Biden Climate Czar Urges Big Tech to Censor Energy Debate

President Joe Biden’s top adviser on environmental issues called on technology companies to censor debates on environmental issues and energy policy during a Thursday event.

“The tech companies have to stop allowing specific individuals over and over again to spread disinformation,” White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, a former EPA Administrator, said during a virtual event, according to Axios. “We need the tech companies to really jump in.”

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Commentary: Americans Are Sounding the Alarm over Big Tech Monopolies

Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition — which can be summed up as the world’s wealthiest person buying one of the most powerful social media and news platforms — underscores one of the big problems with Big Tech.

In the absence of modernized anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws, Big Tech companies in the U.S. have amassed far too much economic and political control over society, and especially over the news and publishing industries.

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Google Launches New ‘Inclusive Language’ Function

Person on laptop

The search engine giant Google has rolled out a new feature that acts as an auto-suggestion for changing certain language to more politically correct terms.

According to the Daily Mail, users who type out certain words will be faced with several suggestions encouraging them to adopt language that is gender-neutral, or otherwise more politically correct. For example, “landlord” will yield suggestions such as “proprietor” or “property owner,” while “mankind” will lead to the suggestion of “humankind.” “Policeman” is now recommended to be “police officers,” while “housewife” is to be replaced with “stay-at-home spouse.”

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Google Announces More Investment in Its Virginia Facilities, Plans to Be a Lab Schools Partner

Governor Glenn Youngkin joined Google officials at the company’s location in Reston, Virginia, where Google announced $300 million more in investment into its Virginia presence. The company also announced a $250,000 grant to CodeVA to partner with stakeholders to create computer science lab schools; additionally, the company will partner with Virginia’s community colleges to provide professional certifications.

“Google’s investment and partnership announcement is a timely and exciting development for the Commonwealth. Code with Google and CodeVA will prepare the next generation of Virginia’s students for careers in computer science. As governor, I am committed to creating workforce development opportunities, expanding our computer science opportunities for Virginia’s students, and reestablishing high expectations in education,” Youngkin said in a press release.

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All-Star Panelist Ben Cunningham and the Tyranny of Social Media Companies

Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Ben Cunningham to discuss the tyranny of social media companies and their censorship of conservative voices.

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Google Sued by Black Former Employees for Racial Discrimination

On Monday, the tech giant Google was sued by a group of black former employees who claimed that they experienced racial discrimination while working at the company.

According to ABC News, the class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of the group by far-left attorney Benjamin Crump, who is notorious for representing the families of some of the most prominent figures in the Black Lives Matter movement, including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and George Floyd.

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Crom’s Crommentary: Throwing Money at the Current Education System Will Actually Make It Even Worse

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in-studio for another edition of Crom’s Crommentary.

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Internet Accountability Project Accuses Big Tech of Siding with Russia

A Big Tech watchdog group is speaking out about the way Silicon Valley’s titans of industry have handled the war between Russia and Ukraine. 

“Apparently these Big Tech monopolists find everyday conservative Americans more objectionable than murderous foreign dictators,” Mike Davis, Founder and President of the Internet Accountability Project (IAP) told The Tennessee Star Thursday. “They’re willing to silence and censor political voices with which they disagree while welcoming war criminals like Putin with open arms. That alone should be enough to recognize these Big Tech monopolists are not our friends.”

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Latest Durham Revelations Put Biden’s National Security Adviser in Uneasy Light

Jake Sullivan

Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation isn’t just imposing accountability for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 political trick to dirty up Donald Trump with the FBI; it’s also encroaching on the credibility of President Biden’s current chief foreign policy adviser and point man for the current Russia-Ukraine crisis.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan was a senior adviser to Clinton’s 2016 campaign and, by his own admission, spread the word to reporters back then that Democrats believed Trump was colluding with Vladimir Putin to hijack the election and had a secret computer channel to the Kremlin. Neither proved true.

