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Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook is drawing fire for a post defending its decision not to ban InfoWars and other entities that repeatedly post debunked conspiracy theories.

Why it matters: Facebook has promised to boost the information quality on its social network. It has also been struggling to find more favor with conservative activists and groups who accuse it of bias against them.

What they're saying:

  • The New York Times' Kevin Roose: "I just don’t understand your position. In February, you called crisis actor hoaxes 'abhorrent' and said you would remove them. But now you’re saying they shouldn’t be removed, just demoted?"
  • Facebook's Twitter response: "We see Pages on both the left and the right pumping out what they consider opinion or analysis – but others call fake news. We believe banning these Pages would be contrary to the basic principles of free speech....We just don’t think banning Pages for sharing conspiracy theories or false news is the right way to go."
  • BuzzFeed's Mat Honan: "The Facebook comments and tweets are either astoundingly naive or cynical. Either way, remarkable how out of touch they are after what happened on their watch over the past two years."
  • Plenty of people also pointed to Facebook's current ad campaign, which criticizes the scourge of "fake news," as well as to past company statements pledging to remove such posts. "Your ads literally say fake news is not your friend. Which is it?" wrote one commenter.

Our thought bubble: There's a case to be made for Facebook to use its algorithms to demote, rather than ban, low-quality content. However, critics say there should be some point at which content is removed entirely, or the propagation of misinformation never ends.

The bottom line: Controversies like this latest one around InfoWars show just how difficult it is for Facebook to thread the needle between fighting misinformation and placating critics who cry "censorship."

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Coast Guard searches for 39 people after boat capsizes off Florida coast

A U.S. Coast Guard ship leaving its base in Miami Beach, Florida, in July. Photo: AP/Marta Lavandier

U.S. Coast Guard crews were searching into the night for 39 people whose boat sank off Florida's coast over the weekend after traveling from the Bahamas.

The big picture: A "good Samaritan" contacted the Coast Guard about 8 a.m. Tuesday to say they "rescued a man clinging to a capsized vessel" 45 miles east of Fort Pierce, per a tweet from the agency, which noted it was dealing with "a suspected human smuggling venture."

Scoop: Race to lead NRCC kicks off

Reps. Darin LaHood (left) and Richard Hudson. Photos: Al Drago/Getty Images (LaHood) and Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Reps. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) and Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) are both telling colleagues they plan to run for chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee for the 2024 cycle, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are confident they'll win the House majority back this fall, and the early jockeying to lead the caucus' fundraising apparatus is just another indicator of their optimism.

Scoop: White House plans expedited resettlement for Afghan refugees

Afghan Special Immigrant Visa holders enter a processing center at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar, last August. Photo: Sgt. Jimmie Baker/U.S. Army via Getty Images

President Biden's advisers are crafting a plan to accelerate bringing potentially thousands of Afghans to the U.S. from Qatar, according to a source with direct knowledge of the administration's internal deliberations on the subject.

Why it matters: As U.S. military leaders plan for a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, the administration is still struggling to handle the aftereffects of its chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal. One challenge: how to care for tens of thousands of displaced Afghans — many of whom helped the U.S. fight its longest war.