Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A collection of progressive groups will launch a six figure digital ad offensive Monday telling the Federal Trade Commission to break up Facebook’s social networking empire.

The big picture: Facebook’s new reality is being a political punching bag for those on the left, who want it broken up, and the right, who accuse it of systemic bias. But the company continues to do well financially.

The groups are asking for the FTC to do three things:

  • Break off Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger into their own companies separate from Facebook proper.
  • Make it possible for users on competing social networks to communicate with one another.
  • Implement strong privacy rules.

The gritty details:

  • The coalition will run digital ads with messages like “Facebook keeps violating your privacy. Break it up.” and “Mark Zuckerberg has a scary amount of power. We need to take it back.”
  • Zuckerberg’s users will see them: they’re running on Facebook and Instagram, as well as Twitter and more traditional display ad slots.
  • Groups involved range from the anti-concentration Open Markets Institute to broader progressive groups like Demand Progress and MoveOn Civic Action.

Why now? The push coincides with the start of a new era at the FTC under Chairman Joe Simons, who has expressed some willingness to take on tech but also appointed a lawyer who represented Facebook to a key consumer protection position. The agency is currently investigating whether Facebook violated a previous legal agreement as a result of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Antitrust concerns have also been raised about Google and Amazon.

  • Some commissioners are likely sympathetic to taking big action on Big Tech. “FTC orders are not suggestions,” new Democratic Commissioner Rohit Chopra said earlier this month, with the questions about Facebook’s deal with the FTC looming.

But, but, but: None of the new FTC commissioners have gone as far as to say that any of the giants of Silicon Valley, including Facebook, should be broken up.

The other side: The right is just as willing to take on Facebook right now. Conservative lawmakers spent a hearing last month talking about charges that the social network and its competitors have silenced conservative voices.

Facebook has noticed the pressure, bringing in outsiders to look at the allegations of political bias and audit its platform’s impact on underrepresented communities.

  • Pushing back against this populist campaign, a Facebook spokesman told Axios that regulators reviewed Facebook's acquisitions and concluded they didn't harm competition. "The average person uses eight different apps to communicate and stay connected," he said, and Facebook operates only a few of those.
  • "We support smart privacy regulation and efforts that make it easier for people to take their data to competing services," the spokesman added. "But rather than wait, we’ve simplified our privacy controls and introduced new ways for people to access and delete their data, or to take their data with them."

Go deeper

Students vandalize and steal from schools for viral TikTok challenge

TikTok logo displayed on a phone screen in Krakow, Poland on July 18, 2021. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A viral TikTok challenge is leading students nationwide to shatter mirrors, steal fire alarms and intentionally clog toilets, The Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: Dubbed the the “Devious Licks challenge, students are showing off their "devious licks" on TikTok — with a sped-up version of "Ski Ski BasedGod" by rapper Lil’ B playing in the background.

Axios-Ipsos poll: People of color face more environmental threats

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±2.5% margin of error; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Americans of color are much less likely than white Americans to experience good air quality or tap water or enough trees or green space in their communities, and they're more likely to face noise pollution and litter, a new Axios-Ipsos poll finds.

The big picture: Our national survey shows Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than their white counterparts to live near major highways or industrial or manufacturing plants — and to have dealt in the past year with water-boil notices or power outages lasting more than 24 hours.

18 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.