Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

After a brutal week for Facebook that saw executive departures, a massive outage and the disclosure of a criminal investigation, the weekend offered the company little respite.

The state of play: There were new revelations in the long-running Cambridge Analytica saga, as well as fresh concerns in the wake of the New Zealand shooting over the company's role in fomenting and amplifying extremism.

Why it matters: 10 days ago, CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a massive reorientation of Facebook's priorities in the direction of private encrypted messaging. But rather than change the narrative, the time since that announcement has been filled with a familiar drumbeat of bad news.

The latest:

  • The Guardian reports that Facebook board member Marc Andreessen met with Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie back in the summer of 2016, raising further questions of who knew what and when at Facebook. Andreessen denies any such meeting.
  • Meanwhile, another figure in the scandal, researcher Aleksandr Kogan, sued Facebook for defamation. Kogan maintains he's being made a scapegoat for Facebook's own missteps.
  • Facebook came under intense scrutiny for the role it and other social networks played in spreading video of the Christchurch mosque shooting Friday.
  • The company's announcement that it pre-emptively blocked 1.2 million out of 1.5 million attempts to upload the video highlighted the magnitude of the challenge it faces. But it did little to quell concern that the company seems unable to stop its platform from being used to spread extremist violence.

ICYMI: All this follows what had already been an especially rough week, even for a company that has grown accustomed to negative stories. Last week saw...

The bottom line: Facebook has been through a lot of rough weeks without losing its grip on advertisers, customers and investors, and the latest developments may not change that equation.

  • Zuckerberg's challenge now is to figure out if he can use the ongoing PR nightmares to speed, rather than undermine, the transformation he wants.

Go deeper

NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

New York City's coronavirus positivity rate has ticked up to 3.25%, its highest since June, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The jump — from 1.93% on Monday — came on the first day that public elementary classrooms reopened in the city after months of closures, but guidelines state that all public schools will have to shut if the citywide seven-day positivity rate stays above 3%.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 33,423,249 — Total deaths: 1,003,008 — Total recoveries: 23,199,564Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 7,152,221 — Total deaths: 205,268 — Total recoveries: 2,794,608 — Total tests: 102,342,416Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. Media: Fauci: Some of what Fox News reports about COVID-19 is "outlandish"
  5. States: Cuomo extends New York moratorium on evictions until 2021.
  6. World: More than 1 million people have now died from coronavirus — India the second country after U.S. to hit 6 million cases.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

AppHarvest is going public

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

AppHarvest, a Morehead, Ky.-based developer of large-scale tomato greenhouses, is going public via a reverse merger with a SPAC called Novus Capital (Nasdaq: NOVSU). The company would have an initial market value of around $1 billion.

Why it's a BFD: This is about to be a "unicorn" based in one of America's poorest congressional districts. AppHarvest CEO Jonathan Webb tells Axios that the company will employ around 350 people in Morehead by year-end, and that its location allows its product to reach 75% of the continental U.S. within a one-day drive.