When people lose faith in institutions, they gravitate to misinformation. It’s time to address the trust vacuum.

The following is a selection from Big Technology, a newsletter by Alex Kantrowitz. To get it in your inbox each week, you can sign up here.

This week, I tried to hold two stories in my head at once. The first was President Biden’s remark that Facebook was “killing people” by allowing vaccine misinformation to spread. The second was the newly revealed detail that Curtis Wright, the FDA director who oversaw the agency’s approval of OxyContin, went on to work for the opioid’s manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, for an annual salary of approximately $400,000.

The two stories together remind that misinformation…


If you make stuff for the internet, and are good at it, you are very happy right now.

Unsplash

It’s an absolutely incredible moment to be creating stuff online.

After long neglecting people who create content for their products, the tech platforms are showering them with money, support, and opportunity. Facebook just pledged $1 billion to creators by 2022. TikTok is on its way there. YouTube, Pinterest, and others are promising millions of their own. Snapchat wouldn’t return creators’ calls a few years ago; now, it’s paying them millions per month.

We’re seeing a stark — but inevitable — shift in the conventional belief that user-generated content was enough to fill social platforms’ feeds, and keep them vibrant. It…


“Are you trying to fucking destroy the company?” Bill Gates asked former board member Maria Klawe when she pushed for diversity.

For Maria Klawe, the news was shocking but not surprising. In fall 2015, after serving on Microsoft’s board for more than six years, and advocating for fair pay and representation for women at the company, she was getting pushed out. The board told her it was looking for “more conventional” women, with business backgrounds, so it was time for her to go.

“I felt completely silenced and dismissed,” Klawe told me earlier this week. “I had put a lot of effort into Microsoft; I really loved the company.”

Less than a year earlier, Klawe, a computer scientist and president of…


Is social media censoring conservatives? The charge factors in the antitrust debate, so some context would be nice.

The following is an update from Big Technology, a newsletter by Alex Kantrowitz. To get it in your inbox each week, you can sign up here.

I’m going to try to write about conservative allegations of social media bias with a bit of context today. Admittedly, this is probably a fool’s errand since the question seems settled in almost everyone’s minds. But since the charge is animating Republican lawmakers’ response to the Big Tech antitrust movement in Congress, it’s worth attempting to address it.

Both sides of the political spectrum seem to have locked in views here. To liberals, “Big…


A vaguely-named influence shop does Big Tech’s heavy lifting

As the Big Tech antitrust debate unfolds in public, there’s a name that seems to keep popping up: the Chamber of Progress.

There it was earlier this week, leading a group of 13 organizations — almost all funded by Big Tech — in opposition to the antitrust bills circulating through Congress. A few days later, it released a sponsored poll revealing voter skepticism around the bills. The Chamber’s founder and CEO, Adam Kovacevich, has become a dial-a-quote for reporters, always happy to make Big Tech’s case as the companies stay above the fray. …


Congress wants to stop most Big Tech acquisitions. But that won’t necessarily increase competition.

Tony Stoddard / Unsplash

The following is an update from Big Technology, a newsletter by Alex Kantrowitz. To get it in your inbox each week, you can sign up here.

When writing antitrust legislation, you want to be precise. The key is to fire a well-guided missile to flatten the competitive landscape, not a dumb rocket that causes collateral damage.

Well, in its ambitious package of Big Tech antitrust legislation, Congress may have shot a dumb rocket. The Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, one of the five bills introduced last week, would effectively put an end to the tech giants’ ability to make acquisitions…


Here’s the full text of the five bills aimed at the heart of the tech giants

Darren Halstead / Unsplash

The following is an update from Big Technology, a newsletter by Alex Kantrowitz. To get it in your inbox each week, you can sign up here.

On Friday, Congress introduced five bills meant to combat Big Tech’s anti-competitive practices.

If signed into law, the bills would usher in a new era of anti-trust law, one updated for an age when giant tech platforms rule the economy — not railroads.

The bills address everything from the tech platforms’ self-dealing, to the way they acquire companies…


Big Technology obtained the five draft bills currently circulating around the House of Representatives that target Big Tech. If they’re signed into law, it will be bad news for the tech giants.

The following is a selection from Big Technology, a newsletter by Alex Kantrowitz. To get it in your inbox each week, you can sign up here.

For years, Big Tech crushed the competition with relative impunity, squeezing every dollar from would-be rivals to reach unprecedented valuations. And while their anti-competitive practices may well continue, there are now five draft bills circulating in the House of Representatives that represent the biggest threat ever to their standard method of doing business.

The draft bills, which Big Technology obtained in full, contain just about everything Big Tech’s detractors have hoped for on the…


Callaghan joins Big Technology Podcast to discuss why he left All Gas No Breaks, why his new show is hitting a nerve, and what he’s learned in his travels across the U.S.

Andrew Callaghan is the force behind All Gas No Breaks, a hit YouTube show that featured Callaghan putting a mic in front of people and just… letting them talk.

Callaghan’s recently gone independent, taking his unique interviewing style to a new home, Channel 5 with Andrew Callaghan, and building a substantial following there.

Callaghan joins Big Technology Podcast to discuss why his alternative to traditional news is hitting a nerve, what he’s learned about the American people from his travels across the country, and the factors that led to his decision to strike out on his own.

You can subscribe to Big Technology Podcast, on…

Apple…


Definitiveness is one of Twitter’s core characteristics. Should it be?

Visuals on Unsplash

The following is a selection from Big Technology, a newsletter by Alex Kantrowitz. To get it in your inbox each week, you can sign up here.

Twitter is a game played on certainty, where nuance goes to die. The tweets with absolutist statements tend to collect the most retweets, no matter how loose their relationship with reality. And since retweets are the Twitter game’s points — used for reach, influence, and earning potential — people tend to be as definitive as possible on the service, even under the most uncertain of circumstances.

Because Twitter rewards taking a stance, doing so…

Alex Kantrowitz

Silicon Valley-based journalist covering Big Tech and society. Subscribe to my newsletter here: https://bigtechnology.substack.com.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store