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#childsafety | What was missing from the first debate? | #parenting | #parenting | #kids


With help from Amanda Eisenberg, John Hendel, Mark Scott, Leah Nylen, Cristiano Lima and Daniel Lippman

Editor’s Note: Morning Tech is a free version of POLITICO Pro Technology’s morning newsletter, which is delivered to our subscribers each morning at 6 a.m. The POLITICO Pro platform combines the news you need with tools you can use to take action on the day’s biggest stories. Act on the news with POLITICO Pro.

— Trump vs. Biden, night one: Election integrity got the last look at the first presidential debate, but tech policy issues were otherwise lost in the 90-minutes of fireworks, insults and conspiracy theories.

— Misinfo monitor: Covid-19 infection rates are once again climbing in New York, and Yiddish misinformation on WhatsApp is contributing to the spread in the city’s Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods.

— Broadband land: FCC leaders will vote today on plans around auctioning 5G-friendly Pentagon spectrum and a proposal stirring anxieties from public safety officials worried about the future of their 4.9 GHz airwaves.

IT’S WEDNESDAY, AND (ALREADY!) THE LAST DAY OF SEPTEMBER. WELCOME TO MORNING TECH. I’m your host, Alexandra Levine.

Got a news tip? Write to Alexandra at [email protected], or follow along @Ali_Lev and @alexandra.levine. An event for our calendar? Send details to [email protected]. Anything else? Full team info below. And don’t forget: Add @MorningTech and @PoliticoPro on Twitter.

FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE EVADES TECH POLICY — Techlings were holding their breath for any substantial mention of tech, but the face-off hit only briefly on election integrity. And even then, the discussion focused solely on mail-in voting — leaving out any mention of the role that foreign actors from China, Russia and Iran are known to be playing already in this election, in some cases through social media. (2016 déjà vu?) Chris Wallace closed the evening raising questions about how each contender would react if the results are not immediately clear on the night of the election, a scenario Silicon Valley is already bracing for.

— Other tidbits: Without naming names, Joe Biden referenced Fortune 500 corporations that he said don’t pay taxes and took issue with billionaires becoming even bigger billionaires during the pandemic — claims we heard in Democratic debates earlier this cycle, largely in reference to powerhouses like Amazon (and their executives). You might’ve also seen the American Edge Project, a coalition Facebook is involved in, run a spot about the importance of American tech leadership in U.S. national security. But … that was about it.

— Let’s hope for more tech, and less crossfire, at the subsequent debates in October.

TIKTOK TAKES ON 2020 MISINFORMATION — Viral (and sometimes misleading) videos with a political bent now have a bottom banner directing TikTok users to authoritative information about the November elections. The notices launched in the app on Tuesday, and by the afternoon, they’d already been applied to posts suggesting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had a “mini stroke” on live TV and that a Hasidic presidential candidate was running against Trump and Biden, to name a couple. The platform’s “2020 Elections Guide” includes voter registration and other resources broken down by state.

WHATSAPP, MEANWHILE, SEES YIDDISH COVID MISINFORMATION — With coronavirus cases on the rise again in the original U.S. hotspot, New York, Yiddish misinformation on WhatsApp is helping fuel the spread among Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and Queens, my colleague Amanda Eisenberg writes in POLITICO’s Future Pulse. The rumors chiefly concern the community allegedly achieving herd immunity this past spring, with appeals that parents decline to test their kids as a condition for keeping yeshivas open. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has shut down in-person learning at four schools this year because of increased caseloads in the schools and surrounding community, along with a lack of mask compliance.

— The de Blasio administration has tried to fight the spread of misinformation by conducting robocalls in Yiddish and English, as well as counterprogramming on WhatsApp to inform people about the importance of continuing to wear masks in public. The Orthodox Jewish community, where Yiddish is the mother tongue, uses technology selectively. Many families don’t have TVs or use the internet — and often get conflicting information on WhatsApp from government skeptics and Jewish doctors and volunteer emergency medical services in the communities.

— POLITICO’s weekly Future Pulse dispatch explores the intersection between tech and health care. Sign up for the newsletter here.

ELSEWHERE AT FACEBOOK: NICK CLEGG ON CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA REDUX — The former deputy British prime minister, now Facebook’s joint head of policy and communications, sat down (virtually) with a group of journalists Tuesday to defend the social network’s track record on misinformation, political ads and other election-related issues now that we’re just over a month out from the November elections.

— The executive said definitively that a second Cambridge Analytica-style scandal, involving the misuse of people’s Facebook data, could not happen after the company improved its handling of such data use since 2018. (Editor’s note: Possible famous last words?) More here from Mark Scott, my colleague based in Europe.

— Other highlights: Would Facebook consider suspending political advertising ahead of the planned weeklong moratorium before Nov. 3? Clegg said no.

APPLE, EPIC ASK FOR BENCH TRIAL At Monday’s hearing in Epic Games’ antitrust case against Apple, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said the companies should consider a jury trial for their dispute. “It’s going to cost a lot of money, time and effort,” she said, noting that any decision is likely to be appealed. “You might as well find out what people really think and want.” Late Tuesday, though, the companies agreed to let Gonzalez Rogers decide the case herself next July. A major factor that likely led to that decision: Since the pandemic began, courts have had difficulty seating juries — though Texas and Florida have held trials via Zoom — and criminal cases get precedence.





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