Best Reads for Casual Friday: Big Tech Businesses Gets Political

You’ve made it to Friday. Time to curl up in your cubicle, pop open one of these in-depth, entertaining reads, and catch up on some of what you missed during a busy week.

This week we’re taking a look at all the political stories that are coming out of the tech world. And given the current political environment, there’s a cornucopia from which to choose. Enjoy.

How to Combat China’s Rise in Tech: Federal Spending, Not Tariffs
The New York Times
Make love, not tariffs. (Did I just repeat the NYT’s headline joke? Hm.) A thoughtful column on why more government planning and investment in technology, like China has been doing, might actually be a better course of action for the U.S. than starting a trade war.

On a Big Story Like the Helsinki Trump/Putin Summit, Google News’ Algorithm Isn’t Up to the Task
Let’s say you wanted to get up to speed on what actually went down with Trump and Putin. If you looked on Google for the top articles, like they did at Nieman, you got one primary source: Fox News.

E.U. Slaps $5B Antitrust Fine on Google; Trump Blasts Back With Tweet
President Trump doesn’t take the big antitrust fine against Google kindly, and sends the E.U. a message—via his favorite communication platform

Zuckerberg: The Recode Interview and Congratulations, Mr. President: Zuckerberg Secretly Called Trump After The Election
BuzzFeed News
First, it’s a sprawling, must-read interview with Mark Zuckerberg on how he views Facebook’s handling (or mishandling) of its content, including Holocaust deniers and information said to incite violence, and basically everything else—that is, except diversity. (His comments about the Holocaust caused him to later clarify his intent, too.) Following that is a report by BuzzFeed News that Zuckerberg called Trump after winning the election and praised the campaign’s use of the social media network.

The Biggest Spender of Political Ads on Facebook? President Trump
The New York Times
Speaking of the 2016 election, President Trump has been the biggest Facebook ad spender since May of this year, spending $274,000 on digital campaigns. Advertisements purchased by Trump and his poitical action committee have reportedly gotten 37 million views during that stretch.

New York City Looks to Crack Down on Airbnb Amid Housing Crisis
The New York Times
The New York City Council passes legislation that would require Airbnb and HomeAway hosts to share additional information with a city enforcement agency, in hopes of better regulating the costly temporary rental economy there.

Uber Faces Federal Investigation Over Alleged Gender Discrimination
The Wall Street Journal
“Uber Technologies Inc. is being investigated by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after a complaint about gender inequity,” The Journal reports.

New Ethics Code Urges Tech Firms and Coders To Avoid Harming Society
Do no harm, and other gems, now finally apply to tech firms!

Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You — And It Could Raise Your Rates
ProPublica and NPR
Got a great rate on your health insurance? No? Well, insurers are gathering data about consumers, and that’s probably not going to be great news for you.

States Slow to Prepare for Hacking Threats

Social Media Companies Defend Filtering Practices Before Congress

Top Voting Machine Vendor Admits It Installed Remote-Access Software on Systems Sold to States

Communist-Run Cuba Starts Rolling Out Internet on Mobile Phones

Leaked Documents Show Facebook’s ‘Threshold’ for Deleting Pages and Groups

And a few other unrelated good ones:

$800 Million Says a Self-Driving Car Looks Like This

Scoop: Inside Google’s Venture Capital “Machine”

How Google’s Safe Browsing Helped Build a More Secure Web

The False Tale of Amazon’s Industry-Conquering Juggernaut
Don’t be afraid of the big bad Amazon—the company probably won’t disrupt anything else, like it did the publishing market, anytime soon, Wired’s Felix Salmon says.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at [email protected] Follow @xconholley

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