Facebook, Google and Twitter C.E.O.s to Face Lawmakers Again: Live Updates

This is what you need to know:.

Jack Dorsey, left, CEO of Twitter; Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google; and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, speak on the 25th. March before the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee…Lm Otero Jose Luis Magana/Associate Press

The leaders of Facebook, Google and Twitter will face skeptical lawmakers again next month when a Congressional committee questions them about the spread of misinformation on their platforms.

Parliament’s Energy and Commerce Committee said Thursday that it would take up the issue on the 25th. Auditions will be held in March with Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook, Sundar Pichai at Google and Jack Dorsey at Twitter.

The committee is studying the future of Section 230 of the Decency in Communications Act, a 1996 law that protects platforms from legal action over much of the content published by their users. The attack on the Capitol on the 6th. The January meeting, attended by individuals with ties to QAnon and other widespread online conspiracy theorists, revived concerns that the law allows platforms to be lax in dealing with extremist content.

Big Tech has too long failed to acknowledge the role it has played in inciting and disseminating clearly false information to an online audience, the committee’s Democratic panel of experts said in a statement. Industry self-regulation has failed.

Andy Stone, a spokesman for Facebook, said the company believes it’s time to adjust the rules of the internet, and this hearing should be another important step in that process.

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday announced its own hearing on the technology industry. She said she will hold several hearings on how antitrust laws should be modified to take into account the power of the technology giants. The committee interviewed CEOs before completing a lengthy investigation into companies’ activities last year.

The first hearing before the Judiciary Committee is on Wednesday.

Zoe’s all-electric Reno. Renault CEO Luca de Meo unveiled a plan last month to return the automaker to profitability…Samuel Zeller for the New York Times

French carmaker Renault announced a loss of 8 billion euros, or $9.7 billion, for 2020 due to the pandemic, but the company said it had benefited by the end of the year.

Most of the annual loss is due to Renault’s stake in its ailing partner Nissan. The Japanese carmaker’s losses amounted to 5 billion euros, Renault said. In addition, Renault’s passenger car sales fell 20% from the previous year to less than three million vehicles.

After the first half of the year, which was marked by Covid-19, the group experienced a significant turnaround in its performance in the second half, Renault CEO Luca de Meo said in a press release, without giving figures. He said 2021 will be a difficult year, given the unknowns of the healthcare crisis and shortages in the supply of electronic components.

By 2021, the shortage of semiconductors, a problem for almost all automakers, could reduce production by as many as 100,000 cars, Renault said.

Mr de Meo, who was appointed CEO of Renault in July last year, announced plans to return to profitability, including reducing production capacity, selling fewer models and expanding parts exchange between cars to simplify production.

A semi-trailer is stuck in ice and snow in Killeen, Texas. The winter storms that plagued the South and Midwest had an impact on oil and natural gas futures prices. Credit…Joe Redl/Getty Images.


  • Oil futures are trending down after rising early in the week, while natural gas is rising for the day. Both were hit by severe winter storms that left millions of people in Texas without power this week.
  • West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil fell 2% to $59.35 a barrel on Friday. The price of oil rose 6% from Friday to Wednesday as oil production was hampered by weather conditions.
  • Natural gas futures contracts, boosted by storms, have had ups and downs in recent days. They first fell 3% on Friday, before recovering and eventually gaining nearly 1% from Thursday’s close. They are still higher than last week.
  • News that the Biden administration is proposing to resume talks on restoring a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program was seen as pressure on oil prices. The lifting of sanctions on Iran could allow it to sell more oil on the world market. Brent, the international benchmark, fell 1.2% to just above $63 a barrel on Friday.

Equity markets

  • Wall Street started trading on Friday. The S&P 500 rose 0.2% after falling 0.4% on Thursday, ending four consecutive days of gains.
  • Uber shares rose 0.5% after the UK Supreme Court ruled that the company’s drivers should be classified as employees entitled to minimum wage and holiday pay. The case is being closely monitored because of its impact on the economy of the country concerned.
  • European markets were generally higher: The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.5% and the FTSE 100 in the UK rose 0.2%. The close of the Asian markets was mixed: Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.7%, while China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.6%.

Economic data

  • Markit’s February purchasing managers’ index data revealed a number of trends in Europe. France’s total production index fell to its lowest level in three months, reflecting the pressure on business activity from the recent freeze. In Germany, the composite index rose, supported by an export-led recovery in manufacturing.
  • Retail sales in Britain fell 8.2% in January from the previous month, government data show. However, the drop was smaller than expected and less significant than the 22% drop in April, when the UK began a lockout earlier. The Office for National Statistics indicates that part of this increase is likely due to businesses learning to adapt to blockchain and the increase in online and click and collect sales.

Manessa Grady and her sons Zachariah, 8, left, and Noah, 9, are among the millions of powerless Texans this week. linked to Tamir Kalifa’s credit for the New York Times.

