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Photo: Mandel Ngan-Pool via Getty Images

The chairman of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee Wednesday told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that Facebook has grown too big to contain dangerous content.

Why it matters: Facebook has grappled with high-profile cases of dangerous misinformation, such as a recent video with debunked coronavirus information that got to 20 million views before Facebook took it down. Rep. David Cicilline is suggesting Facebook as currently constituted may be fundamentally incapable of responsible moderation.

What he's saying: “Your platform is so big, even with the right policies in place, you can’t contain deadly content," the Rhode Island Democrat said. "Frankly, I believe it strikes at the very heart of American democracy."

  • Cicilline pointed out that inflammatory and false articles often get a lot of engagement on Facebook. Keeping people on the Facebook platform is a key business strategy of the company and helps it serve more ads.

The other side: Zuckerberg responded that Facebook has a responsibility to limit the spread of harmful content and that there's no incentive for the platform to house that kind of content.

Go deeper

Nov 5, 2020 - Technology

Facebook groups are turning into election disinformation vectors

Screenshot: German Marshall Fund

Public and private Facebook groups are becoming vectors of disinformation about ballot counting, as the results of the presidential race remain unclear and states finish tallying votes under individual state laws and timelines.

Driving the news: Facebook took down a public group called "Stop the Steal" that quickly amassed hundreds of thousands of members Thursday. Yet conspiracy theories and false claims continue to circulate widely in other groups, including private ones predating the election that have been repurposed as disinformation repositories.

Tech's misinformation fight: Winning the battle, not the war

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Although tech platforms have made good on promises to check false election claims from political figures — up to and including the president — those efforts haven't turned the tide in the broader war on misinformation.

Between the lines: Dedicated spreaders of misinformation are finding ways around platforms' rules. Sometimes enforcement actions themselves provide fresh fuel for otherwise baseless conspiracy theories that the media, Big Tech and Democrats are colluding to steal the election from President Trump.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.

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