Morning Consult Tech: Musk’s Twitter Countersuit Reportedly Includes New Claims About Spam Accounts, Ad Base Numbers
 

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August 5, 2022
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  • In his countersuit against Twitter Inc., Elon Musk accused the company of misleading his team and financiers about its true advertising base and its methods for counting bots and spam accounts when he made his proposed acquisition of Twitter, according to a copy of the countersuit obtained by The Washington Post. Musk’s attorneys allege that the share of daily active users who actually see advertisements on the platform is 65 million lower than the company’s estimate of 238 million and that the bulk of ads are shown to fewer than 16 million users. (The Washington Post)
  • A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he plans to set up a vote for the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, though no details were provided about a timeline to bring it to the floor. The development comes after Schumer reportedly told donors recently that he didn’t think the legislation had the votes to break a filibuster in the Senate. (Politico)
  • Bipartisan lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced the Proper Leadership to Align Networks for Broadband Act, which would require the White House to develop a national strategy to “close the digital divide” for broadband service, following a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office that found broadband efforts were “fragmented and overlapping.” (Multichannel News)
  • The Federal Trade Commission has reportedly expanded its investigation into whether Amazon.com Inc. intentionally misled consumers into signing up for its Prime subscription service through ambiguous language and its design for the Prime signup and cancellation process. (Insider Premium)
 

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What Else You Need to Know

General
 

Twitter slams Musk countersuit: ‘Factually inaccurate, legally insufficient, and commercially irrelevant’

Brad Dress, The Hill

Twitter slammed a countersuit Thursday filed by Elon Musk in a Delaware court, calling the claims from the SpaceX and Tesla CEO “factually inaccurate” and “legally insufficient” amid the legal fight over an abandoned acquisition deal.

 

Senate GOP escalates its attack on Google over email spam

Isaac Stanley-Becker, The Washington Post

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of the Republican caucus, is preparing to escalate its attack on Google over the company’s email spam filter, which it blames for recent fundraising disappointments, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.

 

Accurate U.S. Crime Data Demands More State Participation

Alexandra Kelley, Nextgov

Data collection and quality were frequent themes during a Senate Judiciary hearing featuring the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray. 

 

NASA Authorization Act Aims to Strengthen U.S. Space Exploration

Kirsten Errick, Nextgov

Congress passed the first NASA authorization bill in five years when it passed the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America, or CHIPS Act, last week, which extends International Space Station operations and supports NASA’s Artemis missions.

 
Antitrust and Competition
 

Tutanota cries antitrust foul over Microsoft Teams blocking sign-ups for its email users

Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch

Microsoft is being called out for blocking users of the end-to-end encrypted email service Tutanota from registering an account with its cloud-based collaboration platform, Teams, if they try to do that using a Tutanota email address.

 
Artificial Intelligence/Automation
 

Drug Discovery Is About to Get Faster. Thank AI.

Lisa Jarvis, Bloomberg

An advanced machine-learning program from Alphabet’s DeepMind has revealed 200 million proteins — pictures that can speed the search for new medicines.

 

Women are far more skeptical of autonomous cars’ safety, according to a new Pew report

Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

A new report by Pew Research Center Wednesday finds that women are far more skeptical than men that self-driving cars will make our roads and highways safer. The findings suggest a public relations problem that could further slow the emergence of automated vehicles, despite the fact that studies have shown that such vehicles would improve safety.

 
Telecom, Wireless and Internet Access
 

Dish Nears Launch of Mobile Carrier to Take on AT&T, Verizon

Scott Moritz and Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Dish Network Corp. is another step closer to launching its new nationwide wireless service — Boost Infinite — after opening online customer sign-ups on Thursday. 

 

Verizon Joins T-Mobile in Layoffs As Wireless Players Feel the Pressure

Eli Blumenthal, CNET

Verizon has followed rival T-Mobile in laying off staff, CNET has learned. The wireless carrier would not disclose the exact number of employees it was cutting but did confirm the move had occurred. 

