A whistleblower providing new information on facebooks acquisition of instagram in 2012 is one reason for the delay to the publication today of a major congressional report on big tech and competition, according to a cnbc story. republicans wanting to add their input to the democrat-dominated house judiciary antitrust subcommittees findings is said to be the other reason for a postponement.
Today also marks the 10th anniversary of instagrams launch. it quickly became an internet phenomenon and a potential long-term threat to facebook, prompting the social network to pay $1bn for it two years later.
While we dont know the content of the whistleblowers testimony yet, the subcommittee has published 2012 emails from mark zuckerberg where he admitted that a reason for buying the photo-sharing app would be to neutralise a competitor.
Facebook has always copied, hired or acquired when it has seen new features and services that were gaining ground and were different to its own take on social media. there are network effects around social products and a finite number of different social mechanics to invent, facebooks chief wrote in another email.
A republican on the antitrust committee has rejected its chairs idea of advancing legislation to force structural break-ups of major online platforms like facebook, says politico. but facebook is preparing its defence. the wall street journal reports facebook staff have created a 14-page document that argues unwinding its deals for instagram and whatsapp would be nearly impossible, forcing the company to spend billions of dollars maintaining separate systems, weakening security and harming users experience. a break-up of facebook is thus a complete non-starter, the paper says.
They have a point. as bloomberg acknowledges, facebook has been racing to integrate instagram further with facebook, merging messaging, shopping, and other operations so it will look harder to separate. at the same time, it has never separated out instagram revenues, although bloomberg cites sources saying it is the fastest-growing part of its ad business, contributing about $20bnin 2019.
Meanwhile, as facebook prepares its defences against being broken up in the us, it is defying anew lawin turkey requiring social media companies to establish a formal presence in the country, reports hannah murphy.
The move opens it up to penalties including escalating fines and a reduction of its internet bandwidth by as much as 90 per cent a move that would make the platform impossibly slow to use for turkeys 83m inhabitants.
1. eus top court blocks surveillance datathe european court of justice has said that national governments cannot force internet and phone companies to store information such as location data and metadata in the name of crime prevention or national security, a practice that is widespread among national security agencies in europe. the ecjs decision followed challenges brought by privacy advocates.
2. the great tech uncouplingdonald trumps push to decouple the us economy from china is forcingmanufacturers to rethinktheir strategies. kathrin hille in taipei reports for the big read that this is putting tech supply chains at the centre of a geopolitical tussle and creating a movement towards separate ones for china and the rest of the world.
3. mcafee arrested in spainjohn mcafee, the controversial security software entrepreneur, has been arrested in spain on us charges that he evaded taxes on millions of dollars he earned from activities such as touting cryptocurrencies. his extradition is now pending.
4. swedens telia and klarna in smorgasbord sell-offswedens telia has sold the worlds largest international telecoms carrier business to local pension funds for almost 1bn, as industry disposals continue to gather pace in europe. buy-now-pay-later fintech klarna has sold a stake to us department store macys as part of a deal offering new finance options to its customers.
5. the race to be the netflix of audiospotify has been making podcasting acquisitions and has committed tospending $500mto make itself the biggest in the podcasting business, a title long held by apple. anna nicolaou reports on the new streaming wars.
Google today rebranded its g suite services, putting gmail, calendar, drive, docs, sheets, slides, meet and others under the banner of google workspace. google says this is more than a rebranding: there will be anew, deeply integrated user experiencethat helps teams collaborate more effectively, frontline workers stay connected, and businesses power new digital customer experiences. think of it as the meet, chat and rooms integrations the company already announced earlier this summer, says techcrunch. google is now integrating all of these collaboration tools across its applications, with gmail currently being the one service where they all come together.