Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Facebook faces a raft of new criticisms in the wake of a New York Times story about the social network's program of sharing user data with smartphone makers.

Why it matters: Critics of the company in Congress and the media are piling on Facebook and framing this story as "Cambridge Analytica II." But industry insiders are questioning the import of the new revelations, since device makers are a unique and trusted class of "third party" data users — and also since there's no evidence of actual misuse of data this time around.

Be smart: Interoperability is what makes tech products and apps work. Facebook argues that the data access it afforded hardware partners allowed them to "recreate Facebook-like experiences" on their devices. In other words: This was simple software integration, not nefarious data poaching.

Yes, but: Facebook is already winding down the partner programs under which these data integration efforts operated — so they couldn't have been that essential.

The FTC angle:

  • The Times story also suggested that Facebook's data sharing with device makers may have violated the company's 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), ranking minority member of the House energy and commerce committee, has called on the FTC to review the question.
  • The agency is already reviewing Facebook’s actions in the Cambridge Analytica scandal after allegations that it violated the consent decree.

The bottom line: Everything Facebook does with data is now coming under a microscope, and instead of getting out ahead of this story, the company just allowed itself to take another black eye.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 31,605,656 — Total deaths: 970,934 Total recoveries: 21,747,491Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,897,432 — Total deaths: 200,814 — Total recoveries: 2,646,959 — Total tests: 96,612,436Map.
  3. Health: The U.S. reaches 200,000 coronavirus deaths — The CDC's crumbling reputation — America turns against coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Politics: Elected officials are failing us on much-needed stimulus.
  5. Business: Two-thirds of business leaders think pandemic will lead to permanent changes — Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus.
  6. Sports: NFL fines maskless coaches.

Trump pushes to expand ban against anti-racism training to federal contractors

Trump speaking at Moon Township, Penns., on Sept. 22. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced late Tuesday that the White House attempt to halt federal agencies' anti-racism training would be expanded to block federal contractors from "promoting radical ideologies that divide Americans by race or sex."

Why it matters: The executive order appears to give the government the ability to cancel contracts if anti-racist or diversity trainings focused on sexual identity or gender are organized. The memo applies to executive departments and agencies, the U.S. military, federal contractors and federal grant recipients.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

House Democrats and Trump admin strike deal to avert government shutdown

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

The House on Tuesday passed legislation to fund the government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 359-57.

Why it matters: The bill will avert a government shutdown when funding expires in eight days. Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said earlier that they hoped to hold a vote on the legislation on Tuesday evening.

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