Hillicon Valley: Biden: Social media platforms 'killing people' | Tech executives increased political donations amid lobbying push | Top House antitrust Republican forms 'Freedom from Big Tech Caucus'

Hillicon Valley: Biden: Social media platforms 'killing people' | Tech executives increased political donations amid lobbying push | Top House antitrust Republican forms 'Freedom from Big Tech Caucus'
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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 don’t already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter by clicking HERE. 

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

A day after the surgeon general issued an advisory labeling health misinformation an “urgent threat,” President BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries FDA aims to give full approval to Pfizer vaccine by Labor Day: report Overnight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response MORE ramped up the pressure on tech companies, telling reporters social media platforms that allowing the spread of COVID-19 misinformation was “killing people.” 

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And amid the bitter fights between Washington and Silicon Valley, executives at the largest tech companies have made huge donations to key lawmakers in recent months. But some lawmakers are still doubling down on their pressure to take on Big Tech, with Rep. Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckGOP lawmakers demand answers on withheld restitution following Nassar revelation Hillicon Valley: Biden: Social media platforms 'killing people' | Tech executives increased political donations amid lobbying push | Top House antitrust Republican forms 'Freedom from Big Tech Caucus' Top House antitrust Republican forms 'Freedom from Big Tech Caucus' MORE (Colo.) leading a handful of his GOP colleagues to form a new “Freedom From Big Tech Caucus.” 

 

TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL: President Biden on Friday said that social media companies that allow coronavirus misinformation to spread on their platforms are “killing people,” escalating a fight with Facebook and other companies as the White House warns about the spread of inaccurate information about COVID-19 vaccines. 

Biden was asked by reporters at the White House on Friday afternoon what his message is to social media platforms on coronavirus misinformation. 

“They’re killing people. The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people,” Biden said.

Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyFauci joins YouTube coronavirus special aimed at Black community Biden walks fine line with Fox News If you care about the First Amendment, this class action is for you MORE issued an advisory Thursday labeling health misinformation an “urgent threat” amid the Biden administration’s push to get more people vaccinated.

Read more about Biden’s comments

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BIG BUCKS FROM BIG TECH: Executives at the nation’s largest tech companies made huge donations to key lawmakers in recent months as Congress debated legislation that would reshape the industry.

The influx of donations came in as the tech industry urged lawmakers to abandon antitrust legislation that could make it easier for regulators to break up tech giants. Tech companies also lobbied Senate leaders to prioritize a bill to provide $52 billion toward U.S. semiconductor manufacturing.

Tech executives cut the largest checks to Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck Schumer'The Squad' celebrates Biden eviction moratorium Overnight Health Care: Florida becomes epicenter of COVID-19 surge | NYC to require vaccination for indoor activities | Biden rebukes GOP governors for barring mask mandates National Organization for Women calls for Cuomo resignation MORE (D-N.Y.), according to recent Federal Election Commission filings covering fundraising from April through June.

Read more here

 

NEW CAUCUS ON THE BLOCK: Rep. Ken Buck (Colo.), the top Republican on the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, is forming a new “Freedom From Big Tech" caucus along with a handful of other GOP lawmakers who supported antitrust bills advanced by the committee last month, the congressman announced Friday.

Rep. Lance GoodenLance GoodenGOP lawmakers demand answers on withheld restitution following Nassar revelation Hillicon Valley: Biden: Social media platforms 'killing people' | Tech executives increased political donations amid lobbying push | Top House antitrust Republican forms 'Freedom from Big Tech Caucus' Top House antitrust Republican forms 'Freedom from Big Tech Caucus' MORE (R-Texas) will serve as co-chairman of the caucus. Other founding members of the caucus include Reps. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), Burgess Owens (R-Utah) and Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarPress: Inmates have taken over the asylum 57 House Republicans back Georgia against DOJ voting rights lawsuit Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' MORE (R-Ariz.). 

The caucus will aim to unite Republicans in Congress to “rein in Big Tech” through “legislation, education, and awareness.” 

Read more here

 

BACKING THE BIPARTISAN PLAN: Tech industry groups on Friday urged lawmakers to support the infrastructure framework negotiated by President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators.

Ten groups representing U.S. tech firms, including the Chamber of Progress and the Internet Association, sent a letter to members of Congress showing their support for the $1.2 trillion deal.

“Better infrastructure will help connect more Americans to digital opportunity, improve the resilience of our technology networks, move us toward a cleaner energy future, and make it easier for U.S. technology firms to create more American jobs,” the groups wrote.

Read more here

 

DYNAMIC DUO: Olivia Rodrigo schooled Anthony FauciAnthony FauciPaul knocks YouTube for removing video he posted, points users to competitor Average daily COVID-19 infections topped last summer's peak, CDC says Ron Johnson praises conservative author bashed by Fauci MORE on "man crush Mondays" in a new video aimed at pushing young people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The nation's leading infectious diseases expert and the "good 4 u" singer read tweets from fans in the pro-vaccination video released Friday by the White House.

After Fauci reads aloud a tweet wishing him a "happy man crush Monday" and praising his "intelligence" and "compassion," he tells Rodrigo, "Well that's very nice to say that."

When asked if he knows what the lovey-dovey term means, he responded with a laugh, "No idea."

Read more about the video and vaccine push

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What we’re watching next week:

-The Senate Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity will meet in closed session on July 19 to mark up the cybersecurity provisions of next year’s National Defense Authorization Act. 

-The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing July 20 on the threat of ransomware attacks.

-The House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing July 20 on strengthening the cybersecurity of small businesses.

-The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on July 21 to examine cybersecurity vulnerabilities impacting critical infrastructure. 

 

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An op-ed to chew on: Paying attention to critical infrastructure can combat sophisticated cyberattacks

Lighter click: The evolution

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

The two sides of Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskThe billionaires' space race is just the beginning Tesla's Musk voices support for Epic amid Apple lawsuit Tesla reports over 0M in energy business revenue in second quarter MORE (Washington Post / Will Oremus) 

‘I Sold My Soul.’ WhatsApp Content Moderators Review the Worst Material on the Internet. Now They're Alleging Pay Discrimination (TIME / Billy Perrigo) 

Zoom gave employees stock to stay during the pandemic. It's turned into a windfall. (Protocol / Biz Carson)