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Pompeo Threatens TikTok Ban; Google Search Revenue Could Drop Further

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Clock’s Ticking

TikTok is beefing up its army of lobbyists after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to ban the app along with other Chinese social media platforms on Monday. TikTok, which is growing like gangbusters in the United States, is bringing on five lobbyists with experience in privacy, defense and politics to resist scrutiny of its ownership by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, CNBC reports. The Trump administration has been dragging TikTok into its ongoing spat with China since last year, when the US Committee on Foreign Investment began an inquiry into whether TikTok shares data about its users with the Chinese government. And TikTok’s regulatory woes don’t end in the United States: The app was recently banned in India and pulled out of Hong Kong after China imposed its new security law on the city.

Searching For Revenue

Google will take a 7% revenue hit thanks to declining search investments, according to estimates from Needham. The firm lowered its previous forecast, which predicted a 5% revenue hit, after speaking with sources and reviewing similar predictions from eMarketer in June. Google’s revenue will grow 2% to 3% overall for the year, with declines driven by travel, auto, media, entertainment and retail brands, which will remain weak “until COVID-19 is controlled enough that the economy strengthens and consumer demand returns,” Needham analysts said. Consumers are spending less during the crisis, thus lowering advertiser ROI from search, CNBC reports. Plus, Google is losing search share to Amazon as more consumers shop online during the pandemic. These factors amount to a “structural attack against Google’s search product,” the analysts said.

In Your Face

Progressive groups are hammering Facebook over its failure to respond to misinformation and hate speech. The Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP and other US civil rights groups held a Zoom meeting with Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg and other Facebook execs that ended in disappointment for those organizations, which felt Facebook wanted an “A for attendance” without addressing their concerns, The New York Times reports. And The Democratic National Committee assailed Facebook for its “unkept promises” following the 2016 election, such as a rigorous fact-checking program, according to The Washington Post. Conservative voices such as President Trump and Ben Shapiro, who are regularly the top performers for Facebook news posts, are given passes for hate speech and for breaking policies on inflated organic reach.

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