Oct 13, 2017

How lawmakers responded to Sheryl Sandberg's pitch

Sandberg in January. Photo: Thibault Camus / AP

In her swing through DC (which included an interview with Axios), Sheryl Sandberg made the case that Facebook is ready to work with legislators. It seems that, at least so far, concerned lawmakers are willing to wait and see before pushing for major new legislation.

The bigger picture: In various meetings, Sandberg argued that while Facebook can remove some content from its platform, it needs to tread carefully to uphold broad values of free speech. Here's how that message was received by lawmakers:

  • In her meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, according to lawmakers, Sandberg used the example of an anti-immigrant message as one that would be in a grey area as Facebook decided what to take down. Lawmakers indicated the company was facing a complicated question when balancing free speech concerns with policing the platform. "She heard that we all believe in free speech also, and there's things on there that she definitely doesn't want to see on there but she feels because of free speech and the kind of company they are that they're not going to agree with everything [posted on the platform]," said Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL)
  • Others expressed discomfort with Facebook's role as an arbiter of what is appropriate content. "If you are a member of the Klan, and you have your banners up [on Facebook], and you are not saying 'let's go lynch black people,' then just having the Klan and your banners up is extremely offensive to me and I would love to see that not be there," said Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), another member of the CBC. "But I'm sure Facebook is not going to take it down just because they're saying, 'I'm in the Klu Klux Klan.'"

The bottom line: Lawmakers don't seem ready to push regulations more aggressive than new transparency requirements for political ads — at least this early in their inquiries. "I don't think we really know enough to make any recommendations at this point," said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who met with Sandberg this week.

Go deeper: The New York Times breaks down Sandberg's tour.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,014,673 — Total deaths: 52,973 — Total recoveries: 210,335Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 244,678 — Total deaths: 5,911 — Total recoveries: 9,058Map.
  3. 2020 updates: The Democratic National Committee said its July convention will be postponed until August because of the coronavirus. A federal judge declined to delay Wisconsin's April 7 primary election.
  4. Jobs latest: Coronavirus unemployment numbers are like a natural disaster hitting every state.
  5. Public health latest: Anthony Fauci called for all states across the U.S. to issue stay-at-home orders. The FDA will allow blood donations from gay men after 3-month waiting period, citing "urgent need."
  6. Business latest: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said oil companies are eligible for aid from new lending programs the Federal Reserve is setting up, but not direct loans from his department.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier who sounded alarm about coronavirus.
  8. 1 future thing: In developing countries, consequences of COVID-19 could be deeper and far more difficult to recover from.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Mark Meadows considers new White House press secretary

Photos: Alyssa Farah, Defense Department; Stephanie Grisham, Alex Wong/Getty Images; Kayleigh McEnany, Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has privately discussed bringing on Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah or Trump campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany as a new White House press secretary, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: Meadows' start on Tuesday as Trump's new chief presents a chance to overhaul a press shop that's kept a low profile since President Trump ended the tradition of daily press secretary briefings.

CNN: Fauci advises all states issue stay-at-home orders

Dr. Anthony Fauci listens to President Trump speak during a briefing on April 1. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci recommended on Thursday that all states across the U.S. implement stay-at-home orders, at a CNN town hall.

Why it matters: The recommendation stands in contrast to President Trump's calls for "flexibility." Nearly 4o states have issued stay-at-home orders to promote social distancing as a way to combat the novel coronavirus — but the orders vary in strictness and duration.

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