Image credits: Mexico Business News / Andrea Villar
Weekly Roundups

Alphabet, Facebook and Twitter Under US Senate Scrutiny

By Andrea Villar | Thu, 10/29/2020 - 08:00

On Wednesday, the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet attended a virtual Senate hearing over 1996’s internet legislation Section 230, which says internet companies cannot be held liable for the content their users post.  

Republican Senator Roger Wicker pointed out that social media puts conservative content at a disadvantage affecting local media, which is why Section 230 should be changed. Social networks have so far avoided lawsuits for content posted on their platform and Section 230 has given them the ability to censor content that does not meet their standards, Wicker said. With less than a week to go before the US presidential election, President Donald Trump has accused the technology giants of provoking political bias.

In his testimony, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued that Section 230 provides them with tools to guarantee the right to freedom of expression and to protect public safety, but stressed the role of legislators in determining what content is acceptable. “Congress should update the law to make sure it is working as intended,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, warned the committee that undermining the foundations of Section 230 could significantly affect how people communicate online. Dorsey said he was willing to demand more transparency in the company's practices but stressed the burdens on the smaller technology companies that would imply the modification of the law. “Mr. Dorsey, who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report?” replied Republican Senator Ted Cruz, referring to the NY post that was disabled from sharing about Hunter Biden. 

Sundar Pichai, Alphabet's CEO, stressed the company's willingness to adapt to new regulations but urged legislators to take into account the impact on business. “Let me be clear, we approach our work without political bias,” he noted. “To do otherwise would be contrary to both our business interests and our mission, which compels us to make information accessible to every type of person, no matter where they live or what they believe.”

“At the end of the day, we all share the same goal: free access to information for everyone and responsible protections for people and their data,” Pichai said. “We support legal frameworks that achieve these goals.” 

More news below:

  • You cannot protect what you cannot see. Guardicore is aware and helps companies gain complete visibility of their data network. “By having precise and exact control and visibility of how applications and servers communicate, we can detect if any new malicious process is trying to reach a site or if a person is trying to enter a server they do not have the credentials to access. We have the ability to stop this in a very exact way,” Oswaldo Palacios, Director of Sales Engineering Mexico and LATAM of Guardicore, said in an interview with Mexico Business News this week. Read the full story here. 

  • Apple is developing its own search engine technology, while US antitrust authorities filed an antitrust suit on Tuesday last week against Alphabet's Google for allegedly violating the law because of the way it treated rivals in its internet search and advertising business. In the latest version of the iPhone's operating system, iOS 14, Apple began displaying its own search results and links directly to websites when users type in queries from its home screen.

  • How good would it be to have a platform that helps your employees improve their English remotely through artificial intelligence?. My English Partners was born with this objective in mind. “Our technology detects what is easy and what is difficult for the user to learn, as well as their log-in patterns. All this data helps us to shape a person's learning experience in weeks,” Pablo Martínez Flores, Co-Founder of My English Partners, explained in an interview with us this week.

  • Microsoft beat quarterly revenue forecasts, benefiting from remote working and online classes, which increased the demand for its cloud services. In its report, the company led by Satya Nadella showed a 12 percent growth in revenue to US$37.2 billion. Analysts previously consulted by IBES expected revenues of US$35.72 billion.

  • Surrounded by a hostile environment, the country of Israel has used technology as a tool to defend itself and has sought out the limits of what tech can do. Nekt Group is an authorized distributor of cyber-defense and cyber-intelligence technology from the Israeli government. This week its CEO, Manuel Rivera, told us about its solutions.

  • Spotify exceeded 300 million active users in 3Q20, of which 45 percent are premium customers. This was not enough to prevent a net loss between July and September, however. The number of active users reached 320 million, 29 percent more than a year ago. The main source of revenue came from premium customers, which totaled 144 million.

Andrea Villar Andrea Villar Journalist and Industry Analyst