But long before that Russia collusion narrative crumbled like a stale Starbucks muffin, Sullivan gave sworn testimony to the House Intelligence Committee disputing that anything the Clinton campaign spread around Washington was misinformation.

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Conservative Tech Group Launches Nationwide Campaign to Pass Senate Anti-Big Tech Bill

The Internet Accountability Project (IAP), a conservative tech group, launched a nationwide ad campaign Wednesday urging the passage of a bill targeting Apple and Google.

The ads, set to launch on Newsmax, are intended to support Republican senators who backed antitrust legislation designed to curb the anticompetitive practices of major tech companies, according to a review of the ad campaign by Daily Caller News Foundation. The ads thank the senators for backing the Open App Markets Act, which if passed would prevent app stores like Google Play and Apple’s App Store from forcing developers to use the tech giants’ in-app payment systems as a condition of distribution.

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Google Accuses Microsoft of ‘Carving Out’ Exception in Anti-Big Tech Bill

Google’s Chief Legal Officer and President of Global Affairs Kent Walker accused Microsoft on Friday of “carving out” an exception to a bill targeting app stores operated by Google and Apple.

The Open App Markets Act, introduced by Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in a near-unanimous vote Thursday. Microsoft president Brad Smith applauded the passage of the bill in tweet shortly after, writing that the legislation “would promote competition, and ensure fairness and innovation in the app economy.”

Walker responded to Smith’s tweet accusing the software company of “carving out” an exception in the legislation favoring Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console and service.

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Senate Committee Advances Minnesota Sen. Klobuchar’s Legislation to ‘Rein in Big Tech’

Sen. Amy Klobuchar appeared on Fox News’ Special Report Thursday night, primarily to promote an antitrust bill aimed at reforming laws that govern Big Tech and increasing competition.

A bipartisan U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted 16-6 Thursday to advance the legislation — The American Innovation and Choice Online Act — as bipartisan lawmakers seek to curtail the power and influence of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and others.

In short, the bill would prevent companies from “unfairly preferencing their own products and services” on their platforms while prohibiting “specific forms of conduct that are harmful to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and consumers.”

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Google Kicks Dan Bongino Off Ads Platform Days After YouTube Ban

Google temporarily suspended conservative talk show host Dan Bongino’s website, Bongino.com, from its ads service, a company spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Friday.

“We have strict publisher policies in place that explicitly prohibit misleading and harmful content around the COVID-19 pandemic and demonstrably false claims about our elections,” the spokesperson said. “When publishers persistently breach our policies we stop serving Google ads on their sites. Publishers can always appeal a decision once they have addressed any violating content.”

The spokesperson added that while Google would not disclose the specific offending content on Bongino.com, the website had been subject to frequent reviews and Google had flagged content in violation of its policies.

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Amazon and Facebook Spent More Money Than Ever Lobbying in 2021

Amazon and Facebook parent company Meta spent more money in 2021 lobbying lawmakers and officials than any year before, according to lobbying disclosure filings.

Amazon spent $20.3 million on lobbying while Meta spent $20.1 million in 2021, according to a review of lobbying disclosure filings by MarketWatch. The figures are record totals for both tech companies, who spent $18.9 million and $19.7 million on lobbying in 2020, respectively.

Google’s lobbying spend for 2021 clocked in at $11.5 million, while Microsoft spent $10.3 million and Apple spent $6.5 million, according to MarketWatch’s review.

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Zuckerberg, Pichai Signed Off On Backroom Facebook-Google Collusion, Lawsuit Alleges

Facebook and Google CEOs Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai signed off on a deal between the two companies to rig the digital advertising market, a recently unredacted lawsuit alleges.

The existence of the deal, dubbed Jedi Blue, was first revealed in a complaint filed by Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in December 2020 which alleged that Google unlawfully abused its dominance in the digital ads market. The complaint alleged that Google struck a deal with Facebook in 2018 to give the social company secret advantages in its ad exchanges, known as Open Bidding auctions, to the detriment of competitors.

