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Hope everyone had a restful Thanksgiving weekend! Today we'll explore Jack Dorsey’s surprise departure from Twitter and forthcoming Capitol Hill testimony from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.
Let’s jump into the news.
Twitter gets a new leader
Jack Dorsey’s announcement Monday that he is exiting Twitter after co-founding the company and serving as its CEO for the last six years is a seismic shift for a social media company at the heart of politics and the news media.
Dorsey will be replaced atop Twitter’s hierarchy by former chief technology officer Parag Agrawal, who joined the company in 2011 as a software engineer.
The change in leadership offers an opportunity for Twitter to shift course in any number of ways, but does not necessarily mean that major changes are imminent, according to a number of close observers.
“It's a very big event obviously at a very important company,” Paul Barrett, deputy director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, told The Hill. “I don't think it necessarily indicates that either there's something really bad going on or that the company is going to take a dramatic change in direction.”
Dorsey's departure comes as Twitter has set high new goals for user and revenue growth and rolled out a series of new products.
It also takes place as Twitter remains under the microscope for the role it and other social media firms have played in stoking an increasingly divided nation.
Twitter was the social media forum of choice for President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Korea conducts potential 6th missile test in a month Kemp leading Perdue in Georgia gubernatorial primary: poll US ranked 27th least corrupt country in the world MORE, who was only removed from the platform after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a mob of his supporters.
Haugen returns to the Hill
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen will testify Wednesday at a House Energy and Commerce technology subcommittee hearing to discuss proposals to a provision that protects tech companies from being held legally responsible for content posted on their sites by third parties.
It will be Haugen’s second time testifying on Capitol Hill, following her debut appearance last month at a Senate Commerce hearing after she leaked documents about internal Facebook research.
Haugen will testify on a panel alongside Color of Change President Rashad Robinson and Common Sense Media founder and CEO James Steyer, Democrats announced Monday.
A second panel will feature four other experts in the area: Karen Kornbluh, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Carrie Goldberg, owner of C.A. Goldberg Law Firm, Matt Wood, vice president of policy and general counsel at Free Press Action, and Mary Anne Franks, professor at the University of Miami School of Law.
Wednesday’s hearing, focused on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, is the first of two the committee has scheduled for December on tech issues.
AMAZON UNION, TAKE TWO
A top National Labor Relations Board official on Monday ordered that the union election at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., be held again after objections were filed against the e-commerce giant’s initial victory.
The regional director’s decision to have the election rerun follows a recommendation from an agency hearing office, which faulted Amazon for having a mailbox installed outside the facility just after mail-in voting began and for polling employees by distributing "vote no" paraphernalia to senior staff.
“The election that commenced on February 8, 2021, was set aside because the National Labor Relations Board found the Employer interfered with the employees’ exercise of a free and reasoned choice by creating the appearance of irregularity in the election procedure due to issues surrounding the installation of a mailbox outside the main entrance and by improperly polling employees’ support during mandatory meetings,” Monday’s decision reads.
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which would represent the workers at the Bessemer warehouse in the event of a victory, celebrated the decision.
DIGGING INTO SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTIONS
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ordered Amazon and eight other large retailers to send information to the regulatory agency about supply chain disruption factors and the steps they have taken to mitigate the disruptions.
The four members of the FTC voted unanimously Monday to launch the inquiry into the supply chain disruption, leaving the companies 45 days from the date they receive the order to respond.
“Supply chain disruptions are upending the provision and delivery of a wide array of goods, ranging from computer chips and medicines to meat and lumber. I am hopeful the FTC’s new 6(b) study will shed light on market conditions and business practices that may have worsened these disruptions or led to asymmetric effects,” FTC Chair Lina KhanLina KhanHillicon Valley — Biden celebrates 'right to repair' wins Advocacy groups urge Congress to tackle tech giants' auto industry focus Small ranchers say Biden letting them get squeezed MORE said in a statement.
“The FTC has a long history of pursuing market studies to deepen our understanding of economic conditions and business conduct, and we should continue to make nimble and timely use of these information-gathering tools and authorities.”
Nissan announced that it will invest nearly $18 billion over the next five years in developing electric vehicle batteries, The Associated Press reported Monday.
Nissan Motor Co. chief executive Makoto Uchida said the company’s new initiative is focused on cutting emissions and meeting customer needs on electric vehicles, adding it will reduce carbon emissions use at factories as well.
“Nissan Ambition 2030” aims for a 50 percent electrification of the automaker’s lineup. Uchida said that 15 electric vehicles will be available by the fiscal year of 2030, according to the AP.
BITS AND PIECES
An op-ed to chew on: How NASA will practice saving the world from an asteroid apocalypse
Lighter click: Post-Thanksgiving doge
Notable links from around the web:
FBI Document Says the Feds Can Get Your WhatsApp Data — in Real Time (RollingStone / Andy Kroll)
What Uber’s Spies Really Did (The New York Times / Kate Conger)
Months-long Interpol crackdown nets more than 1,000 online fraud arrests (CyberScoop / Tim Starks)
One last thing: Lawmakers target 'Grinches'
A group of congressional Democrats rolled out legislation Monday to stop "Grinches" from stealing Christmas by using bots to corner the market on popular toys and other products during the holiday season.
The Stopping Grinch Bots Act would take steps to stop the use of bot technology to buy up major shares of popular toys, with the groups or individuals using the bots then reselling them to consumers for higher prices. Further, the bots are able to get around security measures to buy toys on online markets, making it even harder for parents and children to access these products.
The bill would build on previous legislation that protected online ticket sales from bots which was signed into law in 2016. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is among the Democratic sponsors pushing for the new measure.
“This bill seeks to stop Cyber Grinch greed from ruining kids’ holidays,” Blumenthal said in a statement Monday. “New tools are needed to block cyber scammers who snap up supplies of popular toys and resell them at astronomic prices. Price gouging hot toys by Grinch bots should have zero tolerance.”
Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer vows to vote on Biden Supreme Court pick with 'all deliberate speed' Voting rights failed in the Senate — where do we go from here? Forced deadline spurs drastic tactic in Congress MORE (D-N.Y.), Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Rep. Paul TonkoPaul David TonkoThe Biden administration's first year: Slow and steady does not win this race Hillicon Valley — Inside the Twitter shakeup Lawmakers take aim at 'Grinches' using bots to target consumers during holidays MORE (D-N.Y.) are also sponsoring the legislation.