YouTube says it will reverse its ban on Donald Trump’s channel when ‘the risk of violence has decreased’

trump pentagon
President Donald Trump.

  • YouTube’s CEO said the site will reverse its ban on Trump when the “risk of violence has decreased.”
  • The company suspended his account in January following the insurrection at the US Capitol.
  • Facebook and Twitter also took action against Trump “due to an increased risk of violence.”
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said the company will reverse its ban on former President Donald Trump when the risk of violence decreases.

The company suspended him following the January 6 Capitol riots after it found videos on his account that violated YouTube’s policies over incitement of violence. But Wojcicki’s comments Thursday during an interview with the think tank Atlantic Council point to a potential end to the company’s action against the former president.

“We will lift the suspension of the Donald Trump Channel when we determine that the risk of violence has decreased,” Wojcicki said in the interview. The CEO said Trump’s account remains locked due to the risk of incitement to violence, especially as Capitol police anticipate a potential militia threat at the US Capitol on Thursday.

“I think it’s pretty clear that that elevated violence risk still remains,” Wojcicki said.

And when Trump’s account is reinstated, Wojcicki said it will still be subject to YouTube’s three-strike system, which applies to every user on its platform and was created following the January 6 insurrection. If a user violates the company’s policies three times within a 90-day period, they will be permanently removed, per the policy.

YouTube did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. You can watch the video clip with Wojcicki’s comments below.

Pro-Trump extremists stormed the US Capitol on January 6 as lawmakers worked to certify the 2020 presidential election results.

As his supporters breached the Capitol, Trump released a recorded video in which he reiterated baseless claims of election fraud and did not condemn the rioters’ actions, only telling them to “go home, we love you, you’re very special.”

Read more: Trump’s Twitter had the whole world on edge. Here’s how the Biden White House plans to make @POTUS sane again.

The video was shared on Trump’s YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, prompting the tech companies to restrict its reach or remove it. Twitter, for example, initially barred users from sharing the video “due to an increased risk of violence.” Twitter and Facebook later banned Trump from their platforms.

Facebook’s “supreme court,” an independent board that can overturn or uphold the company’s moderation decisions, is currently deciding whether or not to permanently ban Trump.

Twitter said in early February that it will never reverse its ban of Trump, even if he decides to run for office again in 2024.

Read the original article on Business Insider

PayPal reported its strongest-ever quarterly growth in payment volume in Q4 with $277 billion as the pandemic fueled online transactions

dan schulman paypal success leadership 4x3
PayPal CEO Dan Schulman.

  • PayPal reported its strongest quarterly growth in total payment volume in Q4 with $277 billion.
  • That’s a 39% increase from Q4 2019, when the company reported $199 billion in total payment volume.
  • PayPal enjoyed a surge in use in 2020 as the pandemic drove more online transactions.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

PayPal said it reported its strongest quarterly growth in total payment volume in its fourth-quarter earnings with $277 billion, a 36% increase from Q4 2019.

PayPal CFO John Rainey made the comment in a Wednesday earnings call after the company posted its Q4 results, with revenue of $6.12 billion and earnings-per-share of $1.32.

Both Rainey and CEO John Schulman stressed on the call and in its Q4 results that 2020 was PayPal’s best year in its history, a milestone that coincided with unprecedented online shopping numbers as the pandemic kept people inside and out of brick and mortar stores, especially during the holidays.

Schulman emphasized that a “digital-first world” is now our reality.

“Consumers no longer want to handle cash,” Schulman said on the call. He also touched on Venmo users cashing their stimulus checks in the app, which PayPal acquired in 2013.

Read more: PayPal workers were struggling to make ends meet. CEO Dan Schulman vowed to change that.

While PayPal reported a record-breaking quarterly growth rate in total payment volume, growth in other areas appears to have slowed slightly compared to earlier in 2020.

PayPal reported 16 million net new active users in Q4 compared to 20.2 million in Q1 2020. In April 2020 alone, PayPal gained 7.4 million new active users, a new record for the digital payment company. The company saw its strongest quarter in PayPal’s history in Q2, during the first few months of the pandemic, adding 21.3 million net new active users. 

Read more: These 8 PayPal execs are leading the company during a record period of growth as e-commerce and digital payments boom

PayPal said the company ended 2020 with a total of 377 million active accounts and expects to add 50 million net new active accounts in 2021.

The company also noted that it signed on a slew of new merchants in 2020, including Footlocker, Levi’s, Macy’s, Uniqlo, and others.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Experts say the antitrust suits against Facebook may not change anything, but they’re still a ‘big deal’ and signal that the US government will no longer look the other way

mark zuckerberg facebook
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Washington DC on Oct. 23, 2019.

