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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

CPAC Republicans choose conservatism over constituents

Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

CPAC proved such a draw, conservative Republicans chose the conference over their constituents.

Why it matters: More than a dozen House Republicans voted by proxy on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in Washington so they could speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC. And Sen. Ted Cruz skipped an Air Force One flight as President Biden flew to Cruz's hometown of Houston to survey storm damage.

Border Democrat warns Biden about immigrant fallout

Henry Cuellar (right). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

A Democratic lawmaker representing a border district warned the Biden administration against easing up too much on unauthorized immigrants, citing their impact on his constituents, local hospitals and their potential to spread the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told Axios he supports President Biden. But the moderate said he sees the downsides of efforts to placate pro-immigrant groups, an effort that threatens to blow up on the administration.

In CPAC speech, Trump says he won't start a 3rd party

Trump at CPAC on Feb. 28 in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Courtesy of C-SPAN.

In his first public speech since leaving office, former President Trump told the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that he would not start a third party because "we have the Republican party."

Why it matters: The former president aims to cement himself as Republicans' "presumptive 2024 nominee" as his top contenders — including former members of his administration — face the challenge of running against the GOP's most popular politician.