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Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee covers technology policy, including copyright and patent law, telecom regulation, privacy, and free speech. He also writes about the economics of technology. He has previously written for Ars Technica and Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter or send him email.

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Brian Fung

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

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Posted at 08:48 AM ET, 05/20/2011

The Circuit: Facebook IPO ‘inevitable,’ USA Today pans AT&T/T-Mobile, Comcast restores money after critical tweet

LEADING THE DAY: On the heels of social-networking site LinkedIn’s monster first day on the market, Facebook chief operations officer Sheryl Sandberg said at a Reuters conference Thursday that the social network’s IPO is “inevitable.”

LinkedIn now has a valuation of nearly $9 billion after its shares rose as high as $122.70 before closing at $94.25, The Washington Post reported. Many wonder if those prices will stay or if the social network will see a drop soon, as happened to Renren, the Chinese site dubbed “the Chinese Facebook.”

Speaking of China, Sandberg also hinted Facebook would try to enter China in the future as it is “ impossible to think about connecting the whole world right now without also connecting China.”

USA Today opposes AT&T, T-Mobile merger: An editorial in USA Today blasts the proposed AT&T and T-Mobile merger as a step toward a duopoly in the wireless industry that would lead to poor customer service and higher prices.

“Allowing AT&T to dominate the wireless market would be a step back to the future,” the editorial said.

Comcast pulls funding after critical tweet: Comcast said it will reinstate the funding it pulled from the non-profit Reel Grrls, a film camp for teen girls, following an employee tweet questioning the company’s decision to hire FCC Commission Meredith Baker, The Washington Post reported. Following the tweet, Comcast Vice President Steve Kipp told Reel Grrls the company wouldn’t contribute the $18,000 it had promised for the film camp. Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice told the Post that the company is sorry and will reinstate the money.

Baker, who approved the merger between Comcast and NBC Universal only a few months ago, will join the company on June 3.

Senate panel presses Apple, Google, Facebook on privacy: Senators from the Commerce consumer protection subcomittee asked Apple, Google and Facebook to explain their mobile privacy policies — particularly toward children — in a hearing Thursday.

Commerce chair Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) told FTC Consumer Protection bureau chief David Vladeck that the agency must move quickly on issuing mobile privacy rules, to which Vladeck responded he heard the senator “loud and clear.” Rockfeller also urged the agency to look closely at children’s privacy issues..

He also criticized Facebook over a Consumer Reports study that found millions of children on the site are under 13, the site’s age minimum, and suggested that the company lacks “social values” because of the age of its executives.

Verizon dropping unlimited plans: Verizon chief operations office Fran Shammo said that the company will drop its unlimited plans in favor of tiered pricing. In an interview with Reuters, Shammo said that the company does, however, expect to introduce family data plans. The executive also said that the next Verizon iPhone will work in more countries but that he did not know if it would include LTE technology.

Celebrating ten years of Apple stores: A California man traveled across the country to Apple’s first-ever store Tysons Corner, Va. in a pilgrimage to celebrate its tenth anniversary, The Washington Post reported. Gary Allen has visited nearly 90 Apple stores around the world including stores in Beijing, London and Paris. When he arrived at the store, he was greeted with the cheers of Apple employees who had followed his journey online.

By  |  08:48 AM ET, 05/20/2011

Tags:  Facebook, LinkedIn, AT&T, T-Mobile, FCC, FTC, Apple, Google, Verizon, Wireless

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