An unredacted version of the complaint filed Friday alleges that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally signed off on the deal. The complaint alleges Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg brokered the deal with top Google executive Philipp Schindler and pushed Zuckerberg to approve.

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Amazon, Google Lobbying Small Business Partners to Oppose Anti-Big Tech Bills

Amazon logo on a Samsung phone

Amazon and Google are lobbying small businesses who use their services to oppose antitrust bills aimed at breaking up major tech companies, enlisting them to pressure lawmakers, Politico reported.

The companies are conducting a public relations campaign in an effort to drum up opposition to antitrust legislation proposed in the Senate, including a bill sponsored by Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar that goes after companies like Amazon and Google for prioritizing their own services in online shopping platforms, according to Politico.

The tech giants are using email campaigns, Zoom calls and online petitions, to spread the message that the bills would harm small businesses that rely on their platforms, Politico reported. Several technology trade groups, including the Connected Commerce Council, are also working to encourage small businesses to oppose the legislation.

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Google Vows to Fire All Unvaccinated Employees in Six Months

Google told its employees that they would lose pay and eventually their jobs if they did not abide by the company’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, according to an internal memo obtained by CNBC.

Employees had until Dec. 3 to state their vaccination status to the company and upload the required documentation or to apply for a medical or religious exemption, according to the memo, CNBC reported.

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Crom’s Crommentary: As China Insulates and Builds up Military, the Media Drumbeat for Tech Dominance Farce Continues

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio for another edition of Crom’s Crommentary regarding the insulation and military build-up of China.

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Supreme Court Won’t Stop Texas Abortion Law from Being Enforced, Allows Clinics to Sue over Ban

United States Supreme Court building

The Supreme Court ruled Friday that abortion providers in Texas will continue to be allowed to challenge the state’s restrictive abortion law but decided to not stop the law from being enforced.

The opinion, authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, emphasizes that the question of whether the Texas law is constitutional is not the one before the court. The ruling allows lawsuits by the clinics to go forward in lower courts, while leaving the law in place for now.

Eight of the nine justices said the abortion providers may continue bringing legal challenges, and Chief Justice John Roberts, writing on behalf of himself and the court’s three Democrat-appointed justices, encouraged the district judge should act quickly.

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Commentary: Platform Transparency Can Help Build Antitrust Cases

There is growing bipartisan concern over the power Silicon Valley’s oligopolies wield over American society. Amazon alone controls 72% of U.S. adult book sales, Airbnb accounts for a fifth of domestic lodging expenditures and Facebook accounts for almost three-quarters of social media visits. Just two companies, Apple and Google, act as gatekeepers to 99% of smartphones, while two others, Uber and Lyft, control 98% of the ride-share market in the U.S. Yet, for government to take robust antitrust action against Silicon Valley requires the kind of data it currently lacks: documenting the harm this market consolidation inflicts on consumers. A new RealClearFoundation report offers a look at how amending Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to require platform transparency could aid such antitrust efforts.

When it comes to Silicon Valley’s social media platforms, they have long argued that antitrust laws don’t apply to them because their services are provided free of charge. In reality, users do pay for their services: with their data rather than their money. Companies today harvest vast amounts of private information about their users every day, using that data to invisibly nudge their users toward purchases and consuming ads, or the companies simply sell that data outright.

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Georgia-Based Media Outlet Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Facebook and Google

The owners of a company that publishes newspapers in Georgia are suing Google and Facebook on the grounds that the two tech giants violated federal antitrust and monopoly laws. The Times-Journal Inc. announced the lawsuit in their newspapers this week, including The Northwest Georgia News. Company officials said in their lawsuit that Google and Facebook agreed to monopolize the market and subsequently damaged the newspaper industry.

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Hundreds of Google Employees Sign Letter Opposing Company’s Vaccine Mandate

A group of roughly 600 Google employees signed onto a letter opposing the tech giant’s company-wide vaccination mandate and called for its repeal.

