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Snapchat announced today it's allowing users to create their own Stories and select who can contribute to and view them — and they can even use geofencing to designate certain locations where users can upload their content to the Story. This allows users to create custom audiences for these Stories, which the company suggests using for birthday parties, weddings, etc. The custom Story disappears if no one has contributed to it in the past 24 hours.

On the same day, Instagram announced it's adding location-based stories that will appear at the top of your feed, similar to a feature Snapchat launched years ago. Different from Snapchat, Instagram also announced the ability to search for stories by hashtag.

Why it matters: The horserace for user retention through camera innovations between Instagram and Snapchat hasn't let up. Since adopting Snapchat's "Stories" feature, Instagram has been able to put a significant dent in Snapchat's growth. Both companies are focusing their efforts on "camera innovations," like editing posts and filtering them in unique ways, because their distribution models are nearly identical.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

Early voting eclipses 2016 total with 12 days until election

People stand in line to vote early in Fairfax, Virginia in September. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Americans have cast more than 47.1 million ballots in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the total early-vote count for 2016 with 12 days left until Election Day, according to a Washington Post analysis of voting data.

Why it matters: The election is already underway, as many states have expanded early and mail-in voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.

What to expect from the final debate of the 2020 election

Trump and Biden at the first debate. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Image

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.