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Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Facebook issued a civil rights report on Sunday, touting its recent progress and pledging to remain vigilant on efforts to manipulate either the 2020 election or census.

Details: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a blog post announcing the report the social media giant is introducing a new policy in the fall that protects against misinformation related to the census. "We'll also partner with non-partisan groups to help promote proactive participation in the census," she said.

"To protect elections, we have a team ... already working to ban ads that discourage people from voting, and we expect to finalize a new policy and its enforcement before the 2019 gubernatorial elections. This is a direct response to the types of ads we saw on Facebook in 2016. It builds on the work we’ve done over the past year to prevent voter suppression and stay ahead of people trying to misuse our products."
— Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg

Why it matters: Facebook embarked on the audit to address allegations that it censors conservative voices and discriminates against minority groups. Facebook hopes the independent audit and formal advising partnership will show it takes these issues seriously. Meanwhile, the election and census-protection efforts are extensions of existing work in that area.

What they're saying: The Change the Terms coalition, made up of 40 nonprofit, civil rights, human rights and other organizations that have previously criticized Facebook on civil rights issues, published a blog post in response to Facebook's audit findings with comments from member groups.

  • Some said the report shows the company is being responsive and making progress, but other groups said more work is needed, pointing to its response to the Facebook live stream of the fatal New Zealand mosque shootings as an example of how it can be slow to act.

Go deeper: Facebook commits to civil rights audit, political bias review

Go deeper

Biden threatens new sanctions against Ethiopian officials over Tigray conflict

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Biden on Friday signed an executive order allowing the Treasury and State Departments to impose sanctions against Ethiopian officials "responsible for, or complicit in, prolonging the conflict" in the Tigray region.

Driving the news: Hundreds of thousands of people are facing famine conditions in Tigray, but less than 10 percent of the needed humanitarian supplies has reached the region over the last month "due to the obstruction of aid access" by the Ethiopian government, according to Biden administration officials.

Top general: Calls to China were "perfectly within the duties" of job

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley told the Associated Press on Friday that calls with his Chinese counterpart during the final months of Donald Trump's presidency were "perfectly within the duties and responsibilities" of his job.

Why it matters: In his first public comments on the calls that have prompted critics to question whether the general went too far, Milley maintained that such conversations are "routine," per AP.

The consumer's massive "war chest"

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Economists expect the pace of economic growth to cool off now that government transfer payments like stimulus checks and emergency unemployment benefits are in the rearview mirror. But evidence suggests that the U.S. consumer is sitting on a lot of financial firepower that could be a key driver of growth in the quarters to come.

Why it matters: U.S. consumer spending is massive, representing about 70% of GDP.

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