Google first imposed a requirement in July that all of its in-person workers be vaccinated against COVID-19. The company is now asking all of its workers, including those working from home, to upload their vaccination status to the company website by Dec. 3 due to the federal contractor vaccine requirement, according to CNBC.

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University of Minnesota Tells Students to Check the Race of Authors They Cite

Libraries, the peer review process, algorithms and data are all racist, according to the University of Minnesota.

The university maintains a research guide that “shares racist research systems and practices, followed by resources for mitigating those problematic systems and practices,” Campus Reform first reported. This guide alleges that virtually every academic resource is racist but that students can overcome institutional racism by abandoning traditional academic standards.

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Google Is Racist, Says University of Minnesota Research Guide

Two librarians at the University of Minnesota recently published a research guide claiming, among other things, that statistics and search algorithms like Google’s are racist.

The guide “was developed in response to librarians fielding multiple requests from UMN researchers looking to incorporate anti-racism into their research practices,” according to the university website.

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Google Loses Antitrust Legal Battle, $2.8 Billion Fine Upheld

The European Union (EU) General Court upheld a ruling Wednesday that Google violated EU antitrust law by preferencing its own shopping service in search results.

The European Commission, the EU’s top regulator, ruled in 2017 that Google’s practice of prioritizing its online marketplace in its search results was anti-competitive, slapping the tech giant with a roughly $2.8 billion fine. Google appealed the decision, but the EU General Court, the second-highest court in the continent, upheld the ruling Wednesday.

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Cotton, Klobuchar Plan to Rein in Big Tech’s ‘Monopolistic’ Practices with New Bipartisan Bill

Amy Klobuchar and Tom Cotton

Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar unveiled a bipartisan bill Friday intended to restrict how major tech companies acquire and merge with smaller firms.

The bill, titled the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, is a companion to antitrust legislation advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee in June. If enacted, the law would shift the burden in antitrust cases to the acquiring party for mergers greater than $50 million, meaning that the acquiring firm would have to prove that its acquisition of another company was not anti-competitive.

The bill explicitly targets Big Tech companies, and it applies to firms with market capitalizations over $600 billion, at least 50,000,000 U.S.-based monthly active users or 100,000 monthly active business users. This would include Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple.

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Big Tech Companies Are Defying Texas’ Vaccine Mandate Ban

Man getting bandaid on vaccination shot

Major tech companies are continuing to require their employees to be vaccinated at their Texas facilities, in violation of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning all vaccine mandates.

Abbott signed an executive order on Oct. 11 prohibiting “any entity,” including private businesses, government contractors and local schools, from imposing a requirement that employees be vaccinated as a condition of employment. However, Google, Facebook, HPE, Twitter and Lyft have yet to lift their vaccine mandates in response to the order, Protocol first reported.

HPE spokesman Adam Bauer confirmed the company had not changed its vaccine policy, and told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the company was making “vaccination a condition of employment for U.S. team members to comply with President Biden’s executive order and remain in good standing as a federal contractor.”

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Facebook Reportedly Plans to Change Its Name

Facebook is reportedly planning on rebranding and is set to announce a new company name next week, according to The Verge.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg intends to announce the new name at the Facebook Connect conference on Oct. 28, a source familiar with the matter told The Verge. The rebrand is reportedly an attempt by Zuckerberg to shift public perception of the company as a social media platform to a technology conglomerate with several different products beyond the Facebook social network.

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‘Zuckerberg Should Be in Jail:’ Molly Hemingway’s New Book Hits Back at Silicon Valley over 2020 Election

Author and Senior Editor at The Federalist Mollie Hemingway held nothing back in her forthcoming book “RIGGED,” detailing the irregularities in the 2020 election.

One chapter of that book is titled “Zuckerberg Should Be in Jail,” referencing Facebook’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg.

