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Andrew Harnik / AP

Kristina Schake, who served as communications chief for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and who was also communications chief for First Lady Michelle Obama, is joining Instagram. Schake is replacing David Swain, current head of communications who has been working at Facebook for a decade.

She will build Instagram's brand: Per ReCode, building Instagram's brand will be one of her main focuses. Instagram boasts 600 million users right now and is working to expand its advertising arm. The good news is Schake has some experience with branding: she encouraged Michelle Obama's dance with Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show" and had her shop "undercover" at Target.

Why we're watching: Schake is joining Instagram at a crucial and fast-growing time for the company as it competes head-to-head with rival Snapchat for the coveted younger set.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).

DHS warns of "heightened threat" because of domestic extremism

Supporters of former President Trump protest inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued an advisory warning of a "heightened threat environment" in the U.S. because of "ideologically-motivated violent extremists."

Why it matters: DHS believes the threat of violence will persist for "weeks" following President Biden's inauguration. The extremists include those who opposed the presidential transition, people spurred by "grievances fueled by false narratives" and "anger over COVID-19 restrictions ... and police use of force[.]"