Hillicon Valley: Facebook petitions for FTC chair's recusal in antitrust case | Olivia Rodrigo teams with White House to push for vaccines on social media | Twitter removing 'Fleets' function in August

Hillicon Valley: Facebook petitions for FTC chair's recusal in antitrust case | Olivia Rodrigo teams with White House to push for vaccines on social media | Twitter removing 'Fleets' function in August
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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 haven't already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter by clicking HERE. 

Welcome and Happy Wednesday! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@millsrodrigo) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage. 

Facebook followed in Amazon’s footsteps Wednesday, filing a petition to seek Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina KhanLina KhanHillicon Valley: Tech groups urge Congress to 'dig deeper' on Facebook role in Capitol riot | Kaseya denies paying hackers for decryption key | Tech coalition expands tracking of extremist content The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Jan. 6 probe, infrastructure to dominate week Biden signals tough stance on tech with antitrust picks MORE’s recusal from participating in decisions about how the agency moves forward with its antitrust case against the social media giant. The petition seeking Khan’s recusal comes as the FTC faces an end-of-month deadline to file a new complaint after a judge dismissed the FTC’s original complaint in June. 

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Meanwhile, pop star Olivia Rodrigo made an appearance at the White House in a push to get young people to get the coronavirus vaccine. Videos promoting vaccines with the singer alongside the president and Anthony FauciAnthony FauciCNN: Every county in Florida, Arkansas rated 'high transmission' for community spread Rising case count reignites debate over COVID-19 restrictions Trump surgeon general: 'Pandemic is spiraling out of control' MORE are expected to be recorded and shared across her social media accounts, which have more than 28 million followers. 

 

TECH VS. KHAN TAKE TWO: Facebook is seeking Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan's recusal from participating in decisions about how the agency proceeds with its antitrust case against the social media giant, according to a petition the company filed Wednesday. 

The company argues Khan must recuse herself over public statements she made before she was confirmed to the commission and named chair earlier this year when she accused Facebook of conduct that "meets the elements of an antitrust offense.” 

Facebook’s petition calls out Khan’s time working for the advocacy group Open Markets Institute, her academic writing, and, most recently, her time as an aide on the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust investigation into tech giants. 

Facebook’s petition seeking to recuse Khan comes after Amazon sent a similar request to the FTC last month.

Read more here

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GOOD FOR BIDEN: Pop star Olivia Rodrigo made a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room on Wednesday afternoon to promote coronavirus vaccinations.

Rodrigo, who was meeting with President BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race GOP lawmakers request Cuba meeting with Biden For families, sending money home to Cuba shouldn't be a political football MORE and Anthony Fauci later Wednesday, stressed the importance of younger Americans who are eligible getting vaccinated in brief remarks at the start of the briefing with White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiSenators scramble to save infrastructure deal Overnight Health Care: New round of vaccine mandates | Health groups call for mandates for all health workers | Rising case count reignites debate over restrictions On The Money: Senate infrastructure talks on shaky grounds | Trump tells Republicans to walk away | GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden MORE.

“I am in awe of the work President Biden and Dr. FauciAnthony FauciCNN: Every county in Florida, Arkansas rated 'high transmission' for community spread Rising case count reignites debate over COVID-19 restrictions Trump surgeon general: 'Pandemic is spiraling out of control' MORE have done and was happy to lend my support to this important initiative,” Rodrigo said.

The visit by the 18-year-old singer to the White House represented the latest effort by the White House to reach out to younger Americans to get vaccinated. Rodrigo, Biden and Fauci are expected to record videos stressing the importance of vaccines.

The videos will be featured on Rodrigo’s social media channels — which boast more than 28 million followers — as well as the White House social media channels, a White House official said.

Read more about Rodrigo’s appearance

 

FAREWELL, FLEETS: Twitter will shut down its 24-hour story feature, called Fleets, roughly nine months after the company launched the function.

Since launching Fleets in November, the company hasn’t “seen an increase” in users using the feature “like we hoped,” Twitter’s head of product, brand and video ads, Ilya Grown, said in a blog post on Wednesday. 

Twitter’s Fleets functioned similarly to story features on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook — allowing users to publish a post that would last for a day.

Read more about the announcement

 

TAKING ON TECH: When Rashad Robinson took the reins as president of Color of Change 10 years ago, the civil rights group had a staff of about five, a budget of around $650,000 and its goal on social media was simply to build a following.

But now, with a workforce of approximately 150 and a budget that tops $40 million, Color of Change is one of the leading voices in the push to hold tech giants accountable.

“Part of what we’ve had to do over the last several years is translate presence into power,” Robinson told The Hill in a recent interview. “What does it mean to not just want to be seen on these platforms — what does it look like to have power on these platforms, and power over how these platforms engage and do their business.”

Read more here

 

NEW SHOTSPOTTER OFFICE: The acoustic gunshot detection software company ShotSpotter on Wednesday opened its second national incident review center in Washington, D.C., signaling plans for a broader nationwide expansion.

ShotSpotter, founded in 1996, works with police departments in more than 120 U.S. cities — as well as a handful of overseas locations — to provide the gunshot detection technology and support staff to analyze sounds.

But the technology has received significant criticism from anti-police brutality activists and community organizers in the cities where it is deployed, particularly following the Chicago Police Department killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in March.

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Read more.

TWITTER’S LATEST TRANSPARENCY REPORT: Twitter has reported that it has seen an increase in the number of legal demands by governments to have journalists or news outlets take down content in the second half of 2020, according to the social media’s transparency report published on Wednesday.

The social media company noted that 199 accounts of verified news sites and journalists worldwide “were subject to 361 legal demands” by governments and individuals to remove or take down content. Twitter noted in its report that it represented an increase of 26 percent since the first half of 2020.

The countries that had the highest number of requests to take down content included India (128 requests), Turkey (108 requests), Pakistan (52 requests) and Russia (28 requests).

Read more here

 

What we’re watching this week:

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-The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing Thursday on supply chain resiliency featuring testimony from technology experts. 

-The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing Thursday on reforming the Department of Homeland Security to meet evolving threats, which will likely include discussions of recent cybersecurity incidents. 

 

An op-ed to chew on: Well intentioned lawmakers risk weakening existing digital secuirty protections 

Lighter click: Grab the tissues

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

In bitcoin, Black entrepreneurs see a chance to rebuild generational wealth (Protocol / Benjamin Pimentel)

Inside Facebook’s Data Wars (New York Times / Kevin Roose)

Inside the Industry That Unmasks People at Scale (Motherboard / Joseph Cox)