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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Facebook said Thursday that it took down roughly 900,000 posts related to attempted drug sales or otherwise linked to drugs in the first quarter of 2019.

Why it matters: Some critics of Facebook and other social platforms say they haven't done enough to combat the opioid trade fueling a nationwide epidemic.

By the numbers: Facebook also said it removed around 603,000 posts in the last quarter of 2018 for violating its policies around content linked to drugs.

  • 83.3% of the posts in question were removed without being reported by a user — a relevant number as Facebook looks to prove its artificial intelligence-powered systems can help tame its sprawling platform.
  • This is the first time Facebook has released hard numbers on how many posts it removes because of violations of its policies for content linked to drug sales.
  • The data, which will be part of a report released later Thursday, does not include Instagram and WhatsApp.

The big picture: Lawmakers have put pressure on Facebook and other Silicon Valley companies because they say the firms haven't done enough to curb opioid sales.

  • The social giant rolled out a partnership this week with anti-addiction groups that focuses on combating the stigma around talking about opioid abuse.
  • A Capitol Hill event launching the program was attended by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who has been a persistent critic of the company.

What they're saying: Manchin said after the event that he appreciated Facebook's efforts.

  • But he added that if the companies didn't continue to make changes to address the opioid crisis, he was still prepared to push for policy changes that could open up the platforms to legal liability for opioid-related content.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
7 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Laurene Powell Jobs' $3.5 billion climate campaign

Laurene Powell Jobs in Washington in 2019. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Laurene Powell Jobs, president of Emerson Collective, is investing $3.5 billion in her new climate-action group, the Waverley Street Foundation — all to be spent in 10 years, as a way to show urgency on the issue.

  • Then the group will sunset.

The big picture: The foundation "will focus on initiatives and ideas that will aid underserved communities who are most impacted by climate change," an official tells Axios.

German elections: After close result, jockeying to replace Merkel begins

Data: Preliminary results from German Federal Returning Officer; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) pulled off a come-from-behind victory in Sunday’s elections, 10 seats ahead of the Christian Democrats (CDU), which failed to finish top for the first time in 16 years.

State of play: SPD leader Olaf Scholz has said he’ll seek to form a government, but so too has Armin Laschet, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s successor as CDU leader.

3 hours ago - Health

Biden gets COVID-19 booster shot on live television

President Biden received a Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine booster shot on live television on Monday, while also urging Americans to get vaccinated.

Driving the news: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week recommended Pfizer booster shots for millions of people, including those 65 years and older and individuals at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

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