Politics Hillicon Valley — Presented by Ericsson — Instagram 'pausing' kid-targeted plan
Hillicon Valley: Federal regulators investigating Tesla Autopilot crashes | Afghan broadcasters for US government radio fear Taliban backlash | Anonymous messaging app Yik Yak returns
Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill's newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. If you haven't already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter by clicking HERE. Happy Monday! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@millsrodrigo) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage. Tesla is in deep water after a series of crashes with emergency vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officially launched a probe into the electric car company on Monday.
Today is Monday. Welcome to Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Subscribe here: .
Facebook said it is pausing plans to launch its Instagram for kids under 13 after fierce pushback on the plan, but critics say the platform isn't going far enough and should forgo the plan altogether. The company will face more questions on the impact of the platform on kids later this week at a Senate Commerce Consumer Protection subcommittee hearing.
Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Democrats press FTC to resolve data privacy 'crisis'
Today is Monday. Welcome to Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Both chambers of Congress returned from summer recess with a bang this week, with a group of Senate Democrats sending out a letter to the Federal Trade Commission urging the agency to take action on data privacy, while a key House Democrat criticized Facebook for allegedly not protecting users.Away from Capitol Hill, agriculture group New Cooperative was hit by a ransomware attack over the weekend, with the hackers reportedly demanding $5.
Meanwhile, two senators introduced legislation intended to increase global cryptocurrency oversight, while TikTok hit a new user high.
Follow The Hill's cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo () and Rebecca Klar (), for more coverage.
Let's jump in.
Facebook pumps the brakes
Instagram announced Monday that it is pausing plans to launch a version of the photo-sharing app targeted for children under the age of 13 following leaked internal reports showing the platform's effect on the mental health of young users.
Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, wrote in a blog post that delaying the new version of the app is not an acknowledgement that the plan is a bad idea.
California Mojave Desert Town of 1,700 People Could Be Left Dry in Water War
A California desert town could run out of water amid a water battle sparked by state legislation meant to control groundwater usage.The town, which lacks its own clean source of water, has been getting its water from wells located 30 miles away in the Indian Wells Valley for decades, The Los Angeles Times reported.
"The reality is that kids are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is far better for parents than where we are today," he explained.
Backlash building: The project, dubbed "Instagram Kids," had already been criticized by lawmakers and privacy groups before The Wall Street Journal's explosive reporting on internal Facebook research.
The Journal obtained company slides showing that, among other things, Instagram made one-third of teen girls feel worse about their bodies.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, has pushed back strongly on the Journal's characterization of its research, publishing a blog post Sunday with the slide upon which that conclusion was based.
Lawmakers unsatisfied: Four Democratic legislators who have been critical of Instagram Kids in the past slammed Monday's delay as insufficient.
Instagram 'pausing' kid-targeted plan
Instagram announced Monday that it is pausing plans to launch a version of the photo-sharing app targeted for children under the age of 13 following leaked internal reports showing the platform's impact on the mental health of young users.Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, wrote in a blog post that delaying the new version of the app is not an acknowledgement that the plan is a bad idea."The reality is that kids are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is far better for parents than where we are today," he explained.
"Facebook has completely forfeited the benefit of the doubt when it comes to protecting young people online and it must completely abandon this project," Sens. Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal and Reps. Kathy Castor and Lori Trahan said in a joint statement.
A MESSAGE FROM ERICSSON
New cryptocurrency bill on the block
Sens. (D-N.H.) and (R-Iowa) introduced legislation Monday intended to increase oversight of cryptocurrency mining overseas.
Do some digging: The would require the Treasury Department to compile and submit to Congress a report on how nations are using and mining cryptocurrency, along with how much cryptocurrency has been mined since 2016 within both the U.S. and countries including China.
In addition, Treasury would be required to examine the impact of cryptocurrency mining on supply chains for critical resources such as semiconductors, the global shortage of which has caused major disruptions in production for products including automobiles.
