Thibault Camus / AP

The N.Y. Times leads with an investigation by Scott Shane into "The Fake Americans Russia Created to Influence the Election":

  • "The Russian information attack on the election did not stop with the hacking and leaking of Democratic emails ... Far less splashy ... was Russia's experimentation on Facebook and Twitter."
  • "On Twitter, as on Facebook, Russian fingerprints are on hundreds or thousands of fake accounts that regularly posted anti-Clinton messages. Many were automated Twitter accounts, called bots, that sometimes fired off identical messages seconds apart."
  • Why it matters: "The fakery may have added only modestly to the din of genuine American voices in the pre-election melee, but it helped fuel a fire of anger and suspicion in a polarized country."

Taking in this week's new revelations, WashPost media columnistMargaret Sullivan writes on the Style front that "there's increasing reason to believe" that Facebook made Trump president:

  • "[F]or all its power and wealth, Facebook is a terribly opaque enterprise. (It recently hired former New York Times public editor Liz Spayd, a former Post managing editor [and, like Sullivan, a former N.Y. Times public editor], to help with 'transparency.'")
  • "Facebook ... has never acknowledged the glaringly obvious — that it is essentially a media company, where many of its 2 billion active monthly users get the majority of their news and information."
  • "Would Donald Trump be president today if Facebook didn't exist? Although there is a long list of reasons for his win, there's increasing reason to believe the answer is no."

Be smart: In an Oval Office interview with the Financial Times 70 days into his presidency, Trump said: "Without the tweets, I wouldn't be here." Trump's authentic, direct communication with voters is the sunny side of his social-media lift. This week's revelations uncover a darker side, with the potential that a vast swath of Americans were unwittingly manipulated.

Be even smarter: We can't stress enough how much public and political opinion is shifting against the darlings of Silicon Valley. Watch for intensifying calls for new regulations on Facebook and others.

Go deeper

Jeff Sessions loses Alabama Senate primary runoff

Jeff Sessions. Photo: Michael DeMocker/Getty Images

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions has lost the Republican nomination for Senate to Tommy Tuberville in Alabama in Tuesday night’s primary runoff, AP reports.

Why it matters: Sessions had been the underdog in the race against former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, who had the backing of President Trump. Tuberville will now face off against Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) in November, who is considered to have one of the most vulnerable Democratic Senate seats in the country.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 13,273,537 — Total deaths: 577,006 — Total recoveries — 7,367,106Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 3,424,304 — Total deaths: 136,432 — Total recoveries: 1,049,098 — Total tested: 41,764,557Map.
  3. Politics: Biden welcomes Trump wearing mask in public but warns "it’s not enough"
  4. Public health: Four former CDC heads say Trump's undermining of agency puts lives at risk — CDC director: U.S. could get coronavirus "under control" in 4–8 weeks if all wear masks.

Bank CEOs brace for worsening economic scenario

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: J. Lawler Duggan/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Wells Fargo swung to its first loss since the financial crisis — while JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup reported significantly lower profits from a year earlier — as the banks set aside billions of dollars more in the second quarter for loans that may go bad.

Why it matters: The cumulative $28 billion in loan loss provisions that banks have so far announced they’re reserving serves as a signal they’re preparing for a colossal wave of loan defaults as the economy slogs through a coronavirus-driven downturn.