Tony Romm

Tech firms step up to confront online threats. But some ask, what about the White House?

Technology giants increasingly are casting themselves as defenders of online integrity as American democracy, yet again, comes under attack. A recent string of revelations from companies including Facebook, Microsoft and Google about foreign hacking and disinformation amount to a public answer to charges that the technology industry should have done more to thwart Russia’s online attacks in 2016.

Several groups banned by Facebook had strong similarities to Twitter accounts linked to Russia six weeks ago

At least three groups that Facebook banned recently for spreading disinformation shared similar names and traits with Twitter accounts that had been linked publicly to Russia earlier this year, underscoring the challenges of swiftly shutting down a foreign influence campaign even once strong hints emerge of who is behind it. Facebook’s handling of the situation underscores the nation’s struggles to respond to credible reports of disinformation two years after the first signs that Russians were seeking to manipulate the 2016 presidential election.

The moment when Facebook’s removal of alleged Russian disinformation became a free speech issue

Left-leaning political activists accused Facebook of suppressing free speech when the social media giant removed an event listing that it said was part of a new disinformation campaign with ties to Russia.Facebook said it had to act quickly to disclose that inauthentic operators were behind an upcoming event in Washington (DC) to counter a white supremacist rally inspired by Charlottesville.

The Trump administration is talking to Facebook and Google about potential rules for online privacy

The Trump administration is crafting a proposal to protect Web users’ privacy, aiming to blunt global criticism that the absence of strict federal rules in the United States has enabled data mishaps at Facebook and others in Silicon Valley. Over the past month, the Commerce Department has been huddling with representatives of tech giants such as Facebook and Google, Internet providers including AT&T and Comcast, and consumer advocates, apparently.

President Trump criticizes FCC for moving to block Sinclair-Tribune merger

President Donald Trump came to the defense of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed merger with Tribune Media, days after the Federal Communications Commission raised “serious concerns” about the deal and began legal proceedings to challenge it on grounds the companies had misled regulators. President Trump said it was “so sad and unfair” that the FCC, an independent agency, did not approve the merger, a $3.9 billion transaction that would create a conservative television giant that originally hoped to reach roughly 70 percent of US households.

What the Justice Department will argue to get its AT&T appeal

The Justice Department’s renewed effort to thwart AT&T’s merger with Time Warner rests on claims that a federal judge misunderstood “fundamental principles of economics,” according to court documents. Asking a federal appeals court to swiftly consider their case against the telecom giant, government lawyers said Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia erred by rejecting “basic bargaining economics” when he ruled to allow the $85 billion deal in June.

President Trump says ‘I told you so!’ after Europe fines Google $5 billion

President Donald Trump attacked the European Union for fining Google $5 billion for harming its competitors, tweeting that the incident proved the regional bloc has “taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!” To President Trump, the fine appeared to serve as the latest evidence of Europe’s exploitation of the United States on a variety of matters, including trade and nations’ contributions to defense spending, and it came a day after he threatened “tremendous retribution,” particularly on European-made cars, if the EU doesn’t change its trade policies. The EU’s penalty stood in stark c

House Judiciary Committee Examines Social Media Content Filtering Practices

Facebook, Google and Twitter on Tuesday sought to defend themselves against accusations from Republican lawmakers who say the tech giants censor conservative news and views during a congressional hearing that devolved into a political sniping match. 

Robocalls are getting worse. And some big businesses soon could start calling you even more.

Robocalls ravaged Americans’ smartphones in record numbers in June. But some of the nation’s top businesses – from credit card companies and student lenders to retailers and car dealers – are still urging the Trump administration to make it easier for them to dial and text mobile devices en masse. For many smartphone owners, there’s rarely a day that they don’t receive an unanticipated call from an unrecognized number, some sporting an area code that’s suspiciously similar to their own. In June, robocalls rang an estimated 4 billion times.

Google may have to make major changes to Android in response to a forthcoming fine in Europe

Google could face a new record penalty in July from European regulators for forcing its search and web-browsing tools on the makers of Android-equipped smartphones and other devices, potentially resulting in major changes to the world’s most widely deployed mobile operating system. The punishment from Margrethe Vestager, the European Union's competition chief, is expected to include a fine raging into the billions of dollars, apparently, marking the second time in as many years that the region's antitrust authorities have found that Google threatens corporate rivals and consumers.