In California, fires and heat waves have forced utilities to cut power to millions of homes and businesses in recent years. Now Texas is learning that deadly winter storms and extreme cold can do the same.

Bill Magness, president and chief executive officer of the Texas Electric Reliability Council, the state’s grid operator, said Thursday that Texas experienced catastrophic power outages of seconds and minutes this week when rolling blackouts were used to control the flow of electricity.

The country’s two largest states have approached their energy needs in very different ways: Texas has aggressively deregulated the market and let the free market take its course, while California has introduced environmental regulations. However, both states face the same troubling reality: They may not be prepared to cope with the increasingly frequent and devastating natural disasters caused by climate change.

Power outages in Texas and California have shown that power plants can become stressed and shut down due to these extreme cold and warm periods, which climatologists predict will become more frequent as greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increase.

The problems in Texas and California bring to the forefront the challenge for the Biden administration to modernize the electric system so that it is fully functional with wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and other zero-emission technologies by 2035 – a goal President Biden set for himself in the 2020 campaign.

The federal government and utilities may have to spend trillions of dollars to strengthen the power grid against the threat of climate change and to move away from fossil fuels, which are responsible for global warming. These are not new ideas. Scientists have long warned that regional power grids in the U.S. are increasingly strained and in need of a major upgrade.

We really need to change our paradigm, especially that of public services, because they become much more vulnerable to natural disasters, said Najmedin Meshkati, professor of engineering at the University of Southern California, about the power outages in Texas and California. You literally have to always think of the worst case scenario, because the worst case scenario will happen.





Congressman calls Robinhold hotline and gets voicemail

After informing the House Financial Services Committee of the suicide of Robin Hood user Alex Kearns, who died believing he had lost $730,000 through a brokerage application, Representative Sean Kasten called the helpline.

In June 2020, 20-year-old Alex Kearns of Naperville, Illinois, committed suicide, largely due to a flaw in the Robinholding system. The mistake consisted of activating the application, which stated that he owed $730,000 that he did not have because of option positions he thought were cancelled but did not show up. He called the hotline. As I said, the hotline was obviously not busy. He sent several panic letters – three to be exact – and got no response. He eventually received a response to the emails stating that his position was indeed covered. But by then it was too late, because he committed suicide. He’s a man in his 20s. Under Illinois law, he was not allowed to buy beer, but he was allowed to take positions and take risks worth $730,000 that he could not cover with cash. Your mission, Mr. Tenev, is to democratize finance. But the history of financial regulation is about protecting people like Alex Kearns from the system. As the old joke goes: If you are playing poker and you can’t tell who the fish are at the table, you should leave the table, because you are probably a fish. And there is an inherent tension in your business model between democratizing finance, which is a noble calling, and being the conduit through which fish are fed to sharks. So I’m nervous. I think I have a presentation. And I’ll call your hotline. Let’s call out the time we have left and listen before I hear on the other end of the phone. Voicemail: Thanks for calling Robinier. Visit us at robinhood.com or our application for help. If you have an urgent business need, make sure you provide details when you contact us. Thank you, have a nice day.

After testifying before the House Financial Services Committee about the suicide of Robin Hood user Alex Kearns, who died after he thought he had lost $730,000 through a brokerage application, Assemblyman Sean Kasten called his CreditCredit helpline through C-Span.

Executives from Robinhood, Reddit, Citadel and Melvin Capital Management were among the witnesses to GameStop’s business woes during Thursday’s hearing before the House Financial Services and Oversight Committee.

  • Robinvest CEO Vlad Tenev was approached by Democrats and Republicans and had to answer more than half of the lawmakers’ questions. I like your company because, if managed properly, it offers investment opportunities to people who are currently excluded from the markets for one reason or another, said Representative Anthony Gonzalez, a Republican from Ohio. He went on to say: At the same time, I think the flaw in your business model has been clearly brought out.
  • Congressman Sean Kasten, Democrat from Illinois, responded to a pointed question from Mr. Tenew in which he told the story of a 20-year-old student who committed suicide last summer because he thought he had lost more than $700,000 by calling the Robinhood hotline and playing a short message for all to hear, after which the call was cut off. New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Robinhood’s decisions hurt customers and accused it of passing on hidden costs to its customers.
  • Keith Gill, known on YouTube as Roaring Kitty, testified that his interest in the company was based on his belief that the market was undervaluing the physical retailer. His statement included ironic references – such as a red bracelet he often wears with an image of a kitten visible over his shoulder and the statement I’m not a cat – to meme culture on the Internet.
  • Difficult questions were asked of Kenneth C. Griffin, the head of the Citadel. Members of Congress have raised skeptical questions about Citadel’s practice of paying to trade against customers at online brokerages like Robin Hood. Mr. Griffin tried to explain the intricacies of the job, but was often interrupted. Our people are tired of bailing you out when you screw up and play the pension fund. And that’s exactly what could happen any day now, said Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat.

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