A frenzy of hearings in Washington didnt bring us closer to actual tech regulations, but first…

Todays must-reads:

Amazon makes


a controversial pivot into email marketing as it copes with slowing salesAn antitrust suit by US states

accuses Google of monopolizing ad techTwilio is

cutting jobs and restructuring the company after growing too fast

Congresss crawl toward regulating tech

Senators on both sides of the aisle finally agree on something: Social media needs to change.

Whats less clear is who will do itand how.

Former and current executives from some of the biggest social networks gave testimony on their business practices this week, and the general theme was that the companies need to fix their priorities. Tech giants often favor engagement and growth over protecting user data and eradicating misinformation.

Of course, Big Tech deserves to be held to accountviolence has been planned on these platforms, misinformation frequently turns into viral content, and illicit photos of minors appear in posts. But there is a bit of irony to hearing calls for action from this particular branch of government.

Its been 4 1/2 years since Congresss focus on social media ramped up, back when Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg first testified following revelations that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica improperly collected data from users. Since then, his company (now called Meta Platforms Inc.) has appeared more than 30 times, alongside many of his peers.

In 2018, TikTok was in its infancy. It had launched a year earlier and was integrating its acquisition of lip-syncing app to become the platform it is today. Enough time has passed for TikTok to amass a billion users and draw enough attention of its own to warrant a seat in this weeks congressional testimony.

Yet, Congress hasnt passed any significant federal legislation aimed at regulating social media. The first real effort, an antitrust bill meant to prohibit companies from giving an advantage to their own products on platforms, is at risk of failing after lobbying and ads taken out by pro-tech groups slowed its momentum.


a hearing Tuesday with Twitter Inc. whistle-blower Peiter Zatko, there was wide agreement that companies arent doing enough themselves, and more regulatory enforcement is needed. Legislators suggested they would be a part of the solution.

Its now time to look at social media platforms anew, Senator Lindsey Graham said in response to Zatkos testimony. What you did today will not be in vain.

But Wednesday afternoons hearing with executives from TikTok, Meta, Twitter and YouTube featured a grab bag of topics: Will TikTok cut off data to Chinese employees? Are employees at Facebook compensated based on how safe product are? Why were posts touting Ivermectin (a drug the FDA says should not be used to treat Covid-19) removed from platforms during the pandemic? Do your algorithms promote QAnon content?

The testimony ended without a clear focus or takeaway.

The wild swings in topics have become typical. Perhaps these legislators should reflect on the advice they are giving Big Tech: Prioritize, move faster and use the power you have to make things better.

Alex Barinka

The big story

Bret Taylor, the mild-mannered chairman of Twitter, is trying to

keep calm amid the chaos of its takeover saga with Elon Musk. We intend to close the transaction and enforce the merger agreement, he says.

What else you need to know

Hedge funds are betting that Elon Musk will be

forced to buy Twitter.

Google cuts funding and jobs at its

Passion Project incubator.

US cyber authorities urge companies to

embrace continuous testing to protect against longstanding online threats.

Join Bloomberg Live in London for the Bloomberg Technology Summit on Sept. 28 to see Europes business leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs and investors explain how theyre adapting to this new environmentand discuss solution-based strategies.