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Google and YouTube Will Demonetize Content Denying ‘Scientific Consensus’ on Climate Change

Person on Smartphone

Google and YouTube announced a new policy Thursday demonetizing all content that denies the scientific consensus on climate change.

Google will no longer allow ads for “content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change,” the company announced in a support page added to its website Thursday. The policy, which Google will start enforcing next month, covers YouTube videos and websites that treat climate change as a “hoax or a scam,” content “denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming” and content “denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change.”

The search giant said it was implementing the policy due to pressure from advertisers, who didn’t want their products associated with content promoting climate denial.

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Wisconsin Rep. Fitzgerald Signs on to Letter Opposing Google Ban of Live Action Abortion Pill Reversal Ads

Congressman Scott Fitzgerald

Wisconsin Representative Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI-05) signed onto a letter opposing Google’s ban of abortion reversal pills from the pro-life organization Live Action. Fitzgerald tweeted out saying he had joined Representative Jim Banks (R-IN-03) “in demanding answers from Google for their indefensible decision to bow to pressure from the left.”

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Google Begins Appeal of $5 Billion Fine, Disputes Allegations it’s a Monopoly

Google began its appeal Monday of a $5 billion fine levied by a European regulator over alleged market abuses.

The European Commission slapped the tech giant with the fine in 2018 for a number of alleged anticompetitive practices, including forcing smartphone makers to pre-install the Google Chrome browser to be able to install the Google Play Store, and imposing restrictions discouraging smartphone makers from manufacturing devices that run unofficial versions of the Android operating system. The commission alleged Google used these requirements to keep out competitors and maintain its monopoly position in Android distribution.

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Group of State Attorneys General Urge Passage of House Bills Targeting Big Tech

Smartphone with display of social media apps

A bipartisan group of 32 state attorneys general sent a letter to leading lawmakers in the House and Senate on Monday urging the passage of a series of antitrust bills targeting major technology companies.

The letter, led by attorneys general Phil Weiser of Colorado, Douglas Peterson of Nebraska, Letitia James of New York, and Herbert H. Slatery III of Tennessee, was addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The attorneys general urged Congress to modernize federal antitrust laws and enhance consumer protections by passing a series of bills introduced in the House Judiciary Committee in June that target big tech companies.

“A comprehensive update of federal antitrust laws has not occurred in decades,” the attorneys general wrote. “The sponsors of these bills should be commended for working to ensure that federal antitrust laws remain robust and keep pace with that of modern markets.”

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Internet Watchdog Says Ex-Intelligence Community Officials Are Echoing Big Tech Talking Points

A warning by former national security officials about the dangers of regulating technology companies is in lockstep with arguments made by Big Tech chief executives, according to a report from an internet watchdog group.

A group of former intelligence community officials sent a letter Wednesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy arguing against the passage of a series of antitrust bills advanced in the House Judiciary Committee in June. The warnings echo talking points made by groups lobbying for the tech industry and major tech firms themselves, according to a report by the Internet Accountability Project, a nonprofit conservative advocacy group focused on issues related to Big Tech.

The intelligence community officials argued the bills would make the U.S. less competitive with China and could even compromise America’s national security. 

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Report: Law Enforcement Regularly Uses Google Data to Identify Suspects in Criminal Investigations

Police are reportedly increasingly using Google data to identify suspects in criminal investigations, a trend that has experts warning about possible privacy and civil liberty concerns.

“Geofence location warrants and reverse search warrants” are “increasingly becoming the tool of choice for law enforcement,” according to The Guardian.

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Arizona U.S. Senate Candidate Blake Masters’ Plans to Tackle Big Tech’s ‘Predatory’ Business Practices

Woman in a red suit on Smartphone

Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters wants to break up Big Tech and ban their business practices he believes are harmful.

