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Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

More than 250 Facebook employees have signed a letter protesting the company's policy allowing politicians to buy ads that make false statements, the New York Times' Mike Isaac reports.

Why it matters: As the 2020 election looms, critics fear the company's policies and security measures are insufficient to prevent a repeat of 2016 — when misinformation, some directed from overseas, ran rampant on the social network. Facebook's leadership has defended its policy as a protection of free speech in a democracy, even as politicians push the policy's boundaries to try to expose its flaws.

What they're saying:

"Free speech and paid speech are not the same thing. Misinformation affects us all. Our current policies on fact checking people in political office, or those running for office, are a threat to what FB stands for. We strongly object to this policy as it stands. It doesn’t protect voices, but instead allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy."
— Facebook employees' letter
Facebook’s culture is built on openness so we appreciate our employees voicing their thoughts on this important topic. We remain committed to not censoring political speech, and will continue exploring additional steps we can take to bring increased transparency to political ads.
— Facebook spokesperson Bertie Thomson

Read the letter.

Go deeper: Facebook gives politicians a free pass to lie

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comment from Facebook.

Go deeper

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.