Silicon Valley Tech News Roundup – September 10th
Apple shares fall after reports Chinese government banned use of iPhones – 9/9
Apple shares fell two days in a row after a report published by the Wall Street Journal revealed the Chinese government ordered central government agency officials to stop using iPhones for work or bring them to office. According to the report, the ban also applies to other foreign-branded devices. A day later, Bloomberg reported the ban might be applicable to workers at government-backed agencies and state-owned companies.
Following the reports, Apple’s stock market valuation fell more than 6% (or by almost $200 billion). China is Apple’s third largest market and has made 18% of the company’s total revenue in the past year. Likewise, Foxconn is Apple’s biggest supplier and where most of Apple’s products are manufactured.
The Chinese government did not release an official statement confirming the reports. Meanwhile, Apple did not reply to a request for comment.
FTC’s Amazon antitrust lawsuit expected this month – 9/7
This week, Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) will file antitrust lawsuit against Amazon this month. It comes as a result of a four-year antitrust investigation.
According to a source, on August 15th, the FTC held a “last rites” meeting with Amazon. The FTC holds these meetings for the company to make its case, and before the commissioners vote on whether the FTC will file the lawsuit. During the meeting, the FTC and representatives for Amazon did not discuss potential remedies and settlements. According to sources, the Amazon legal team stated breaking up the company might result in a price hike and slower shipments.
If successful, the lawsuit might mean Amazon might have to break up its trillion-dollar business. Experts predict the lawsuit will focus on Amazon’s retail marketplace business. It involves pricing by third-party sellers and Fulfillment by Amazon, the company’s logistics program.
Amazon declined to comment on the reports.
Twitter suing State of California over social media content moderation law – 9/9
X (formerly known as Twitter) is suing the State of California over law AB 587. It requires greater transparency from social media companies. The law requires companies to disclose information about their content moderation practices regarding hate speech, misinformation, extremism, and harassment (among other issues).
Twitter filed the lawsuit in federal court in Sacramento and claims the law violates the company’s rights to free speech under the First Amendment and California’s constitution. Twitter’s legal team claims the law is unconstitutional and will result in censorship.
According to the company, the law “has both the purpose and likely effect of pressuring companies such as X Corp. to remove, demonetize, or deprioritize constitutionally-protected speech… The true intent of AB 587 is to pressure social media platforms to ‘eliminate’ certain constitutionally-protected content viewed by the State as problematic.”
Last year, Netchoice, a trade group representing Meta, TikTok, Google, and other tech companies, argued AB 587 would help bad actors bypass security measures and make it harder for social media companies to enforce their rules.
California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta and his office stated they would respond to the lawsuit in court.
TikTok opens its first European data center to ease fears over Chinese state surveillance – 9/7
TikTok opened its first-ever European data center in Dublin as a part of “Project Clover.” The company is migrating European users’ data to its servers in Dublin. Likewise, NCC Group, a European security company, will audit data protection controls and cyber-security. TikTok released a statement saying NCC Group will identify and respond to any “suspicious or anomalous access attempts” and will enhance the app’s security.
It is a part of ongoing efforts by TikTok to alleviate concerns over the company’s links to China. European security officials expressed concerns over the risk that the Chinese government could access European users’ data.
As a part of “Project Clover,” TikTok will open another data center in Ireland and the Hamar region of Norway. TikTok has over 150 million European users, and their data will migrate to one of these data centers.