“I think Republicans need to reacquaint themselves with their history of antitrust enforcement, and realize huge concentrations of power in private hands can violate people’s liberties just as much as government,” Masters said in an interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Masters, who announced his candidacy in July, serves as chief operating officer at investment firm Thiel Capital and runs the Thiel Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by billionaire investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. He competes in a crowded Republican primary with fellow candidate and current Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich for the chance to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in 2022.

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Senator Marsha Blackburn Demands Google Reverse Censorship of Pro-Life Advertisements

Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) joined ten GOP colleagues and sent a letter to the CEO of Google, demanding the company stop censoring pro-life ads.

In the letter, the group of lawmakers described that Google had committed “an egregious abuse of its enormous market power” in their decision.

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Sen. Josh Hawley Accuses Google of ‘Targeting Pregnancy Resources,’ Pro-Life Orgs ‘for Disfavor’

Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley called on Google Wednesday to explain its recent censorship of pro-life ads.

In a letter addressed to Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai, Hawley called on Google to explain why ads placed by the pro-life organizations Live Action and Choose Life Marketing had been “seemingly censored.”

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U.S. Senate Candidate Vance Signs onto Ohio’s Big Tech Lawsuit

An Ohio U.S. Senate candidate and attorney has signed onto a lawsuit in support of the state’s bid to regulate Google like a public utility. 

JD Vance is part of the Claremont Institute, which filed an amicus brief supporting Attorney General Dave Yost’s June lawsuit against the Silicon Valley giant. 

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New York Times Quietly Updates Report After Calling Hunter Biden Laptop Story ‘Unsubstantiated’

Hunter Biden

The New York Times quietly removed its assertion that the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop prior to the 2020 election was “unsubstantiated” from a story published Monday about a Federal Election Commission complaint related to the matter.

The Times reported Monday that the FEC ruled in August that Twitter did not violate any laws by temporarily blocking users from sharing the Post’s Oct. 14 story on a “smoking gun” email from Hunter Biden’s laptop showing that an executive of a Ukrainian gas company had thanked him for an introduction to then-Vice President Joe Biden. The Times called the story “unsubstantiated” when its article on the FEC’s decision was first published early Monday afternoon.

“The Federal Election Commission has dismissed Republican accusations that Twitter violated election laws in October by blocking people from posting links to an unsubstantiated New York Post article about Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son Hunter Biden, in a decision that is likely to set a precedent for future cases involving social media sites and federal campaigns,” Times reporter Shane Goldmacher stated in its original version of his report Monday.

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Texas Governor Signs Law Preventing Social Media Companies from Banning People for Their Views

Gov. Greg Abbott signs law

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law Thursday preventing social media companies from banning users for their political views.

The law, known as HB 20, prohibits social media platforms from banning or suspending users, and removing or suppressing their content, based on political viewpoint. The bill was introduced by state Sen. Bryan Hughes partly in an effort to combat perceived censorship of conservatives by Facebook, Twitter, Google-owned YouTube, and other major tech companies.

“Social media websites have become our modern-day public square,” Abbott said in a statement. “They are a place for healthy public debate where information should be able to flow freely — but there is a dangerous movement by social media companies to silence conservative viewpoints and ideas.”

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DOJ Prepares Second Antitrust Suit Against Google over Digital Ads

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is readying an antitrust lawsuit against Google over its digital advertising practices, a source familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The lawsuit will be based on the ongoing DOJ investigation into allegations Google illegally maintains a monopoly in the digital advertising market, and could be filed as soon as December, the source told Bloomberg. Though the decision to file the complaint has yet to be finalized, the suit would be the DOJ’s second antitrust challenge against Google, following an October lawsuit which took aim at Google’s search business.

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Michael Patrick Leahy on Narrative Journalism and Big Tech Alliances

Thursday morning on Frist Principles with Phill Kline, host Kline welcomed The Star News Networks CEO and Editor in Chief Michael Patrick Leahy to the phone lines to discuss the changing landscape of journalism and Big Techs’ partnership with social media titans.

