Aug 29, 2018

Facebook employee group champions "political diversity"

Facebook's headquarters in California. Photo: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images

A small group of Facebook employees, frustrated with what they see as a liberal "monoculture," have joined a Facebook group promoting "political diversity," per the New York Times' Kate Conger and Sheera Frenkel.

Why it matters: Facebook and other tech companies are under pressure from conservative lawmakers and President Trump, who say their products reflects Silicon Valley's liberal outlook — despite there being little evidence of intentional bias.

Facebook engineer Brian Amerige created the internal group, called "FB'ers for Political Diversity.

  • ""While the problem isn’t unique to us, we are entrusted by a great part of the world to be impartial and transparent carriers of people’s stories, ideas, and commentary," Amerige wrote in a message to colleagues that was published by the Times. "Congress doesn’t think we can do this. The President doesn’t think we can do this. And like them or not, we deserve that criticism."
  • The group has reportedly caused concern with some other employees.
  • Last year, Google faced controversy after an engineer circulated a memo suggesting that gender inequities in pay and promotion might have natural causes. The company fired the employee, James Damore.

Reality check: Facebook has thousands of employees. The Times reported that Amerige's group has "more than 100" members from within the company's ranks.

What they're saying: "It is important to us at Facebook to foster diversity of political thought inside our company," said a Facebook spokesperson in a statement. "On Day One of Facebook’s new hire orientation in Menlo Park, everyone hears from our chief diversity officer about the importance of diversity and how to have respectful conversations with people who have different viewpoints."

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Fed temporarily lifts Wells Fargo's growth restrictions

Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it will temporarily lift Wells Fargo’s growth restrictions, which were put in place following the bank’s customer abuse scandals.

Why it matters: The Fed’s only reason for lifting the cap is so Wells Fargo can dole out more loans to struggling small businesses as part of the government’s coronavirus aid package. Earlier this week, the bank said it could only lend a total of $10 billion, thanks to Fed restrictions that it can’t grow its assets beyond $1.95 trillion.

Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 1,450,343 — Total deaths: 83,568 — Total recoveries: 308,617Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 399,979 — Total deaths: 12,912 — Total recoveries: 22,539Map.
  3. Business updates: Roughly one-third of U.S. apartment renters didn't make April payments.
  4. Federal government latest: The U.S. has begun to see "glimmers of hope" despite its highest recorded number of deaths in 24 hours, Anthony Fauci said.
  5. Public health latest: Surgeon General Jerome Adams highlighted the disproportionate impact the illness is having on African-American communities.
  6. World latest: Indians look to Taiwan amid China's coronavirus missteps
  7. 🚌 Public transit: Systems across the country are experiencing ridership collapse, squeezed funding streams and slow recovery from the pandemic.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Bernie Sanders suspends presidential campaign

Photo: ANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Wednesday that he is suspending his presidential campaign.

The big picture: It's an end to the campaign of the leading progressive in the race — and the candidate who seemed to be the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination just a few months ago. It also makes Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee four months before the party's convention in Milwaukee.