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Recode Daily: Inside Elizabeth Warren’s plan to break up big tech

Plus: Amazon drops its merchants, France welcomes tech entrepreneurs, and Twitter’s still figuring out how to foster healthy conversations online.

US Senator Elizabeth Warren.
US Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Shirin Ghaffary is a senior Vox correspondent covering the social media industry. Previously, Ghaffary worked at BuzzFeed News, the San Francisco Chronicle, and TechCrunch.

Senator Elizabeth Warren launched a tech offensive as part of her bid for the presidency. In a blog post Friday, Warren laid out her most detailed plan yet for reining in the power of tech giants. The plan would break up companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon; it would also identify certain companies with over $25 billion in annual revenue as “platform utilities” that are “held to stricter regulations around data sharing.” These ideas certainly won’t be well-received by many in the tech industry; some have already questioned its practicality. But it’s started a dialogue about what a stricter regulatory environment for tech will look like. The real test will be whether these ideas will resonate with voters or not. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]

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Can Twitter change the way its users behave? Twitter’s plans to measure and improve the “health” of conversations on the company’s platform — announced a year ago — are moving at a slow place, according to exclusive interviews with people working on the projects. One of the teams assigned to the project has stopped working on it, and outside research hasn’t yet started. “It’s proven a lot more difficult than we anticipated,” said David Gasca, the Twitter product executive in charge of the company’s health efforts. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]

Amazon dropped thousands of merchants it does business with overnight. These merchants previously sold their products at a wholesale price to Amazon, who would then resell it to customers. As Recode’s Jason Del Rey writes, “The out-of-nowhere move left some vendors reeling, searching for answers on why their business with Amazon changed drastically overnight.” Amazon hasn’t explained its rationale — but some say it’s part of a push for greater profitability, as it’s “widely believed” that Amazon makes more profit by selling third-party products directly to customers rather than acting as a middleman. [Jason del Rey / Recode]

France is making it easier for tech entrepreneurs to work in their country. If you’re a tech entrepreneur trying to live in France, you’re in luck. The country is opening up its rules to allow more immigrants in by overhauling its tech-worker visa program. Applicants no longer have to graduate from a master’s, or even undergraduate, program to receive a visa. The move comes at a time when it’s becoming increasingly harder for tech workers to get visas in the US under the H-1B visa program. [Romain Dillet / TechCrunch]

Top stories from Recode

Pressure is mounting on food delivery app DoorDash to change its controversial tipping policy. Around 200 current and future tech workers have signed a pledge not to work for the company until it does a better job of separating its workers’ tips from their base pay. [Shirin Ghaffary]

Kara Swisher interviews YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. Wojcicki talked about its policies around content for children, the Google Walkout, and how the company uses AI to moderate comments and recommend videos on the Recode Decode podcast. [Kara Swisher]

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Tim Cook, meet Tim Apple.

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