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Apple and Google Face First Major Challenge to Their App Store Dominance

smartphone app store

Apple and Google might change their app store business practices because of a new South Korean law similar to recent legislative efforts by U.S. lawmakers.

The new law would prohibit app stores, including Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, from forcing developers to use the tech giants’ payment systems, The Wall Street Journal reported. The bill, passed by South Korea’s National Assembly, will become law once signed by President Moon Jae-in.

The Korean bill is similar to a bipartisan bill introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Amy Klobuchar, and Marsha Blackburn to the U.S. Senate earlier this month that seeks “to promote competition and reduce gatekeeper power in the app economy, increase choice, improve quality, and reduce costs for consumers.” Both bills prevent app stores from requiring the use of their billing systems and take aim at the tech giants’ commission structure.

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States, Not Congress, Could Pose the Biggest Threat to Tech Companies

Despite calls for increased regulation of the tech industry, Congress has yet to pass any major legislation, leaving it up to the states to take action curbing tech companies’ power and influence.

Meanwhile, state legislatures have introduced and enacted legislation on data privacy, antitrust, and content moderation, while state attorneys general have issued a number of legal challenges alleging anticompetitive business practices.

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Bipartisan Bill Targets Apple, Google for App Store Tactics

Marsha Blackburn

Senators from both parties introduced a bill Wednesday targeting alleged anticompetitive conduct among Apple and Google app stores.

The Open App Markets Act, introduced Wednesday by Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn along with Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Amy Klobuchar, would prevent app stores such as Google Play and Apple’s App Store from requiring developers to use the tech giants’ in-app payment systems as a condition of distribution. The bill would also stop Apple and Google from taking “punitive action” against developers who offer different pricing terms in other app stores.

“This legislation will tear down coercive anticompetitive walls in the app economy, giving consumers more choices and smaller startup tech companies a fighting chance,” Blumenthal said in a joint statement.

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Terrible TV Ratings Leave NBC, Advertisers Worried: Report

The Tonight Show - NBC Studios sign

NBC Universal and its advertisers are becoming worried about the success of Olympic broadcasting as TV ratings plunge and star athletes struggle, Variety reported on Tuesday.

Low TV viewing numbers and early exits from star athletes like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka have caused anxiety from Olympic advertisers, Variety reported.

Despite beating competitors’ nightly program views, the Olympics are “clearly not what NBC, our agency or our clients were looking for,” an unnamed media buying executive told Variety.

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Big Tech Profits Continue to Surge, Latest Earnings Show

Man on phone, looking at desktop computer

Big Tech companies reported massive, record-breaking earnings figures as their sales continued to surge amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Google, Apple, Microsoft and Twitter all beat earnings estimates and showed large revenue growth, executives for the tech companies said during earnings calls Tuesday evening. The four companies’ earnings reports suggested that the growth experienced by Big Tech during the pandemic will continue apace.

“Our long-term investments in AI and Google Cloud are helping us drive significant improvements in everyone’s digital experience,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement Tuesday, explaining his company’s strong performance.

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Google Hit with $590 Million Fine For Not Paying Publishers

Google was fined $590 million Tuesday by a French regulator Tuesday for failing to negotiate with news publishers for use of their content.

France’s Competition Authority issued the €500 million (roughly $590 million) fine after Google repeatedly violated April 2020 orders forcing the company to pay news publishers to display their content in search results, the agency announced in a statement Tuesday. The orders were issued after the tech company failed to comply with a 2019 European Union (EU) copyright law mandating news aggregators such as Google license content from news publishers and press agencies, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“Google’s negotiations with publishers and press agencies cannot be regarded as having been conducted in good faith,” Isabelle de Silva, president of Competition Authority, said in the statement.

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Andy Ogles and Grant Henry Discuss Big Tech Censorship and Its Potential Status as a Public Utility

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Ogles and AFP’s Grassroots Director Henry to the studio to discuss Big Tech, censorship, and public utility.

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