Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Given all the data Facebook collects and its barrage of data controversies in 2018, expect the social network to be under a microscope this year.

Background: Democrats have already signaled they’re serious about pushing some data privacy legislation as they take back the House this month. Republicans won't be sitting on the sidelines. 

Missouri’s Republican Sen.-elect Josh Hawley, who initiated an investigation into Facebook’s data practices as the state’s attorney general, tells Axios' David McCabe: 

"I highly doubt that many members of the public understand the breadth, in fact probably zero members of the public understand the breadth [of Facebook’s data collection]. The data collection is massive, it is largely unknown by consumers, and what particularly concerns me is the distinct possibly — I think probability — that consumers have not consented to this collection."

ICYMI: Just 2 weeks ago, D.C.’s attorney general sued Facebook for allegedly misleading consumers about its data sharing practices.  

  • And there's pressure on the Federal Trade Commission to act, with governments in Europe and elsewhere also eager to have a say.

Go deeper: Why privacy legislation has a good chance of passing in 2019

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Parties trade election influence accusations at Big Tech hearing

Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

A Senate hearing Wednesday with Big Tech CEOs became the backdrop for Democrats and Republicans to swap accusations of inappropriate electioneering.

Why it matters: Once staid tech policy debates are quickly becoming a major focal point of American culture and political wars, as both parties fret about the impact of massive social networks being the new public square.

56 mins ago - World

Germany goes back into lockdown

Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will enact one of Europe's strictest coronavirus lockdowns since spring, closing bars and restaurants nationwide for most of November, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Germany is the latest European country to reimpose some form of lockdown measures amid a surge in cases across the continent.

How overhyping became an election meddling tool

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As online platforms and intelligence officials get more sophisticated about detecting and stamping out election meddling campaigns, bad actors are increasingly seeing the appeal of instead exaggerating their own interference capabilities to shake Americans' confidence in democracy.

Why it matters: It doesn't take a sophisticated operation to sow seeds of doubt in an already fractious and factionalized U.S. Russia proved that in 2016, and fresh schemes aimed at the 2020 election may already be proving it anew.