Hillicon Valley — Presented by Ericsson — Senators gear up for Facebook hearing
Today is Wednesday. Welcome to Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Facebook's head of global safety will face off with members of the Senate Commerce consumer protection subcommittee on Thursday as part of the panel's first in a series of hearings focused on kids' safety. As criticism of the tech giant heats up following recent bombshell reports, the panel will convene again next week to hear testimony from a Facebook whistleblower.
"In order to strengthen U.S. competitiveness, our government must get a better handle on the role that cryptocurrency is playing in the global economy and how it is being leveraged by other countries," Hassan said in a statement Monday. "I'm glad to partner across the aisle with Senator Ernst to help ensure that the Treasury Department stays on top of the use of cryptocurrency, including how it can impact our supply chains," she added.
Concerns around cryptocurrency regulation have increased on Capitol Hill in recent months, with debate over cryptocurrency-related amendments the Senate's $1 trillion infrastructure package in August.
Ransomware concerns: Cryptocurrency markets have also come under scrutiny due to escalating ransomware attacks, with cybercriminals often using these markets to facilitate payments from victims.
GO BIG OR GO HOME
Popular video-sharing app TikTok has hit 1 billion monthly active users around the world, the company said Monday.
"TikTok has become a beloved part of life for people around the world because of the creativity and authenticity of our creators. Our global community is remarkable in its ability to reach millions of people, across generations," the company said in .
Hillicon Valley — Presented by Ericsson — Welcome to Cybersecurity Awareness Month
Today is Friday. Welcome to Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Hope everyone remembered to wake Billie Joe Armstrong up this morning, it's Cyber Month! President Biden kicked off the festivities Friday in a statement touting his administration's work to secure the nation against cybersecurity threats. The vote of confidence, and the awareness month, come amid a steep rise in major hacks and other cybersecurity incidents.
The short-form video app has risen sharply in popularity in the last few years, spawning competing products from other platforms.
Facebook-owned Instagram launched its Reels features, YouTube has created Shorts, and Snapchat released Spotlight - each offering a similar feature to TikTok allowing users to create short videos.
A MESSAGE FROM ERICSSON
BITS AND PIECES
An op-ed to chew on:
Notable links from around the web:
Bitcoin miners align with , alarming environmentalists (NBC News / Olivia Solon)
How Scammers Are on Amazon's Merch Store (Motherboard / Joseph Cox)
On the Internet, We're (The New Yorker / Chris Hayes)
Amazon, the Postal Service, and the (The Drift / Jake Bittle)
Microsoft to allow it to deploy emergency temporary fixes (The Record / Catalin Cimpanu)
One last thing: DeSantis has concerns
Florida Gov. (R) has instructed Secretary of State to investigate Facebook for "alleged election interference."
The investigation follows explosive report entitled The Facebook Files, which said that, among multiple other accusations, some VIP users were exempt from the social media giant's policies during the 2020 election.
"It's no secret that Big Tech censors have long enforced their own rules inconsistently," DeSantis said in a . "If this new report is true, Facebook has violated Florida law to put its thumb on the scale of numerous state and local races. Floridians deserve to know how much this corporate titan has influenced our elections."
DeSantis's release said that, if the Journal's reporting proves to be accurate, Facebook created "a privileged class of speakers and has empowered them to manipulate our elections with impunity."
That's it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill's and pages for the latest news and coverage. We'll see you Tuesday.
Hillicon Valley — Presented by American Edge Project — Facebook experiences widespread outage .
Facebook whistleblower takes the spotlightToday is Tuesday. Welcome to Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Fresh off its Monday outage, Facebook faced bipartisan outrage during a hearing featuring a company whistleblower, Frances Haugen. Lawmakers were largely unified in their fury at Facebook, and are pushing for another hearing with Mark Zuckerberg to probe the company's CEO on questions raised by Haugen's testimony and the documents she revealed.