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Hillicon Valley: Biden expected to take hard line on foreign interference | EU files antitrust charges against Amazon | Facebook takes down Bannon-linked network

Hillicon Valley: Biden expected to take hard line on foreign interference | EU files antitrust charges against Amazon | Facebook takes down Bannon-linked network
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Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage.

FIGHTING FOREIGN INTERFERENCE: President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenFive examples of media's sycophancy for Biden on inauguration week Drastic measures for drastic times — caregiver need mobile health apps Boycott sham impeachment MORE is expected to take a hard line against foreign election interference by pushing back against persistent cyber adversaries like Russia and Iran.

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Biden took a hard line on the issue in the lead-up to last week’s election, warning as recently as October that countries seeking to interfere in U.S. elections would “pay a price.”

But beefing up cyber protections could set off a funding battle on Capitol Hill, one that has led to partisan deadlock in recent years over whether to provide states with steady security funds.

For some of Biden’s congressional allies, the first step is just talking publicly about the threat.

“Something that has been absent here is the president’s willingness to talk about election interference. That will not be the case under President Biden,” Rep. Jim LangevinJames (Jim) R. LangevinThe next pandemic may be cyber — How Biden administration can stop it Hillicon Valley: Parler sues Amazon, asks court to reinstate platform | Twitter stock falls after Trump ban | Facebook pauses political spending in wake of Capitol attack Cyber czar to draw on new powers from defense bill MORE (D-R.I.), chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on intelligence and emerging threats and capabilities, told The Hill.

Earlier in the 2020 campaign, Biden laid out steps his administration would take on election interference, including sanctions, responses in cyberspace and asset freezes.

“I am putting the Kremlin and other foreign governments on notice,” Biden said over the summer. “If elected president, I will treat foreign interference in our election as an adversarial act that significantly affects the relationship between the United States and the interfering nation’s government.”

Jamal Brown, the national press secretary for the Biden campaign, said Monday that Biden intended to follow through on that pledge.

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"President-elect Biden recognizes that foreign interference in our electoral process is a direct assault on our democracy, and will take action to deter and defend against attacks that impact our economy, our national security, and our way of life,” Brown said.

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AMAZON FACES NEW EU CHARGES: The European Union's antitrust watchdog leveled new charges against Amazon on Tuesday over the company’s treatment of third-party sellers. 

The European Commission accused the online retail giant of relying on non-public business data of independent sellers — such number of orders shipped and seller’s past performance — to benefit its own business. 

Amazon’s “dual role” as a platform that allows independent sellers to sell products and as a retailer itself is at the root of the issue, the commission said. 

It also opened a second antitrust investigation into preferential treatment of Amazon’s retail offers and those of marketplace sellers that use the site’s logistics and delivery services. 

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FACEBOOK TACKLES BANNON-LINKED NETWORK: Facebook removed a network of pages linked to former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon that were spreading misinformation about voter fraud. 

The company removed seven pages which collectively had more than 2.45 million followers, according to activist organization Avaaz, which notified Facebook of the network of Bannon-linked pages on Friday as part of the group's investigation into election disinformation. 

Asked about removing the network, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed the company “removed several clusters of activity for using inauthentic behavior tactics to artificially boost how many people saw their content.”

The Washington Post was first to report on the update on the removal of the network on Monday. 

The pages sought to “delegitimize the election with claims of ‘voter fraud’ and ‘Stop the steal,’ ” Avaaz said in the message to Facebook last week. 

The removed pages were taken down as part of Facebook’s enforcement against spam-like and abusive behavior.

Read more here

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BIDEN SPOX BLASTS FACEBOOK: A campaign official for President-elect Joe Biden slammed Facebook for allowing the spread of misinformation surrounding last week's election.

Bill Russo, a Biden spokesman, criticized the tech giant in a series of tweets late Monday claiming it is allowing disinformation on its platform that is “shredding the fabric of our democracy.”

“We knew this would happen. We pleaded with Facebook for over a year to be serious about these problems. They have not,” Russo said. “Our democracy is on the line. We need answers.”

Russo questioned Facebook’s actions on several pages and posts he suggested the platform took too little action on or was not swift enough in reacting to.

For example, Russo called out the platform for not banning former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon’s page after Bannon called for the beheading of FBI Director Christopher Wray and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFive examples of media's sycophancy for Biden on inauguration week Las Vegas-area district moves to partially reopen schools amid surge in student suicides Fauci: Receiving powder-filled envelope was 'very, very disturbing' MORE.

Russo also accused Facebook of only removing the video with Bannon’s comments “after a journalist inquired about the video.”

Unlike Facebook, Twitter suspended Bannon’s account, saying it violated the platform's policy on the “glorification of violence.”

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WALMART TO TEST SELF-DRIVING DELIVERIES: Walmart on Tuesday announced that it is teaming up with a new autonomous car company to test deliveries in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The pilot program with Cruise, which is majority owned by General Motors, will begin early next year, Tom Ward, Walmart’s senior vice president for customer product, said in a blog post.

“Customers can place an order from their local store and have it delivered, contact-free, via one of Cruise’s all-electric self-driving cars,” he wrote. “Technology that has the potential to not only save customers time and money but also is helpful to the planet is technology we want to learn more about.”

Walmart has previously experimented with self-driving car delivery, an option that could be particularly attractive for customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Lighter click: Aye Aye, captain

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An op-ed to chew on: Take my word for it: Privacy and COVID alert apps can coexist

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

'Frankenstein's Monster:' Images of Sexual Abuse Are Fueling Algorithmic Porn (Motherboard / Samantha Cole, Emanuel Mailberg and Anna Koslerova)

How Hasan Piker Took Over Twitch (New York Times / Taylor Lorenz)

Spotify's Latest Acquisition Is All About Your Data (Gizmodo / Shoshana Wodinsky)

Shocked by Trump’s Loss, QAnon Struggles to Keep the Faith (New York Times / Kevin Roose)