  • Facebook was slammed with two antitrust lawsuits this week — one from the FTC and one from a group of 48 attorneys general — that take aim at the company’s practices of stifling market competition.
  • They also seek to force Facebook’s spin-off of WhatsApp and Instagram, but experts told Business Insider that that’s unlikely to happen, and the suits will likely stretch out for years.
  • What the lawsuits really represent, experts said, is an indication that the government will no longer look the other way when it comes to how Facebook operates.
  • “Every acquisition they try to make from here on will be met with such a level of inspection and skepticism associated with it,” one expert told Business Insider.
  • The lawsuits are the cherry on top of a rocky few months for Facebook as a reckoning in tech looks to be on the horizon.
  • Congress has been investigating Facebook over antitrust concerns, the public has accused the company of allowing the spread of misinformation and hate speech, and Republicans are convinced that the platform is one of many that discriminates against the right.
  • Here’s what the lawsuits mean for Facebook and what they could change.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

What happened this week?

The Federal Trade Commission has been in charge of enforcing antitrust laws for decades, and the federal agency filed a lawsuit on Wednesday that seeks to force Facebook to spin off Instagram and WhatsApp. 

Why? Because the commission alleges that when Facebook acquired the two companies, it did so to neutralize them as competitors. As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a 2008 email, unearthed for the first time in the FTC’s lawsuit, “it is better to buy than compete.”

That would be illegal, according to US antitrust laws. (This also isn’t a new accusation – Zuckerberg faced questioning over the same topic in front of Congress in July as part of its investigation into online competition.)

Antitrust laws are designed to prevent firms from using anticompetitive business practices that stifle competition, thereby allowing the companies to dominate the market and hold monopoly power.

The FTC lawsuit accuses Facebook of holding such an “illegal monopolization.” 

In addition to the divestitures, the filings are also seeking to keep Facebook from engaging in anticompetitive conduct. Such conduct could include Facebook preventing competing services from gaining access to its customer base, David Dinielli – an antitrust lawyer and a former special counsel with the antitrust division of the Department of Justice – told Business Insider. The ultimate goal, he said, is to restore competition in the market.

“This is the incredibly strong opening salvo of what could be a multi-year battle,” Dinielli said.

Why is the FTC lawsuit a big deal?

The lawsuit represents a major legal action taken by the US government against Facebook. It also coincides with a separate lawsuit filed by 48 attorneys general that includes similar allegations. 

Dinielli also said an important fact about these filings is that they aren’t political documents but are rather explanations that anyone, regardless of political affiliation, will understand. Regulation of the tech industry has been largely politicized this year, especially as platforms like Facebook began fact-checking President Donald Trump’s online posts.

The suit’s demands that WhatsApp and Instagram be spun off are notable.

Divesting WhatsApp could have a dire impact on the future of the social media company, as Bloomberg’s Kurt Wagner reported. Facebook bet big bucks on the popular mobile messaging platform, and as those types of services continue to veer into the social networking world, a company like WhatsApp will be an invaluable asset. Zuckerberg and Facebook leadership recognized as much, according to internal emails made public as part of the FTC lawsuit. 

Facebook also recognized Instagram as a formidable challenger before it acquired the platform – Zuckerberg wrote in 2012 that it would be “really scary” for Facebook if Instagram remained a standalone competitor.

“It’s kind of ridiculous in and of itself that they bought Instagram in 2012 and now, eight years later, [regulators are] saying, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t have done that,'” Ari Lightman, professor of digital media at Carnegie Mellon and social media expert, told Business Insider.

But that doesn’t mean that investigators will get their way with a WhatsApp-Instagram spin-off. 

Will anything change because of the lawsuit?

Experts say, not really.

Wall Street analysts told Business Insider’s Martin Coulter that the lawsuit might not actually have legs to hold up in court, and a spinoff of Instagram and WhatsApp is unlikely to happen, Lightman said.

“If you break them up now, are you going to give them a refund check?” Lightman said. There are so many integrated assets, from engineers and executives to user data, so the question is how does that even begin to be unraveled, according to Lightman.

Experts said what the lawsuit really represents is being part of a series of governmental actions signaling the broader consensus that the industry needs oversight.

“It’s time to take all of these companies seriously, both in terms of the incredible benefits they’ve provided to our economy, to the marketplace of ideas and to our personal lives, but also the problems that they pose for those same things,” Dinielli said.

And Lightman said “every acquisition they try to make from here on will be met with such a level of inspection and skepticism associated with it.” What Facebook needs is better legislation that applies to them specifically as internet platforms, according to Lightman.

