Feb 8, 2021

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 385 words, a 2-minute read.

⚡️ Tesla bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and will begin accepting the cryptocurrency as payment for products. Go deeper.

1 big thing: Facebook targets anti-vaxxers

Photo illustration: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook is about to use its election disinformation playbook against vaccine misinformation, Axios' Margaret Harding McGill and Sara Fischer report.

  • Why it matters: It's a partial reversal for Mark Zuckerberg, who said in September that the company wouldn't target anti-vaccination posts the same way it has aggressively cracked down on COVID misinformation.

Now the company is doing four things to crack down on COVID/vaccine posts:

  1. Removing misleading posts and pages: Posts of debunked claims about the vaccines face removal, as do groups, pages and accounts on Facebook and Instagram that repeatedly share debunked claims.
  2. Returning validated vaccine info when users search on debunked claims.
  3. Adding resources on how to get vaccinated.
  4. Giving $120 million in ad credits to help health agencies, nonprofits and UN agencies reach billions of people.

Between the lines: Facebook provided a lengthy list of false claims that can get posts or pages removed, including:

  • "[T]he COVID vaccine will kill you" ... "the COVID vaccine contains a microchip" ... "the COVID vaccine provides no immunity" ... "the COVID vaccine causes autism!"
2. Stunning graphic: Big Tech gets bigger
Source: FactSet. Graphic: Kara Dapena/The Wall Street Journal. Used by kind permission

The pandemic has made tech-industry titans — some of the largest companies in history — much bigger, The Wall Street Journal calculates (subscription):

  • Over the past year, the combined revenue of the five biggest U.S. tech companies grew by a fifth (to $1.1 trillion), their aggregate profit rose by 24%, and their combined market cap soared by half (to $8 trillion).
3. Catch up quick

Gisele Bündchen, Tom Brady's wife, celebrates with their kids, Vivian and Benjamin. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

  1. CBO analysis: The $15 federal minimum wage bill proposed by Democrats would cut jobs for 1.4 million workers by 2025 and lift 900,000 out of poverty. Go deeper.
  2. Rep. Ron Wright (R-Texas), 67, became the first member of Congress to die from COVID.
  3. 🎧 Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into Clubhouse, with Katie Stanton, an early Clubhouse investor whose résumé includes time at Twitter, Google and the Obama White House. Listen here.
4. 1 smile to go: Female coaches win Super Bowl

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Maral Javadifar works with defensive end Ndamukong Suh in 2019. Photo: Mary Holt/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Bucs' Maral Javadifar and Lori Locust were the first female coaches for a team that won the Super Bowl, AP notes.

  • Javadifar is an assistant strength and conditioning coach, and Locust is an assistant defensive line coach.

The bottom line: "If you can teach, you can coach," head coach Bruce Arians said last week.

  • "As far as the women, it was time. It was time for that door to be knocked down and allow them because they’ve been putting in time, and they’re very, very qualified."