 
Mobile Technology
 

Lyft posts record quarter, sees operating profit of $1 billion in 2024

Nivedita Balu, Reuters

Ride-hailing firm Lyft Inc. on Thursday forecast an adjusted operating profit of $1 billion for 2024 after reporting record earnings for the second quarter, betting on strength in the rideshare market as it rebounds from pandemic lows.

 

DoorDash stock pops 18% after company posts record number of orders

Ashley Capoot, CNBC

DoorDash reported second-quarter results after the bell Thursday that beat Wall Street’s revenue expectations but showed a greater loss per share than anticipated.

 

Italy, Intel close to $5 billion deal for chip factory

Giuseppe Fonte and Giulio Piovaccari, Reuters

Italy is close to clinching a deal initially worth $5 billion with Intel to build an advanced semiconductor packaging and assembly plant in the country, two sources briefed on discussions told Reuters on Thursday.

 

Semiconductor giants call for immigration law restructuring

Rebecca Klar, The Hill

Semiconductor giants are pushing for immigration reform that would allow more highly skilled workers to remain in the U.S. after Congress passed a bill to strengthen domestic chip manufacturing.

 

Cooling Semiconductor Sales Heighten Fears of a Global Recession

Sam Kim, Bloomberg

World chip sales growth has decelerated for six straight months — yet another sign the global economy is straining under the weight of rising interest rates and mounting geopolitical risks.

 

Apple App Store has been hosting a scam app that locked advertisers out of their Facebook marketing accounts

Kali Hays, Insider Premium

A search for “Facebook pages manager” in Apple’s app store will turn up several legitimate apps to help people and ad agencies handle advertising on the platform. The results also turn up a new app that looks to be legit but is not. 

 
Cybersecurity and Privacy
 

DOJ now relies on paper for its most sensitive court documents, official says

Suzanne Smalley, CyberScoop

The Justice Department has filed its most sensitive court documents on paper since January 2021 to avoid any chance of a breach or vulnerability in electronic filing systems compromising its high stakes cases.

 

Federal courts left Americans’ data exposed, senator tells Supreme Court chief justice

Tonya Riley, CyberScoop

A top Democratic lawmaker is urging U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to address the federal court system’s decades-long failure to secure Americans’ most sensitive personal information in court filings.

 
Social Media and Content Moderation
 

Facebook Parent Meta Battles Troll Farms, Hackers

Queenie Wong, CNET

Facebook parent Meta said Thursday it pulled down fake accounts from a group of Russian internet trolls that tried to create the appearance of support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

 
Tech Workforce
 

Oracle insiders describe the ‘complete chaos’ from layoffs and restructuring while employees brace for more

Belle Lin et al., Insider Premium

Earlier this week, database giant Oracle began a sizable layoff, potentially impacting thousands of employees globally, sources told Insider.

 

A​ctivision Blizzard will fight new Albany union, even after Microsoft said it would stay neutral

Nick Statt, Protocol

Workers at Blizzard Albany, a subsidiary of game publisher Activision Blizzard formerly known as the studio Vicarious Visions that works on the popular Diablo franchise, said on Wednesday that studio management plans to fight their decision to unionize with the Communications Workers of America.

 

TikTok Pares Pandemic-Era Perks in Return to Office Push

Salvador Rodriguez, The Wall Street Journal

TikTok is getting rid of pandemic-era perks including daily meal stipends for many employees, according to people familiar with the situation, as the company pushes staff to work more from its offices.

 
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
 

How Changing One Law Could Protect Kids From Social Media

Yuval Levin, The New York Times

It’s not that social media has no redeeming value, but on the whole it is no place for kids. If Instagram or TikTok were brick-and-mortar spaces in your neighborhood, you probably would never let even your teenager go to them alone.

 

TSMC Chose the US. Now It Must Handle China

Tim Culpan, Bloomberg

The semiconductor giant displayed customary diplomacy for Pelosi, but the CHIPS Act and a fab in Arizona confirm where its future lies.

 
Morning Consult