Google in his sights, tweeting on Tuesday morning that the company's search results for "Trump News" showed results for "only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media," referencing prominent news outlet CNN.

"Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out," Trump's tweet read.

In his tweets, Trump went on to accuse Google and other tech companies of being biased against conservatives, an increasingly common attack from Republicans.

"Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!" Trump tweeted.


Raising the stakes: Later in the morning, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that the administration is "taking a look" at potentially regulating Google.


Google fires back: Google refuted the president's claims that it is biased against conservatives or any other political groups.

"When users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don't bias our results toward any political ideology".

"Every year, we issue hundreds of improvements to our algorithms to ensure they surface high-quality content in response to users' queries. We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment," the statement added. 

Read more here.


Trump wasn't finished with his tech smackdown: Trump issued a warning to Facebook and Twitter later in the day.

"Google and Twitter and Facebook, they're really treading on very, very troubled territory," Trump cautioned during an event at the White House.

"If you look at what is going on with Twitter and if you look at what's going on in Facebook, they better be careful because you can't do that to people," he added.

The president did not provide specifics to clarify his remarks.

Trump also claimed that "thousands of complaints" had come to the White House about the technology companies, though it's unclear where these complaints were filed.

Read more here.


THE 'F' IN FINSTA IS FOR 'FAKE NEWS': Instagram is adding three new tools to prevent the spread of misinformation on the platform.

"We've been focused on the safety of our platform since the very beginning, and today's updates build upon our existing tools, such as our spam and abusive content filters and the ability to report or block accounts," Instagram co-founder and chief technology officer Mike Krieger said in a press release on Tuesday.

"We know we have more work to do to keep bad actors off Instagram, and we are committed to continuing to build more tools to do just that."

One of the tools is an "About this Account" feature, which will allow users to see more information about accounts with large followings. A second feature will be a verification badge similar to the blue checkmark used by Twitter.

Third, Instagram will start allowing people to log in using third-party authenticator apps, adding an extra layer of security. 

Read more here.


SCALISE WARNS AGAINST VIOLENT LANGUAGE ON TWITTER: House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTexas man with politician hit list, illegally 3D printed rifle sentenced to eight years The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? Dems escalate gun fight a year after Parkland MORE (R-La.) chided Twitter on Tuesday while speaking out against "violent leftist rhetoric" online, writing that he was "all too familiar" with the consequences.

Scalise weighed in after the right-leaning news site The Daily Caller reported that the husband of National Rifle Association (NRA) spokeswoman Dana Loesch had reported a violent threat made against Loesch and her family on Twitter.

"There's a massive problem with violent leftist rhetoric online that targets conservatives and their families; I'm all too familiar with its dangerous consequences," Scalise tweeted.

"It shouldn't take an entire day of public backlash to force Twitter into banning these threats," he added.

Scalise returned to the Capitol last fall after being seriously wounded in a shooting at a Republican baseball practice earlier in the year. 

Read more here.


SANDERS WANTS AMAZON WORKERS TO SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES: Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersHillicon Valley: New York says goodbye to Amazon's HQ2 | AOC reacts: 'Anything is possible' | FTC pushes for record Facebook fine | Cyber threats to utilities on the rise O’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation Amazon to pay Bernie Sanders in federal income taxes: report MORE (I-Vt.) is inviting Amazon employees to share their experiences working for the online retail giant.

"Amazon is one of the wealthiest corporations in the world, and its owner, Jeff Bezos, is the richest man on the planet, worth over $155 billion," Sanders said in a statement posted to his website.

"Despite this, Bezos continues to pay many thousands of his Amazon employees wages that are so low that they are forced to depend on taxpayer-funded programs such as food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing to survive."

He has invited current and former Amazon employees to fill out a form on his website sharing their experiences.

"Have you used public assistance, such as food stamps, Medicaid or subsidized housing, in order to make ends meet?" the form asks. "Did you struggle with the demanding working conditions at Amazon? Please share your story below."

Read more here.


THE STATE OF STATE SITES: A report found that nearly all states are falling short when it comes to their websites. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation reviewed 400 state government websites, ranking them on page-load speed, mobile friendliness, security, and accessibility.

The study found that the sites largely fell short in the tests, particularly on security measures and accessibility. The foundation recommended that states require government websites adopt security best practices, mandate the sites be mobile-friendly and find local partners who could test accessibility of the websites.

The site with the highest marks? Virginia's site for hunting and fishing licenses.

Read the report here.



Tesla CEO says company will remain public after a going-private remark made investors jump.




AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: A robot bartender is just the start -- and really isn't a bad thing



Silicon Valley takes a (careful) step toward autonomous flying. (The New York Times)

Germany takes aim at internet giants. (Bloomberg)

Tesla without Elon Musk? How a once-unthinkable idea became unavoidable. (The Washington Post)

Yahoo, bucking industry, scans emails for data to sell advertisers. (The Wall Street Journal)

Stalkerware company gets hacked. (Motherboard)