Oct 11, 2017

Facebook will provide more data on Russian pages, lawmaker says

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2016. Photo: Mark Schiefelbein / AP

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday that Facebook is "committed to providing" information related to the free content published by the same Russian pages that bought 3,000 ads focused on divisive issues before and after the election. A second source close to the situation confirmed Facebook had committed to providing the information.

Why it matters: The ads bought by the pages were one half of the puzzle. The "organic" content posted by the pages — and information on who saw and engaged with it — is the other. Some believe those posts may have been seen by far more people than the estimated 10 million that Facebook says viewed the ads.

The details:

  • "I asked about not just the advertisements but all the organic content that went along with them or was independent of them, and they are committed to providing that information to us," Schiff, whose committee is investigating Russian election meddling, said.
  • "I don't know the answer to that," Schiff said when asked whether the committee would get every post from the roughly 470 pages and accounts Facebook has identified as having been behind the ads, "but obviously we're going to want to get a complete sense of what the Russians were doing on their platform and others, not just the advertising but all the downstream consequences of that advertising, all the things they were pushing out through non-advertising means on these platforms."
  • The source close to the situation said that congressional investigators were talking with Facebook about obtaining the content posted by the pages as well as information on its likes, comments and shares — and how often content from the pages was shared.
  • Schiff declined to say when Facebook would provide the information. Facebook declined to comment.

Go deeper: Recode reported earlier this month on how Facebook hadn't yet handed over data on organic posts to congressional investigators. Schiff and the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee also said Wednesday the committee would release the ads bought by the pages.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 657,691 — Total deaths: 30,438 — Total recoveries: 139,263.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 119,748 — Total deaths: 1,991 — Total recoveries: 921.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump is considering a quarantine on New York, parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. He signed a $2 trillion stimulus bill to give businesses and U.S. workers financial relief.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters that supported Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are now balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Infant dies after testing positive for coronavirus in Chicago

Hospital staff working inside a COVID-19 screening tent in Chicago on March 26. Photo: Jim Vondruska/NurPhoto via Getty Images

An infant less than one year old died in Chicago, Illinois after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, the state health department said on Saturday.

Why it matters: The death would mark the first reported infant mortality from COVID-19 in the U.S. The fatality rate for the novel coronavirus in the U.S. is highest among those over 85 years old, per the CDC.

Trump weighs quarantine of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump said on Saturday he is considering a "short term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut — states that have already taken steps to quarantine residents and promote social distancing.

The big picture: With 112,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health