Discover more from Slow Build by Nancy Scola
Nigeria's Twitter ban causes pain — Airbnb rolls out strike force — China's Amazon killer
"[M]ost telecommunications providers quickly complied."
This mid-week finds me starting the process of renewing my pandemic-lapsed passport in the run-up to a trip to Madrid in September. Will it take six weeks? Six months? Who knows! Wish me luck.
Before we really get going, here’s your book recommendation for the week: “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google” by NYU business school professor Scott Galloway. Published in 2017, ’tis a slightly old book, but it’ll be new to you if you, like me, haven’t read it before now.
—Galloway has some particularly provocative thoughts — like that Apple’s only given a pass on denying government access to encrypted devices because the world’s blinded by the shininess of the iPhone — but it’s a great guide to understanding what he calls the four “horsemen” of the tech industry as separate but interlocking entities.
Lina Khan is one of the world’s most innovative thinkers when it comes to applying antitrust law to the tech industry. She’ll also be the next chairperson of the Federal Trade Commission. It’s quite a trajectory — she was in law school all of five years ago. What have you been doing?
—If you haven’t taken in her law review article on “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” it’s a legit good read.
—POLITICO’s Leah Nylen points out that the Biden administration seems to have engaged in some clever chess playing here. Nylen: “[S]ome Republicans might have been more likely to oppose her nomination if she was announced as chair rather than commissioner.”
—A look back at why I think the 32-year-old Khan was pretty much designed for this moment.
Still, there’s still no Democrat in place in the fifth seat on the Federal Communications Commission, as the FCC tries to make moves on tricky topics like broadband regulation.
…nor anyone in place as head of DOJ antitrust, where some Senate Republicans want to move all antitrust enforcement.
…nor, for that matter, anyone in the U.S. chief technology officer spot!
Over in the House, lawmakers have introduced a sweeping package of competition policy reform measures. Will it go anywhere? Maybe in pieces.
When Airbnbs go horribly wrong, the company calls into action an “elite trust-and-safety team”entrusted with enough money to try to fix things.
Tesla’s holding of bitcoin is giving the company serious agita — and never more so than when CEO Elon Musk goes tweeting about it.
“Based on the Tweets by”: What started as a 148-post Twitter thread about two exotic dancers and a trip to Florida and then turned into a Rolling Stone story is now a movie. But who gets credit?
The ACLU is wrestling with whether it’s pro-progressive causes down the line or free speech absolutist — and that’s leaving the group with a sometimes “erratic” Twitter account.
The Chinese fast-fashion app Shein (“She-in”) is growing into a behemoth. Last month, “it ended Amazon’s 152-day streak as the most downloaded shopping app in the U.S.”
The Nigerian government’s Twitter ban might be unsustainable not because of the speech implications, but because the Nigerian economy runs in part on Twitter.
—The Nigerian ban didn’t pass through the legislature, but “most telecommunications providers quickly complied.”
I, for one, am looking forward to the section on modernizing government tech in the forthcoming Jared Kushner book.
—Remember when this appearance on federal IT was the first time a lot of us heard Kushner talk?
And my old POLITICO boss and inspiring leader Carrie Budoff Brown is off to “Meet the Press,” where she’ll, among other things, help the 73-year-old franchise expand its digital footprint.