Facebook office in London. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

Following Google's move in the face of employee pressure, Facebook is ending its mandatory arbitration for employee claims of sexual harassment, as the Wall Street Journal first reported and the company confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: Unlike public lawsuits, forced arbitration for complaints of sexual harassment (as for those of discrimination) has been widely criticized as a tactic to silence victims and hide misconduct within companies. Earlier this year, Uber—followed by Lyft—made similar changes in response to ongoing criticism of the arbitration requirement from employees, drivers, and passengers.

Facebook is also updating its policy around relationships within the company to now require that any executive at the director level or above disclose relationships even if it's with an employee not in their chain or reporting.

Yes, but: Just like Google, Facebook's policy change doesn't apply to contractors, as they're bound by their agreements with their respective employment agencies. Facebook's policy change also applies only to individual claims, though a group of individuals with lawsuits in court could form a class, says a spokesman.

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Updated 17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 18,543,662 — Total deaths: 700,714 — Total recoveries — 11,143,031Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 4,771,236 — Total deaths: 156,807 — Total recoveries: 1,528,979 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. States: New York City health commissioner resigns in protest of De Blasio's coronavirus response — Local governments go to war over schools.
  4. Public health: 59% of Americans support nationwide 2-week stay-at-home order in NPR poll.
  5. Politics: Trump's national security adviser returns to work after coronavirus recovery Republicans push to expand small business loan program.
  6. Sports: Indy 500 to be held without fansRafael Nadal opts out of U.S. Open.
Updated 21 mins ago - World

Azar to lead delegation to Taiwan in first high-level U.S. visit in decades

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a June briefing in Washington, DC. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Tuesday night he will lead a delegation to Taiwan "in the coming days."

Why it matters: It's the highest-level visit by a U.S. cabinet official to Taiwan since 1979. Azar is also the first U.S. Cabinet member to visit the island state in six years. The visit has angered China, which views Taiwan as part of its territory. Chinese officials accused the U.S. early Wednesday of "endangering peace" with the visit, AFP reports.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

At least 100 killed, 4,000 injured after massive explosion rocks Beirut

Photo: Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images

A major explosion has slammed central Beirut, Lebanon, damaging buildings as far as several miles away and injuring scores of people.

Driving the news: At least 100 people have been killed and over 4,000 injured in the blast — and the death toll is likely to rise, the Lebanese Red Cross said, per AP. Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the explosions occurred at a warehouse that had been storing 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate for the past six years.