Aarti Shahani

Aarti Shahani is a correspondent for NPR. Based in Silicon Valley, she covers the biggest companies on earth. She is also an author. Her first book, Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares (out Oct. 1, 2019), is about the extreme ups and downs her family encountered as immigrants in the U.S. Before journalism, Shahani was a community organizer in her native New York City, helping prisoners and families facing deportation. Even if it looks like she keeps changing careers, she's always doing the same thing: telling stories that matter.

Shahani has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, a regional Edward R. Murrow Award and an Investigative Reporters & Editors Award. Her activism was honored by the Union Square Awards and Legal Aid Society. She received a master's in public policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, with generous support from the University and the Paul & Daisy Soros fellowship. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago. She is an alumna of A Better Chance, Inc.

Shahani grew up in Flushing, Queens — in one of the most diverse ZIP codes in the country.

Updated at 1:25 p.m. ET

Given Facebook's track record of broken promises over privacy, U.S. senators said Tuesday that the social media giant can't be trusted when it comes to plans to launch a digital currency.

"Facebook is dangerous," Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said at a Senate Banking Committee hearing. "Like a toddler who's gotten his hands on a book of matches, Facebook has burned down the house over and over, and called every arson a learning experience."

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Twitter is creating a warning label to flag and suppress political tweets that break the platform's rules on acceptable speech. It's a bold step for the company, which has come under sharp criticism for its handling of tweets by major political figures including President Trump.

In one Facebook post, he stands tall in yellow camouflage, decorated with badges. He promises he'll increase the salaries of teachers in Sudan. In another post, he hunches over a fire, cooking food with locals.

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Facebook says that by next year people on apps like Whatsapp and Messenger will be able to basically text payments. This news comes as regulators are asking if the tech giant is already too powerful.

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Updated at 11:29 a.m. ET

Google is quietly assuming the role of Huawei emissary, according to a senior Huawei official, in effect negotiating with the Commerce Department on behalf of the Chinese telecom giant that has been blacklisted in the U.S.

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Social media giants say they will work with heads of state to regulate extremist content that spreads online. One key player has refused to endorse the plan - the United States. NPR's Aarti Shahani reports.

Updated at 6:00 p.m. ET Friday

The ride-hailing company Uber made its stock market debut on Friday, and promptly saw share prices dip.

Uber priced its shares at $45, the lower end of the possible range, aiming for a total diluted market value of about $82 billion. After a delay of two and a half hours, trading started with the stock at $42, down more than 6 percent over that initial price.

Lolita De Sola has been singing about home. An emerging musician from Caracas, she made the hard decision last year to leave Venezuela and flee north to Mexico City. The move allowed De Sola to release her first album, Cattleya — which she says she couldn't have made at home given Venezuela's current political and economic turmoil.

"When you have a dictatorship or crisis, the first thing that goes away is culture," she says. "Because you need food. You need more, you know, basic stuff first. Then culture."

Facebook expects to pay a fine of up to $5 billion in a settlement with federal regulators. The tech giant disclosed that figure in its first-quarter 2019 financial results.

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The U.S. has long exported its culture abroad — think Coca-Cola, Hollywood and hip-hop. Facebook was once praised for spreading free-speech values. But the world is pushing back with different values, which Facebook is importing to the U.S. with the company's ban on white extremist content.

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Two words for you: flying taxis. That's right. In the not-so-distant future, you'll open your ride-hailing app and, in addition to ground options like car, SUV, scooter or bicycle, you'll see on-demand air flight.

At least that's according to the optimists at South by Southwest, the annual tech-music-film convention in Austin, Texas.

Over the weekend in Austin, Texas, South by Southwest became a major presidential forum. More than half a dozen candidates showed up to the annual music, arts and technology convention. Democrats competed with each other to be the tough-on-tech candidate, a development in line with the party's move to the left but at odds with its reliance on tech donors.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promises to bring end-to-end encryption and self-destruct features to Messenger and other Facebook apps, in a move meant to signal the tech behemoth's commitment to privacy. He announced the proposed changes in a a blog post Wednesday.

As Facebook struggles to repair its image after a global privacy scandal, the social media giant is trying to make the platform a place that Mark Zuckerberg says encourages "meaningful interactions between people."

One person who embodies Zuckerberg's message is Lola Omolola, an ebullient 41-year-old Nigerian-American woman who was highlighted at Facebook's annual conference in May.

Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET June 6

On Tuesday, California held its congressional primaries and in one largely rural district, there was a new kind of money entering politics: payments to Facebook, where messages can be sharply targeted and it's cheaper to advertise than on radio, TV or newspapers.

In California's 4th Congressional District, one political novice bought his way into relevance using the social network, and has helped shape a hotly contested Democratic race, stirring up animosity in the process.

The U.S. takes credit for creating the Internet, and the European Union seems determined to govern it. On Friday, a sweeping new directive goes into effect called the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Taken together, its 99 articles represent the biggest ever change to data privacy laws. The new rules have implications for U.S. Internet users too.

Here are answers to three questions you might have about the new law and its potential impacts.

What is GDPR?

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Despite criticism for sharing disinformation and sharing people's data, Facebook reported another quarter of record earnings. NPR's Aarti Shahani reports.

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