Morning Consult Tech: Meta to Reinstate Trump’s Facebook, Instagram Accounts


Essential tech industry news & intel to start your day.
January 26, 2023
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Today’s Top News

  • Meta Platforms Inc. will reinstate former President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts “in coming weeks,” according to Nick Clegg, the company’s president of global affairs. The ruling, which follows Twitter’s decision to similarly reinstate Trump’s account earlier this year, will end a two-year suspension that locked Trump out of the platforms for his role in the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. (Axios)
  • International Business Machines Corp. plans to lay off 3,900 employees, which would eliminate about 1.5% of its global workforce, according to Chief Financial Officer James Kavanaugh. The layoffs, which are part of a spate of cuts within the tech sector in recent months, are expected to largely affect workers who stayed with the company after IBM spun off IT service firm Kyndryl Holdings Inc. and medical research company Merative. (Bloomberg)
  • Facing $13 billion in debt from his acquisition of Twitter Inc. late last year, Elon Musk has reportedly sought to sell up to $3 billion in Twitter shares to new investors, according to people familiar with the matter. Conversations around the equity raise started in December and continue as Twitter struggles to increase revenue despite significant cuts to the company’s workforce. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • The United Kingdom’s competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority, has started its investigation into U.S. chipmaker Broadcom Inc.’s $61 billion acquisition of cloud-computing firm VMware Inc. to determine if the merger of the firms will harm British businesses. The U.K. probe into the 2022 takeover, which is also being reviewed by regulators at the European Union and the Federal Trade Commission, will conclude March 22. (Reuters)


Happening today: 

  • Intel Corp. will report fourth quarter earnings.
  • R Street will host a virtual event on “The Future of Data Privacy and Security in the 118th Congress” that will feature Alexandra Reeve Givens, the president and chief executive of the Center for Democracy and Technology.
  • The Federal Communications Commission will host its monthly open commission meeting Thursday. Planned topics include ensuring 988 reliability and resiliency, and changes to the Rural Health Care Telecommunications Program.
  • The Mercatus Center will host its second annual Antitrust Forum, which will include a number of conversations about Federal Trade Commission policymaking, antitrust enforcement and other related topics. FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson (R) will appear for a fireside chat titled “The Future of the FTC.”
  • The American Bar Association will host a roundtable discussion titled “2023 Antitrust Women.Connected Gender Competition Roundtable” that will feature FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter (D).

Chart Review


What Else You Need to Know


Elon Musk’s Epic Quest for LOLs Is Only Hurting Tesla

Max Chafkin and Dana Hull, Bloomberg Businessweek

If Elon Musk has a tragic flaw, it isn’t his temper, or his treatment of underlings, or his refusal to follow securities laws. Musk’s tragic flaw is his inability to accept that he’s extremely, painfully unfunny.


‘Everything should be on the table’: activists close in on Salesforce

Ortenca Aliaj et al., Financial Times

Marc Benioff helped build software group into a Silicon Valley giant but shareholders are agitating for change.


U.S. FAA revokes access to system for contractors involved in computer outage

David Shepardson, Reuters

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told lawmakers on Wednesday that it had revoked access to a pilot messaging database to contractor personnel involved in a file deletion that led to the first nationwide groundstop since 2001.

Antitrust and Competition

Judge Leonie Brinkema named to oversee U.S. lawsuit against Google

Diane Bartz, Reuters

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema, one of the judges who stayed then-President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting immigration into the United States, has been named to oversee the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc’s Google over its alleged abuse of dominance in online advertising technology.


Google Girds for Second Antitrust Battle as DOJ Targets Its Ads Business

Miles Kruppa, The Wall Street Journal

The latest U.S. lawsuit against Google compounds the legal issues the company faces worldwide while broadening the scope of the government’s allegations around the tech giant’s online advertising business.


Google to make changes to Android business terms in India after antitrust blow

Manish Singh, TechCrunch

Google is revising its business agreements with phonemakers and other partners in India and making a series of other changes in the South Asian market to comply with the local antitrust watchdog’s directions in a major shift that could invite regulators in other regions to make similar suggestions.


Microsoft set to face EU antitrust probe over video calls

Samuel Stolton, Politico

European Union antitrust enforcers are planning to open an antitrust probe into Microsoft over its video and messaging service Teams, four people familiar with the matter told POLITICO.


How Amazon turned small businesses into “day traders”

Louise Matsakis, Semafor

Amazon has radically transformed small businesses in both the U.S. and China, making them dependent on the e-commerce giant while also obscuring their existence, according to a new report published Wednesday by Data & Society.

Artificial Intelligence/Automation

How will Google solve its AI conundrum?

Richard Waters and Madhumita Murgia, Financial Times

Microsoft throws down direct challenge to search giant with multibillion dollar investment in OpenAI.


ChatGPT can’t be credited as an author, says world’s largest academic publisher

James Vincent, The Verge

Springer Nature, the world’s largest academic publisher, has clarified its policies on the use of AI writing tools in scientific papers.


Professors Turn to ChatGPT to Teach Students a Lesson

Douglas Belkin, The Wall Street Journal

Last month a professor at Weber State University in Utah asked a new artificial-intelligence chatbot to write a tweet in his voice.


Microsoft Plans Security Features, Wider Release for Its OpenAI-Powered Coding Tool

Aaron Holmes, The Information

ChatGPT has generated headlines and hype since its release last year, with its humanlike responses to written prompts. But the business impact of the technology behind the chatbot may first emerge in a different arena: software development.


After inking its OpenAI deal, Shutterstock rolls out a generative AI toolkit to create images based on text prompts

Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch

When Shutterstock and OpenAI announced a partnership to help develop OpenAI’s Dall-E 2 artificial intelligence image-generating platform with Shutterstock libraries to train and feed the algorithm, the stock photo and media giant also hinted that it would soon be bringing its own generative AI tools to users.


