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Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg expresses 'disgust,' keeps policies | New doomsday cyber bills | QAnon follower favored for congressional seat

Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg expresses 'disgust,' keeps policies | New doomsday cyber bills | QAnon follower favored for congressional seat
© Greg Nash

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. If you don’t already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter with this LINK.

Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech reporter, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills), for more coverage.

ZUCKERBERG’S DISGUST: Facebook founder and CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergTexas governor signs ban on outside help for election administrators Hillicon Valley: NATO members agree to new cyber defense policy | YouTube banning politics, elections in masthead ads | 50 groups urge Biden to fill FCC position to reinstate net neutrality rules Pink Floyd's Roger Waters: 'No f---ing way' Zuckerberg can use our song for ad MORE and his wife Priscilla Chan in a letter to scientists associated with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) — a philanthropic effort by the couple set to combat disease — said that they have been "deeply shaken and disgusted by President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Carolina Senate passes trio of election measures 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos MORE’s divisive and incendiary rhetoric."

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The letter, which was shared on Twitter, was in response to an initial letter that more than 270 scientists connected to CZI penned to Zuckerberg and Chan that stated they shouldn't allow Trump to “spread both misinformation and incendiary statements.”

The scientists claimed that Facebook’s tolerance for false information and incendiary language goes against the CZI’s mission to “build a healthier, just, and more inclusive future.”

“Although CZI and Facebook are entirely separate and independent organizations with different missions and teams, we do share the same co-leader,” Chan and Zuckerberg wrote in their letter. “In this moment, we understand that CZI’s relationship with Facebook is not an easy tension to bridge.”

The pair added that the decisions of Facebook are “not the decisions of CZI as an organization. Nor will Facebook ever dictate how we at CZI approach our mission, work, or partnerships.”

Zuckerberg has received widespread criticism for allowing misinformation, including from the president, to permeate on Facebook.

Read more about their response here.

 

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CYBER DOOMSDAY PROTECTIONS: Sen. Gary PetersGary PetersAbsences force Senate to punt vote on Biden nominee Senate Democrats investing M in Defend the Vote initiative Senior Biden cyber nominees sail through Senate hearing MORE (D-Mich.) on Friday introduced two bills designed to protect and defend the United States in the event of a nationwide cyberattack that impacts critical systems and cripples the economy.

The Continuity of Economy Act would require the president to develop a plan to enable the economy and critical services to continue functioning in the wake of a debilitating cyberattack. 

The second bill, the National Guard Cyber Interoperability Act, would funnel more resources to the National Guard to enable them to provide support to states to defend against and respond to cyber incidents. 

That bill would also help address the wave of ransomware attacks state and localities have seen over the past year, with cities including New Orleans and Baltimore seeing their networks negatively impacted for weeks. 

Peters, who serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement that the bills would “help prepare our country to defend against and recover from attacks on our critical infrastructure,” such as health care or financial organizations, that could “cause severe disruption to our daily lives.”

“Cyberattacks are one of the greatest threats to our national security and the United States is not sufficiently prepared to defend itself in cyberspace or recover from a significant cyber disruption,” Peters said. “Our adversaries like China, Russia and Iran are constantly probing our critical infrastructure and government systems to identify weaknesses that could be exploited in the event of a conflict.”

The bills were introduced months after the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC) — a congressionally created group made up of members of Congress, federal officials and industry leaders — released a report calling for a multitude of actions to defend the nation against a crippling cyberattack. 

One recommendation was for the federal government to prepare continuity plans in the event of a hard-hitting cyberattack, with the bills introduced Friday a direct result of this recommendation. 

Read more about the legislation here.

 

QANON FOR CONGRESS: A follower of the QAnon conspiracy theory on Thursday advanced to a runoff in the Republican primary race to represent a deep-red Georgia county in Congress.

Based on that result, Marjorie Taylor Greene could soon be the first member of Congress to publicly back the theory, which posits that President Trump and the military are working together to expose and arrest a shadowy cabal of global elites and Democratic establishment figures who control the government and run a global child sex trafficking ring.

Greene will face John Cowan, a physician, in the Aug. 11 runoff. Greene led the primary field with roughly 40 percent of the vote, 20 points ahead of Cowan.

