DOJ, FTC Staffers Flock To Big Tech; Defining Hate

FTC building

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What happens when companies being investigated by the FTC or the DOJ poach staffers for their own defense? Unfortunately, it’s not a hypothetical, writes antitrust economist Hal Singer at The American Prospect. Amazon and Facebook both recently hired staffers from the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees antitrust legislation. That ticked Singer off, because he’d briefed them on antitrust strategies. “These two staffers are now working for the tech platforms, and presumably against my ideas, after having heard my ideas in a private setting.” And the revolving door is spinning out of hand right now. Based on LinkedIn data, Amazon, Google and Facebook employ 19, 27 and 30 people, respectively, who previously worked for the FTC antitrust group, the DOJ Antitrust Division (ATR), the Senate Judiciary Committee or the House Judiciary Committee.

Crazy Hates

What’s something we can all agree on? Hate. No, seriously. On Friday, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube agreed to create a common definition for what constitutes hate speech, Axios reports. The work will be done under the auspices of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, an industry org launched at the Cannes Lions Festival last year. (Remember Cannes?) “Hate speech has no place on our platform, and while we have invested in technologies and teams over the years to combat hateful content, we clearly have more work to do,” Facebook’s VP of global marketing solutions, Carolyn Everson, said in a statement. Coming to terms with terms is a good first step, but hardly enough to assuage concerns aired by the organizers of the ongoing Facebook ad boycott.

On The Spot

Podcast advertising revenue is expected to surpass $1 billion in 2020, a benchmark for emerging channels. That places podcasting a step ahead of, say, Pinterest’s ad revenue run rate, but there’s still a long way to go before monetization catches up with ambition. Spotify isn’t waiting around, however. Last week, the streaming audio service announced a new podcast series hosted by Michelle Obama, following other recent exclusive podcast deals with Kim Kardashian, Joe Rogan and WarnerMedia’s DC Comics entertainment universe. Spotify also debuted Top Podcasts and Trending Podcasts charts in its UI last week, to spur organic discovery. Also in July, Spotify and Omnicom signed a $20 million upfront podcast ad deal to reserve inventory in new programs.

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