Fraud claims, DOJ probe and sexual abuse allegations cloud $2B deal between GM and Nikola truck startup

What seemed like a simple matter of crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s has turned into a protracted challenge for General Motors and Nikola, after negotiations to pair up and produce new zero-emissions trucks have been extended.

The $2 billion deal, announced Sept. 9, was billed as a “partnership made in heaven,” according to Nikola founder and then-chairman Trevor Milton, during a media call with GM CEO Mary Barra. But the Phoenix-based startup has since been hammered by claims of fraud, with a Securities and Exchange Commission probe now underway. Allegations surfaced this week of sexual abuse by Milton, who stepped down as chairman last week. Nikola’s stock has plunged to barely a quarter of what it was worth when the company went public last June.

Talks expected to wrap up today could now run through Dec. 3, at which time the proposed deal “may be terminated by either

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U.S. expected to sue Google next week as DOJ seeks support from states

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department is expected to sue Alphabet’s Google <GOOGL.O> as soon as next week, and is currently urging state attorneys general to sign onto the lawsuit, according to three sources familiar with the process.

The lawsuit is expected to accuse Google, builder of the world’s dominant search engine, of looking to disadvantage rivals such as Microsoft’s Bing by depriving them of the data about users and user preferences that they need to improve and to advertise to people.

The Justice Department has also been investigating Google’s “search advertising,” the ads that appear under a search box if a person looks up a consumer item like “dishwasher.” Google controls the sale of the space under these searches, as well as the tools to make those ad sales.

Google has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. The Justice Department declined to comment.

Regarding search, Google has said users have

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DOJ claims TikTok owner is ‘mouthpiece’ of Chinese Communist Party

The Justice Department filed a response to TikTok’s request for an injunction to delay President Donald Trump’s partial ban on the app that is scheduled for September 27, to be followed by a total ban on November 12. 

According to the DOJ’s claims filed Friday night, the Justice Department lawyers accused TikTok parent company Byte Dance’s CEO Zhang Yiming of acting as a “mouthpiece” for the Chinese Communist Party and publicly making statements that demonstrate he is  “committed to promoting the CCP’s agenda and messaging,” The Verge and NPR reported. 

The DOJ claimed that “US user data being stored outside of the United States presents significant risks in this case,” but the section relevant to how this is the case is redacted, according to The Verge and NPR.

ByteDance’s head of security previously stated that it’s impossible for the Chinese government to access user data from TikTok because the app’s

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The DOJ asked Congress to erode big tech’s legal protections as Trump accused firms of anti-conservative bias and ‘cancel culture’



a man looking at the camera: Attorney General William Barr (center) listens during a discussion with state attorneys general on social media abuses hosted by President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, September 23, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner


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Attorney General William Barr (center) listens during a discussion with state attorneys general on social media abuses hosted by President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, September 23, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

  • Attorney General William Barr announced Wednesday the Department of Justice has submitted legislation to Congress to reform the part of the US law that gives tech companies broad powers to moderate their platforms.
  • Barr said the proposed legislation is aimed at “requiring greater transparency and accountability when platforms remove lawful speech.”
  • The legislation follows on from an executive order issued by President Trump in May targeting social media for alleged anti-conservative bias.
  • Trump often claims online platforms are biased against conservatives, but has provided minimal evidence backing this up. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Trump is ramping up the pressure on social media companies.

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DOJ nearing antitrust action on Google; Trump eyes tech curb

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DOJ proposes congressional fix of Section 230 as Trump turns up heat on Big Tech

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President Donald Trump signs an executive order to regulate social media, which could lead to attempts to punish companies, such as Twitter and Google, for attempting to point out factual inconsistencies in social media posts by politicians. 


Doug Mills/Getty Images

The Department of Justice proposed legislation Wednesday that would weaken legal liability protections for social media companies, like Facebook and Twitter, and hold them accountable for how they moderate content on their platforms. The news comes as the Trump administration turns up the heat on big tech companies as the 2020 US presidential race gets into full swing. 

Specifically, the new law if passed by Congress and signed by the president, would alter the criteria online platforms must meet to benefit from liability protections granted by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. 

“For too long Section 230 has provided a shield for online platforms to operate with impunity,” Attorney

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DOJ to Propose Legislation Targeting Legal Immunities for Internet Companies, in Bid to Curb Illegal Content

The Justice Department will propose on Wednesday that Congress craft legislation stripping big internet companies of some legal immunities in an attempt to curb illegal or unfair practices, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The proposal calls for legislation curbing the immunities granted by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields internet platforms from legal liability if a user uploads illegal content, such as a defamatory or libelous blog post. The Justice Department hopes that by threatening to revoke this immunity in certain cases and open up internet companies to potentially damaging lawsuits, Congress can essentially compel those companies to institute practices and policies that are better for the civic health of the country.

Both Republicans and Democrats have voiced concerns over aspects of various internet companies over the past several years. Democrats have criticized Facebook in particular for what they see is the company’s permissive attitude toward the

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