By Li Zhou | 10/10/2017 10:00 AM EDT
With help from Margaret Harding McGill
GOOGLE IDENTIFIES RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE EFFORTS - "Google for the first time has uncovered evidence that Russian operatives exploited the company's platforms in an attempt to interfere in the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the company's investigation," The Washington Post reports . "The Silicon Valley giant has found that tens of thousands of dollars were spent on ads by Russian agents who aimed to spread disinformation across Google's many products, which include YouTube, as well as advertising associated with Google search, Gmail, and the company's DoubleClick ad network, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters that have not been made public."
- Parscale chalks up Trump success to Facebook ads: As Congress investigates the role Russia-linked Facebook ads played in President Donald Trump's election win, the Trump campaign's digital director, Brad Parscale, attributed the victory to ads he helped run on that platform. "Twitter is how [Trump] talked to the people, Facebook was going to be how he won," Parscale said during an episode of "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday evening. He described the scale and specificity of the campaign's Facebook operation, which he says featured as many as 100,000 different versions of ads per day. "I can find the 1,500 people in one town that care about infrastructure," he said. "Now that might be a voter that normally votes Democrat." Parscale's remarks speak to the possible influence that Facebook ads had over voters, giving even more weight to Congress' review of 3,000 Russia-linked ads, some of which included pro-Trump messages. We're tracking.
- Add it to the list: "Microsoft is currently reviewing its sales records to determine whether trolls aligned with the Russian government purchased ads on Bing or other company products during the 2016 U.S. presidential race," Recode reports.
- Russia channeled sentiments from real Americans: "A New York Times examination of hundreds of [social media] posts shows that one of the most powerful weapons that Russian agents used to reshape American politics was the anger, passion and misinformation that real Americans were broadcasting across social media platforms."
- And speaking of social media ads: Twitter is barring House Energy and Commerce telecom subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) from advertising her Senate campaign launch video on the service because a line about her efforts to investigate Planned Parenthood was deemed "inflammatory," Pro Campaign's Kevin Robillard reports. Blackburn, who is running to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker , launched her campaign last week with a video proclaiming herself "a hard core, card-carrying Tennessee conservative." In her announcement video, she says: "I fought Planned Parenthood and we stopped the sale of baby body parts. Thank God." Twitter decided the line violated its ad policies, according to an email obtained by POLITICO. A Twitter spokeswoman didn't immediately return a request for comment. The video is still on Twitter, but the campaign is barred from paying to promote it. In response, Blackburn's campaign posted a tweet calling on followers to "stand up to Silicon Valley."
THE WEEK AHEAD IN CONGRESS - The Senate's not in this week, but there's still plenty going on over on the House side. Digital trade is front and center at the House Energy and Commerce consumer protection subcommittee, which will hold a hearing Thursday examining cross-border data flows and U.S. jobs. The issue is a hot topic for NAFTA negotiations, which are expected to target updates on digital trade, including data flows and localization.
- Recess means townhalls: Among the lawmakers we're tracking: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) are holding events today, while Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is huddling with constituents tomorrow. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has scheduled gatherings for Monday, Thursday and Friday of this week, and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) is also due to hit a series of meetings on Wednesday.
- But that's not all: Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune on Friday is hosting a roundtable on cybersecurity with representatives from some of the big names in tech, including Google and Symantec, in his home state of South Dakota. And Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) on Wednesday will be attending a rally in Orange County in support of the DREAM Act (S. 1615 (115)). ICYMI: Sen. Steve Daines held his Montana High-Tech Jobs Summit this past Sunday and Monday, featuring FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn discussing the need for greater broadband access in rural areas, as well as remarks from Microsoft President Brad Smith and Thune.
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FEINSTEIN COMMITS TO RUNNING AGAIN - "Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Monday she will run for reelection next year, ending months of speculation about the 84-year-old's political future amid increasing criticism from progressive activists in deep-blue California," POLITICO's David Siders reports. "I am running for reelection to the Senate. Lots more to do: ending gun violence, combating climate change, access to healthcare. I'm all in!" she announced on Twitter. A simultaneous announcement appeared on her campaign's Facebook page.
PAI TALKS MORNING IN DIGITAL AMERICA - FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will speak tonight at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library about the increasing importance of technology and his efforts to close the digital divide. Expect Pai's speech to connect his vision for U.S. communications policy to Reagan principles, and include a focus on cutting red tape and establishing rules that encourage infrastructure investment.
AIRBNB ACTIVATES HOSTS FOR CA WILDFIRES - Airbnb has activated its disaster relief tool, which helps connect hosts living close to the Northern California wildfires with people seeking shelter. Through the platform, hosts are able to offer housing for free through October 30.
SILICON VALLEY MUST-READS
- Waymo crafts self-driving car campaign: "The self-driving car company, which is a subsidiary of Google's parent company Alphabet, announced today it's launching the 'Let's Talk Self-Driving' campaign to teach the public about basic self-driving car technology and convince them that autonomous vehicles are safe to ride in," Mashable reports.
- IBM ramps up pressure on DACA regulation: "IBM is making an aggressive push for legislation that would help recipients of the Deferred Action For Childhood (DACA) program, an Obama-era program that let almost 700,000 undocumented individuals who were brought to the country as minors stay and work in the U.S.," The Hill reports.
- Amazon grapples with show business challenges: "The Hollywood arm of the online giant is pivoting away from dramas for adults but is struggling to define a new strategy, say people close to the company," The Wall Street Journal reports. "It has alienated high-profile content creators, who say executives have proven incapable-or unwilling-to smooth out conflicts that inevitably crop up during the shooting of a television show."
TRANSITIONS - "Katherine Adams will join Apple as General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Legal and Global Security this year," MacRumors reports. Bruce Sewell is set to retire.
Zuck uses VR to tour post-hurricane Puerto Rico: "Mark Zuckerberg put on an Oculus Rift [on Monday] and used Facebook's new virtual reality platform, Facebook Spaces, to transport himself to Puerto Rico, the Moon, and his house," The Verge reports.
How Sephora is attracting women for its tech jobs: Sixty-two percent of the make-up retailer's tech employees are women, a much higher proportion than most tech companies, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Bookmark those tweets: The company's got a tool in the works for saving posts to read at a later time, BuzzFeed reports.
Tips, comments, suggestions? Send them along via email to our team: Eric Engleman (firstname.lastname@example.org, @ericengleman), Angela Greiling Keane (email@example.com, @agreilingkeane), Nancy Scola (firstname.lastname@example.org, @nancyscola), Margaret Harding McGill ( email@example.com, @margarethmcgill), Ashley Gold (firstname.lastname@example.org, @ashleyrgold), Steven Overly (email@example.com, @stevenoverly), John Hendel (firstname.lastname@example.org, @JohnHendel) and Li Zhou (email@example.com, @liszhou)
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