He also said Facebook will spend “a lot of money, a lot of resources, a lot of time, a lot of energy fighting this thing,” leaving the door open for other competitors to catch up with their own innovations.

The lawsuits come after a tumultuous year for Facebook

Both the FTC’s suit and that filed by 48 attorneys general come on the heels of a rocky few months for Facebook, as a reckoning in tech looks to be on the horizon.

Antitrust scrutiny, accusations surrounding the proliferation of misinformation and hate speech on its platform, election interference, a vendetta against Republicans – it has not been smooth sailing for Facebook this year. Though its problems, of course, stretch back years, when the Cambridge Analytica scandal really kicked off a “techlash” against the company and its industry. 

The House antitrust subcommittee has investigated Facebook, the Senate judiciary subcommittee is mulling over tweaking Section 230 protections, and a greater public discourse around tech regulation has taken hold as online consumers become more aware of the platforms they use every day.

“Running unregulated, unchecked, unsupervised – it’s great for growth in the early days, but now it doesn’t fit the model, and trying to use a blunt hammer, which is 120-year-old piece of legislation, is the wrong answer as well,” Lightman said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Sellers on Amazon say the company’s new cap on products they can send to its warehouses is cutting into their holiday sales: ‘It’s killing us’

amazon package logo warehouse
A package in an Amazon warehouse on December 8, 2020.

  • Third-party sellers are saying Amazon’s inventory restrictions are making it difficult for them to replenish supply and keep up with demand during a busy holiday-shopping season.
  • Amazon capped the number of items that the sellers can ship to its warehouses in an effort to conserve space, but sellers told CNBC that the new rules are cutting into their holiday sales.
  • This year’s holiday-shopping season has been forecast to be the busiest ever, bolstered by online sales already driven up during the pandemic, with customers forced inside.
  • The report also comes as Amazon remains under scrutiny over its treatment of third-party sellers on its online marketplace.
  • Amazon has since emphasized the success that sellers have seen on its site — the company said third-party sales surpassed $3.5 billion during its Prime Day event this year.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon’s third-party sellers are saying the company’s cap on the number of products they can ship to warehouses is hurting their holiday sales and making it difficult to replenish supply, according to a new report from CNBC.

Amazon rolled out the new policy in August in an effort to conserve space, despite the creation of more warehouses across the country, during a pandemic-driven online sales surge.

Amazon set the limit by factoring in the last 90 days of sales for any given item, and sellers told CNBC that they didn’t think the company was considering the high demand of the holiday season when setting those restrictions. The company also says it caps the number of shipments for a new product at 200 units.

According to one third-party seller that spoke to the outlet, Amazon capped the number of units per shipment at 230. He said that number has been in the thousands in the past few years.

As CNBC notes, Amazon said back in August that third-party sellers can send in more stock as they sell products. But sellers told the outlet that their shipments are delayed when they send them to the company’s warehouses. Sellers also said that they’re worried about their listings being bumped down by Amazon’s algorithms if they run out of supply, according to the report.

Another seller, Jerry Kavesh, told CNBC that there’s a delay in about 30 of his units in entering one of Amazon’s warehouses.

“It’s been that way for five days,” Kavesh told CNBC. “It’s killing us.”

Amazon said its cap on shipments also applies to its own brands, per CNBC. Some sellers told the outlet that they expect this year’s sales to exceed those from last year, but the shipment limitations are still cutting into potentially higher sales.

In response to Business Insider’s request for comment, Amazon said it will be providing further details regarding the claims made in the CNBC report soon.

This year’s holiday shopping season has been forecast to be one of the busiest ever – online shopping is expected to rise 35% this year. The expected influx of online sales has led experts to warn of a “shipageddon” in which retailers and shipping companies are forced to scramble to keep up with the surge in business.

The report comes as Amazon’s treatment of its third-party sellers remains under scrutiny. The e-commerce company faced questioning from Congress this past summer over allegations that the firm released new products through its private label that appear almost identical to those sold by third-party sellers. The House determined that Amazon indeed used third-party seller data to inform its own copies of the most popular items listed on its online marketplace.

Read more: Amazon’s biggest strength isn’t its size or delivery network – it’s the data. Now the EU wants to rein it in.

Employees also spoke out in 2019 about how easily Amazon can scrape third-party seller data and share it with its own retail team.

Amazon has since stressed that small businesses are thriving on its online marketplace. Amazon said third-party sales surpassed $3.5 billion during its Prime Day event this year, a growth the company said its own retail business hasn’t seen.

You can read the full report on CNBC here.

Read the original article on Business Insider