Programming note: As you may have read, this will be the The Interface’s final week in its current form. Next week, it will evolve into Platformer, a new newsletter by me on Substack that will pick up where this one leaves off. You can read about why I’m making this move here, and read coverage in the New York Times and OneZero. If you’re subscribed to The Interface, I’ll port your email address over automatically. You can also unsubscribe at any time. If you have questions, just reply.

Today let’s talk about Facebook’s Oversight Board, the “real” Oversight Board, and what it means for the 2020 election. …


How aggressively should a tech platform be allowed to compete before it becomes anticompetitive? In a summer overflowing with big issues for tech giants, from hate speech to election interference, competition might rank above them all. It was questions about competition that led the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google to appear jointly before Congress for the first time last month. And the discussion that followed may have lasting consequences for multiple ongoing state and federal antitrust investigations, as well the new laws that Congress is expected to draft in response.

In recent weeks, the brunt of discussion about competition has centered around Apple. The company found itself in a new controversy over its App Store rules when the game developer Epic intentionally broke the rules to offer a new payment system that avoided Apple’s 30 percent cut. That prompted an immediate response from Apple, which booted Epic out of the App Store and threatened to terminate its developer account, which would break a large number of games that rely on Epic’s Unreal Engine. On Monday, a judge granted Epic a temporary restraining order against Apple preventing it from eliminating Epic’s account until the full matter can be heard. …


On Sunday, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel sent employees an unusually personal note reflecting on the events of the past several weeks. Many brands took the occasion of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police, and the global protests that have followed, to signal their solidarity with the black community and their allies. But few CEOs took the step, as Spiegel did, of reflecting on his own privilege — and then calling for reparations for black folks. (He threw in a cogent analysis of the federal budget, too.)

Spiegel’s memo, which Snap later made public, also came as the big social companies were reckoning over what to do about President Donald Trump’s increasingly bellicose posts about voting by mail and peaceful protesters. Twitter moved to add labels to one set of tweets and hid others behind a warning for “glorifying violence”; Facebook agonized but ultimately decided to take no action, triggering a virtual walkout of hundreds of employees earlier this week. …

About

Casey Newton

Silicon Valley editor at The Verge. Tweets about tech. Of all the reporters covering Silicon Valley, I am the tallest.