CNET found errors in more than half of its AI-written stories

Mia Sato and Emma Roth, The Verge

CNET issued corrections on 41 of the 77 stories the outlet published that were written using an AI tool.


DoNotPay chickens out on its courtroom AI chatbot stunt

Emma Roth, The Verge

DoNotPay isn’t bringing its robot lawyer to the courtroom anytime soon. Joshua Browder, the creator and CEO of DoNotPay, announced on Twitter that the company is “postponing our court case and sticking to consumer rights” after receiving threats from “State Bar prosecutors” about the potential legality of the stunt.

Telecom, Wireless and Internet Access

FCC Seeks Stories About Broadband Access Discrimination

John Eggerton, NextTV

The FCC is asking consumers for anecdotal evidence of their “challenges” with trying to get access to broadband as the regulator looks to lower barriers to access by historically “unserved and underserved” communities.

Mobile Technology

Smartphone sales are so bad even the holidays couldn’t help, says IDC

Tom Warren, The Verge

Smartphone shipments have dropped nearly 20 percent year-over-year during the recent holiday period, as consumer demand softens amid inflation and economic uncertainties.


AT&T Earnings Show Wireless Customer Gains, $25 Billion Charge on Landlines

Will Feuer, The Wall Street Journal

AT&T Inc. added subscribers for its core wireless business in its latest quarter, and the company said it plans to keep spending this year on the build-out of 5G infrastructure and the fiber network.


Apple beefs up smartphone services in ‘silent war’ against Google

Patrick McGee, Financial Times

iPhone-maker enhances maps, search and online advertising on iOS to challenge rival Android system.

Cybersecurity and Privacy

Leaked Police Files Offer Clues on How Cops Use Data Firms

Jack Gillum, Bloomberg

Data allegedly from ODIN Intelligence illuminates its software and customers. The company says it’s working with law enforcement to investigate.


Data breach notices become more opaque, leaving consumers in the dark

Tonya Riley, CyberScoop

Data breach disclosures that included specific details for consumers dropped dramatically in 2022, according to the most recent data from the Identity Theft Resource Center.


A network of knockoff apparel stores exposed 330,000 customer credit cards

Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

If you recently made a purchase from an overseas online store selling knockoff clothes and goods, there’s a chance your credit card number and personal information were exposed.

Social Media and Content Moderation

Meta’s Trump invite hangs a cloud over Truth Social

Sara Fischer, Axios

In reinstating former President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, Meta is also pushing Trump toward a moment of decision about the fate of his financially troubled social media app, Truth Social.


Meta advertisers brush off Trump’s potential return

Sheila Dang and Katie Paul, Reuters

Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s potential return to Meta Platform’s Facebook and Instagram is unlikely to change how advertisers spend money with the world’s second-largest digital ad company, ad agency executives said.


TikTok’s New Defense in Washington: Going on the Offense

Cecila Kang et al., The New York Times

Last week, TikTok’s chief executive, Shou Zi Chew, met with several influential think tanks and public interest groups in Washington, sharing details on how his company plans to prevent data on American users from ever leaving the United States.


Musk’s Twitter Reinstates Hindu Nationalist Accounts That Disparage Muslims

Newley Purnell, The Wall Street Journal

Twitter Inc. under Elon Musk has reinstated several previously suspended Hindu nationalist accounts that were popular in India, one of its largest markets by users, with human-rights groups saying the move has spurred a resurgence of divisive religious material on the platform.


FBI Examines Snapchat’s Role in Fentanyl Poisoning Deaths

Olivia Carville, Bloomberg

Federal agencies are questioning Snapchat’s role in the spread and sale of fentanyl-laced pills in the US as part of a broader probe into the deadly counterfeit drugs crisis.


Twitter, ad verification firms team up to give advertisers tweet-level analysis

Nivedita Balu and Mrinmay Dey, Reuters

Twitter Inc will team up with digital ad verification companies Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify Holdings Inc to provide advertisers tweet-level analysis on content appearing next to their ads, the companies said on Wednesday.


New Twitter Whistleblower Says Privacy Lapses Continued Into Musk Era

Katrina Manson, Bloomberg

A new whistleblower has told Congress that Twitter Inc. continued to violate privacy and data security protections into the Elon Musk era, potentially risking legal action including hefty penalties.


Brazil Justice Moraes fines Telegram for not complying with court order

Ricardo Brito, Reuters

Brazil’s Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes fined on Wednesday messaging app Telegram for failing to comply with a court order that called for the suspension of accounts of supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro.


Senator Advocates a Transparency-Based Approach to Social Media Moderation

Edward Graham, Nextgov

Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., said such transparency about government moderation requests “does seem to be the best move” for promoting free speech online.


Meta Pays BuzzFeed Millions to Generate Creator Content for Facebook and Instagram

Jessica Toonkel and Alexandra Bruell, The Wall Street Journal

Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. is paying BuzzFeed Inc. millions of dollars as part of an effort to bring more creators to the social-media giant’s platforms, according to people familiar with the situation.

Tech Workforce

3 of Carta’s top executives filed complaints about gender discrimination and retaliation in a matter of months

Darius Rafieyan, Insider Premium

New details have emerged in the multifront legal battle between former employees and Carta, a platform for startups and investors to track company ownership.


Lam Research to Cut 7% of Workforce After Weak Forecast

Ian King, Bloomberg

Lam Research Corp., one of the three biggest providers of chip-manufacturing equipment in the US, is cutting about 7% of its workforce to reduce expenses in a declining market.

Morning Consult