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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey: Internet companies too powerful

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CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey testifies remotely during the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing ‘Does Section 230’s Sweeping Immunity Enable Big Tech Bad Behavior’, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 28, 2020.

Greg Nash | Pool | Reuters

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said on Wednesday that banning President Donald Trump was the “right decision for Twitter,” but admitted that the internet shouldn’t be controlled by a handful of private companies.

In a series of 13 tweets, Dorsey said that online speech resulting in real world harm requires action even if a ban on an account is divisive “and sets a precedent I feel is dangerous.” He wrote that if a company like Twitter makes a decision that people don’t like, they can go elsewhere, creating an inherent check on its power.

However, the across-the-board bans of Trump following the Capitol riot raised his level of concern.

“This concept was challenged last week when a number of foundational internet tool providers also decided not to host what they found dangerous,” Dorsey wrote. “I do not believe this was coordinated. More likely: companies came to their own conclusions or were emboldened by the actions of others.”

Twitter and Facebook took down Trump’s account after last week’s violence at the Capitol, which was incited by the President and his comments on social media. YouTube followed on Tuesday, removing Trump’s last significant online channel for reaching his tens of millions of followers.

Meanwhile, the Parler app, used largely by conservatives, has been banned by Apple and Google because of violent content and poor controls around moderation. Amazon Web Services also took away access from Parler.

Dorsey said the inconsistent policies and lack of transparency undermine the efforts to create an open internet.

“The reason I have so much passion for #Bitcoin is largely because of the model it demonstrates: a foundational internet technology that is not controlled or influenced by any single individual or entity,” Dorsey wrote. “This is what the internet wants to be, and over time, more of it will be.”

He referenced an announcement from late 2019, when Twitter said it was funding a small team called Bluesky to come up with “an open decentralized standard for social media.” He said the project is hiring now and will “do the work completely through public transparency.”

WATCH: Twitter without Trump



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Facebook will stop recommending political groups permanently

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Georgetown University in a ‘Conversation on Free Expression” in Washington, DC on October 17, 2019.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday announced that the company will no longer recommend civic and political groups to its users.

The change comes in the wake of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. 

“This is a continuation of work we’ve been doing for a while to turn down the temperature and discourage divisive conversations,” Zuckerberg said in a call with analysts following the company’s fourth-quarter earnings.

This comes after the company temporarily decided to stop recommending these groups to U.S. users in October in the lead up to the 2020 U.S. elections. 

Additionally, Zuckerberg said that the company is now considering steps to reduce the amount of political content that users see in their News Feed.

“One of the top pieces of feedback that we’re hearing from our community right now is that people don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services,” Zuckerberg said.

Nominations are open for the 2021 CNBC Disruptor 50, a list of private start-ups using breakthrough technology to become the next generation of great public companies. Submit by Friday, Feb. 12, at 3 pm EST.


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Tesla Model S update shown in Q4 2020 earnings release

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Tesla on Wednesday showed off a major redesign to its electric sedan, the Model S, in its 2020 fourth quarter earnings report.

The company shared pictures of its new interior and exterior of the car that’s set to launch later this year. It also introduced its “Plaid” offering, a tri-motor powertrain that would allow the car to go from zero to 60 miles per hour in under 2 seconds.

CEO Elon Musk said in September at the company’s Battery Day that the Plaid Model S would arrive in late 2021. At end of 2020 Tesla shut down S/X production lines in the Fremont, California plant to get ready to produce the updated versions of the cars, a sedan and SUV with falcon wing doors, respectively. The company said Wednesday production will resume in Q1 and “ramp back to full capacity over time.”

The new Model S starts at $79,990. Its Plaid version starts at $119,990.

Tesla Model S front interior

Tesla

Shares dropped more than 3% in extended trading after the company reported Q4 2020 earnings. The company reported earnings per share of 80 cents on revenue of $10.74 billion. Analysts expected EPS of $1.03 on revenue of $10.4 billion.

The company also gave some production guidance going forward, writing “Over a multi-year horizon, we expect to achieve 50% average annual growth in vehicle deliveries.” The company expects faster delivery growth than that for 2021.

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Here’s how much Apple has on hand

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 20: Apple CEO Tim Cook greets customers at the grand reopening of Apple’s flagship Apple Fifth Avenue retail store on September 20, 2019 in New York City.

Taylor Hill | WireImage | Getty Images

Apple now has $195.57 billion in cash on hand, according to the company’s fiscal first-quarter earnings report released Wednesday.

That’s up 2% from the company’s fiscal fourth quarter of 2020, when it reported $191.83 billion in cash. However, it’s a 5.5% drop from the $207.06 billion in cash Apple had during the same quarter a year ago.

Analysts were bullish heading into the company’s earnings. Wednesday’s report marked the first full season since Apple released its new lineup of iPhones and subscription services bundles. Morgan Stanley analysts wrote last week that they believed Apple was “likely to report all-time record quarterly revenue and earnings.”

Apple regularly hosts one of the largest cash piles in the U.S. By comparison, Microsoft had $136.5 billion in cash during its most recent quarter, which was reported Tuesday. Google and Amazon, which haven’t reported yet this season, had $132.59 billion and $68.4 billion, respectively, in their last quarters.

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