Facebook Faces Antitrust Lawsuit From as Many as 40 U.S. States

A group of U.S. states led by New York is investigating Facebook  (FB) – Get Report for potential antitrust violations, with plans to file a lawsuit against the social media giant.

Citing four sources familiar with the situation, Reuters reported that more than 40 states are behind the lawsuit, which is expected to be filed as soon as next week.

Facebook and other tech giants including Amazon.com  (AMZN) – Get Report, Apple  (AAPL) – Get Report and Alphabet-owned Google  (GOOGL) – Get Report have been accused of using their size and reach to direct consumers to their own products and services, stifling competition in the process.

Specifically, federal and state antitrust authorities are probing whether Facebook is taking advantage of its size and platforms in search and advertising practices – in particular through third-party platforms it owns like Instagram and WhatsApp.

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As Joe Biden faces a China emboldened in its race to tech supremacy, what policies will he pursue?

illustration: Lau Ka-kuen

illustration: Lau Ka-kuen

In January, the incoming US president Joe Biden and his administration will inherit a list of White House policies that they will have to untangle – perhaps even toss out – to develop a cohesive plan to meet the challenges of a more assertive China.

Chief among them is an emboldened China that has its sights set on attaining supremacy in future technologies. Four years of the Trump administration has taught Beijing the importance of self-reliance, as Huawei Technologies was cut off from its American supplier, and Chinese telecommunications companies were barred from the US market.

Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: When US president-elect Joe Biden takes office, one analyst says that where China is concerned,

© Provided by South China Morning Post
When US president-elect Joe Biden takes office, one analyst says that where China is concerned,

Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.

Under President Donald Trump, the Treasury Department has restricted Chinese investments

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Powerhome Solar faces new complaints from frustrated customers

Powerhome Solar, which is among the nation’s fastest-growing energy firms, is facing complaints from customers about performing sloppy installations and providing poor customer service that’s left some of them stuck with expensive panels that they say don’t work.

The allegations, made by 11 customers who spoke with Business Insider, follow our previous investigation into Powerhome. That story reported that the company appears to use misleading sales tactics to sell high-priced rooftop solar panels and was based on a review of legal records, interviews with a dozen current and former employees, and internal memos.

Read more: Fast-growing energy firm Powerhome Solar uses misleading tactics to lure customers into home solar deals that cost more than a car, insiders, legal claims, and leaked memos suggest

Customers we spoke with for this story say they experienced problems with Powerhome Solar that extend beyond the company’s sales practices.

One customer said he thinks that

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Where the youngest new faces coming to Congress stand on tech

With help from John Hendel

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Morning Tech will not publish on Thursday, Nov. 26, and Friday, Nov. 27. We’ll be back on our normal schedule on Monday, Nov. 30.

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— ‘Political Playlist’: Emerging tech critic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may have been the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, but next year’s crop of young lawmakers — breaking ceilings with some “firsts” of their own — are already sporting tech priorities.

— Parler’s new grievance: The growing social media site has long amplified conservative complaints about bias on mainstream platforms. Now the upstart has

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Training AI algorithms on mostly smiling faces reduces accuracy and introduces bias, according to research

Facial recognition systems are problematic for a number of reasons, not least of which they tend to exhibit prejudice against certain demographic groups and genders. But a new study from researchers affiliated with MIT, the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Barcelona, and the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid explores another problematic aspect that’s received less attention so far: bias toward certain facial expressions. The coauthors claim that the impact of expressions on facial recognition systems is “at least” as impactful as wearing a scarf, hat, wig, or glasses, and that facial recognition systems are trained with highly biased datasets in this regard.

The study adds to a growing body of evidence that facial recognition is susceptible to harmful, pervasive prejudice. A paper last fall by University of Colorado, Boulder researchers demonstrated that AI from Amazon, Clarifai, Microsoft, and others maintained accuracy rates above 95% for cisgender men and women but misidentified

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Google faces UK scrutiny over new advertising data revamp

Google faces fresh regulatory scrutiny in Britain over plans to revamp its ad data system, after a group of competitors complained to regulators that the changes would cement the U.S. tech giant’s online dominance

LONDON — Google faces fresh regulatory scrutiny in Britain over plans to revamp its ad data system, after a group of competitors complained to regulators that the changes would cement the U.S. tech giant’s online dominance.

Marketers for an Open Web, a coalition of technology and publishing companies, said Monday that it’s urging the U.K. competition watchdog to step in and force Google to delay the rollout of its “Privacy Sandbox” scheduled for early next year.

The new technology would remove so-called third party cookies that store user information on devices, replaced

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EPA Science Transparency Rule Faces Two Potential Paths to Revocation in Biden Administration

November 23, 2020 at 12:01 am ET

Rolling back the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks might be easier said than done, former Environmental Protection Agency officials say. As President-elect Joe Biden transitions into office, his administration will be faced with how to strengthen the litany of weakened environmental regulations that will be its predecessors’ legacy, a task that could involve multiple paths depending on the rule in question.   

“The Biden EPA is going to have to prioritize,” said Betsy Southerland, who worked at the EPA for 30 years, including most recently as director of science and technology in the Office of Water before stepping down in July 2017. “They can’t just agree to redo every single Trump rule or they’ll spend their entire four years just trying to undo the damage of the past four years.” 

Southerland expects the agency to zero in on the rules that have caused the most

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Arecibo telescope faces a catastrophic collapse, must be deconstructed

One of the most iconic astronomical observatories has fallen apart beyond repair. Now it threatens to collapse entirely.

Following two unexpected cable breaks, engineers have determined that the Arecibo Observatory’s 1,000-foot (305-meter) radio telescope is so structurally unsound that any workers who try to fix it would be risking their lives. So the National Science Foundation, which owns the Puerto Rico telescope, has decided to decommission it.

Now engineers are racing to figure out how to safely deconstruct one of the largest radio telescopes before it collapses on itself. The structure is so unstable that engineers can’t even approach it to evaluate the risk and timing of such a collapse.

“Even attempts at stabilization or testing the cables could result in accelerating the catastrophic failure,” Ralph Gaume, the director of the NSF’s Division of Astronomical Sciences, said in a press conference Thursday morning.

‘It’s like losing someone important in your

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Record stock rally faces risks from civil unrest, tech bubble

Big money managers are growing concerned that civil unrest could upend the stock market rally, but remain more worried about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Bank of America survey conducted in November.

A net 15% of respondents said civil unrest was the biggest “tail risk” to markets, trailing only COVID-19 (41%) and the tech bubble (19%). No respondents mentioned social upheaval as a concern in October’s survey.

The Charlotte-based lender surveyed 190 participants with $526 billion in assets under management between Nov. 6 and Nov. 12. The survey was conducted amid a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases and as the certification of the 2020 election hung in the balance following a flurry of lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign.


“Reopening rotation can

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Big Tech faces rising pressure in Congress and courts

While the tech industry delivers many benefits to society, governments around the world have been showing a rising interest in regulating it. Digital platforms, they worry, may be encouraging tech overuse and eroding privacy among consumers, curbing competition among businesses, and failing to adequately manage their societal role as gatekeepers of information. 

In the U.S., tighter antitrust oversight appears to be already taking shape. On Oct. 20, the U.S. Justice Department sued Google for using anticompetitive practices to maintain its dominance over search and search advertising. And many Democrats in Congress support legislation to break up tech monopolies.

Separate questions are swirling about what role tech giants should play in controlling misinformation online, and Republican allegations that the firms have an anti-conservative bias. The Senate Commerce Committee has been considering whether changes are needed to a 1996 provision that protects internet companies from liability for what people say on their

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