The winner of that race will be a heavy favorite against Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal, given that retiring Rep. Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas GravesGreene's future on House committees in limbo after GOP meeting McConnell says Taylor Greene's embrace of conspiracy theories a 'cancer' GOP has growing Marjorie Taylor Greene problem MORE (R) won the district by 53 points in 2018.

Greene has not made her belief in the unsubstantiated conspiracy theory a secret. 

She said that "Q," the mysterious figure who posts anonymous messages online that serve as the foundation for the theory, is a "patriot," in a YouTube video from 2017.

"He is someone that very much loves his country and he’s on the same page as us and he is very pro-Trump,” she said.

“I’m very excited about that now there’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan worshipping pedophiles out and I think we have the president to do it,” she continued.

Greene is not the first candidate to win the Republican party's nomination this cycle while espousing a belief in QAnon.

Read more here.

 

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PUMP THE BREAKS: Facebook paused the integration of animated search engine Giphy into its services after United Kingdom regulators opened an antitrust investigation into the recent acquisition, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced Friday it was looking into whether Facebook's move "may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services."

The regulators submitted an official enforcement order on Tuesday.

Australian regulators also opened an antitrust investigation into the deal earlier this week.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it is looking into whether the deal may give Facebook data that strengthens its market power or harms online messaging rivals — many of which use Giphy.

Facebook's roughly $400 million acquisition of Giphy has raised antitrust concerns in the U.S. as well.

Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyHillicon Valley: Big Tech critic Lina Khan named chair of the FTC | Lawmakers urge Biden to be tough on cyber during summit with Putin | TSA working on additional security regulations following Colonial Pipeline hack Big Tech critic Lina Khan named chair of the FTC Rick Scott urges NBC to demand Winter Olympics be moved from China over human rights abuses  MORE (R-Mo.) said at the time that “Facebook wants Giphy so it can collect even more data on us."

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Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Big Tech critic Lina Khan named chair of the FTC | Lawmakers urge Biden to be tough on cyber during summit with Putin | TSA working on additional security regulations following Colonial Pipeline hack Big Tech critic Lina Khan named chair of the FTC Senate confirms Lina Khan to the FTC MORE (D-Minn.) called on the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the deal.

Sarah Miller, director of the American Economic Liberties Project, called the deal "just the latest example of the Federal Trade Commission standing by while Facebook and Google centralize control over online communications."

Read more about the decision here.

 

NOTHING TO SEE HERE: Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenJapan to possibly ease COVID-19 restrictions before Olympics 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday China supplies millions of vaccine doses to developing nations in Asia MORE's presidential campaign will not be using the services of an ad and tech group connected to former 2020 Democratic primary contender Michael BloombergMichael BloombergPress: Even Jeff Bezos should pay income taxes What the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship 5 former Treasury secretaries back Biden's plan to increase tax enforcement on wealthy MORE's campaign, according to a new report. 

Axios reported on Friday that the Biden campaign would not be utilizing Hawkfish, which was founded by Bloomberg last spring ahead of his presidential run, as the presumptive Democratic nominee's digital platform prepares to face off against President Trump's established digital campaign ahead of November. 

Bloomberg paid Hawkfish $69 million to work on his presidential bid, which was centered on the Super Tuesday contests.

The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday that a number of tech experts and progressives within the party voiced opposition to using Hawkfish in Biden's presidential bid given its ties to Bloomberg and record in his ill-fated campaign. 

Bloomberg is looking to play a role in Democratic efforts to unseat Trump. The Times reported that he invested another $35 million into Hawkfish. 

Read more here.

 

Lighter click:

An op-ed to chew on: Big Tech’s artificial intelligence aristocracy

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

‘I can’t sit on the sidelines’: Black CIOs on facing racial bias (StateScoop / Benjamin Freed) 

Black Lives Matter could change facial recognition forever--if Big Tech doesn’t stand in the way (The Washington Post / Geoffrey Fowler)

Venmo and Paypal are stalling urgent efforts to bail people out of jail (Vice Motherboard / Samantha Cole) 

Zoom apologizes for disabling U.S. accounts commemorating Tiananmen Square anniversary (CyberScoop / Sean Lyngaas) 

Big businesses are spending millions on tech for the new normal. Here’s how the little guys are getting by (Protocol / Mike Murphy)

Honda hackers may have used tools favored by countries (The New York Times / Ben Dooley and Hisako Ueno)