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Expand chart
Data: Signal AI; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

New data finds that Facebook has been mentioned in more online stories in the U.S. in the past year than all of its major tech competitors combined.

Why it matters: Press scrutiny of Facebook has become so intense and negative that the tech giant is reportedly planning to rename itself as soon as next week to signal that it's more than just a social media company.

Details: The data from Signal AI, a platform that measures article mentions, finds that coverage of Facebook began to increase significantly after the Wall Street Journal began publishing a series of articles based on thousands of pages of leaked documents from a whistleblower.

  • The whistleblower, a former Facebook product manager named Frances Haugen, has remained in the news cycle via interviews and appearances at government hearings, helping to fuel the press onslaught.

The big picture: Facebook has long been the target of intense press coverage. But revelations over the past year about the role it played in spreading misinformation around the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic have made it an even bigger target.

  • While companies like Amazon and Apple have faced their own crises, they've managed to escape the level of coverage saturation that Facebook has experienced.

Details: Signal AI compared mentions of Facebook in top U.S. digital, print and broadcast news outlets with mentions of tech and social media competitors Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Snapchat, Netflix and Reddit. Instagram, which Facebook owns, was categorized separately.

Go deeper

Georgia newspapers take Google, Facebook to court

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Georgia newspaper companies and their counterparts around the country have been filing antitrust civil action lawsuits against Google and Facebook for the past year, alleging the two firms have monopolized the digital advertising market, constricting revenue that would otherwise go to local news.

Why it matters: What started as a small-town effort to take a stand against Big Tech has turned into a national movement, with over 200 newspapers involved across dozens of states, Axios' Sara Fischer and Kristal Dixon report.

California father and son accused of "reckless arson" in Calder Fire

Firefighters at the Caldor Fire along Highway 89 west of Lake Tahoe, California, in September. Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California officials said they arrested a father and son Wednesday on suspicion of starting the Caldor Fire, which threatened the Lake Tahoe area as it burned for over two months earlier this year. They deny any wrongdoing.

Why it matters: The wildfire was the 15th-biggest ever recorded in California, razing more than 1,000 structures, forcing thousands to evacuate and injuring five people as it burned across nearly 222,000 acres of land in El Dorado, Amador and Alpine counties.

New Zealand aims to create smoke-free generation with tobacco ban

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a December news conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand officials announced Thursday legislative plans to outlaw smoking by making it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to the next generation as part of a lifetime ban.

Why it matters: "People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco," Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement announcing the proposed law, part of the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.