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Recode Daily: Congress wants to know how the ‘wrong button’ freaked out Hawaii — and the rest of the world

Plus, YouTube tightens its rules to clean up for advertisers, the net neutrality fight springs up on several fronts, and the darkest gives way to the light.

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Congressional lawmakers will investigate how Hawaii officials sent an erroneous emergency alert to its citizens’ smartphones on Saturday warning of an incoming ballistic missilefreaking out Hawaiian residents and tourists and pretty much the whole world. The official explanation: Someone pushed the “wrong button.” But there was no button — an employee chose the wrong item on a confusing drop-down menu on a computer screen. [Tony Romm / Recode]

YouTube will kick “tens of thousands” of smaller video makers out of its advertising program. In response to a series of scandals involving questionable and offensive content that has appeared on the world’s largest video site, YouTube will essentially require video creators to prove themselves before they can make money. It is also promising to use humans to sign off on all videos in its “Google Preferred” program that caters to large advertisers. [Peter Kafka / Recode]

Net neutrality advocates haven’t given up their fight. Lawsuits were filed by attorneys general from 22 states yesterday in an attempt to overturn FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s recent repeal of net neutrality rules. Senate Democrats lawmakers are forging ahead with plans to force a vote on a resolution to restore the rules, even though they don’t have the votes to win. Meanwhile, the Senate Commerce Committee is going to grill Alphabet, Facebook and Twitter about extremist and terrorist content that has appeared on their sites. [Tony Romm / Recode]

Car manufacturers aren’t just hardware companies anymore — they’re software companies, too, with the ability and inclination to monitor every move made by tens of millions of Americans. Most new vehicles monitor where drivers go and how they drive. Privacy experts say they offer even more access to our personal habits and behaviors than smartphones do. [Peter Holley / The Washington Post]

Cryptocurrency values declined sharply on Tuesday, with Ethereum dropping as much as 30 percent and bitcoin down 25 percent — briefly dipping below $10,000 on Coinbase. Still confused about bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrency in general? Check out this NYT Magazine essay, which is skeptical about currency and excited about the tech behind it. [Steven Johnson / The New York Times Magazine]

Did CES really happen if Steven Sinofsky wasn’t there to deliver his annual well-informed wrap-up?

Top stories from Recode

Travis Kalanick discussed compensating the driver in that viral video.

Kalanick met with Uber driver Fawzi Kamel to apologize in the days after the video surfaced.

It’s harder than ever to make comedy on the internet, says JibJab CEO Gregg Spiridellis.

On the latest episode of Recode Decode, Kara Swisher and Chorus CEO Dick Costolo talk with Spiridellis about how JibJab made some of the internet’s first viral videos, and nearly went out of business.

This is cool

This is not a drill.

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