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Mary Altaffer / AP

IBM threw its support behind an anti-sex-trafficking bill that online platforms such as Google and Facebook are lobbying against.

IBM's move: In a letter to bill sponsors Sens. Rob Portman and Richard Blumenthal, IBM's top lobbyist Chris Padilla wrote that, while the company is optimistic about the positive benefits of technology, "we also support appropriate, balanced measures to prevent new technologies and online services from being abused by criminals."

Between the lines: In joining other tech companies like Oracle and Hewlett Packard Enterprise in publicly supporting the bill, IBM distances itself from the position of the major platform companies that oppose the bill, which Google and Facebook say undermines their business model by making them legally liable for some content users post on their sites.

Of course, the companies throwing their weight behind the bill aren't platforms that host user-generated content. So they avoid any real business risk while still making a smart political move in supporting a bill to clamp down on the emotionally charged issue of sex trafficking

Meanwhile: Advocacy group NetChoice, which represents Facebook and Google, is taking a different tack by suggesting that law enforcement simply needs to better enforce existing laws to combat sex trafficking. "The DOJ already has all the power and permission it needs to prosecute trafficking sites and other bad actors like notorious sex trafficking website Backpage," NetChoice said in a press release.

Go deeper: Axios' David McCabe breaks down this issue in more detail here.

Go deeper

5 mins ago - Podcasts

Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing two emergency use authorization requests for COVID-19 vaccines, with an outside advisory committee scheduled to meet next Thursday to review data from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Axios Re:Cap digs in with former FDA commissioner Rob Calif about the EUA process, the science and who should make the final call.

10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The recovery needs rocket fuel

Data: BLS. Chart: Axios Visuals

Friday's deeply disappointing jobs report should light a fire under Congress, which has dithered despite signs the economy is struggling to kick back into gear.

Driving the news: President-elect Biden said Friday afternoon in Wilmington that he supports another round of $1,200 checks.

1 hour ago - Health

CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use"

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The CDC is urging “universal face mask use” for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing recent case spikes as the U.S. has entered a phase of “high-level transmission” before winter officially begins.

Why it matters: Daily COVID-related deaths across the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday. Face coverings have been shown to increase protection of the wearer and those around them, despite some Americans' reluctance to use them.