Photo: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

A group of women sued Salesforce this week on the grounds that the company allegedly worked with Backpage.com, a classified ad site whose founders were indicted last year on charges of facilitating prostitution.

Why it matters: There's been lots of talk about what the liability is for platforms that facilitate trafficking and other crimes. This is a different kind of case because Salesforce isn't a platform itself, but a vendor.

Details: The plaintiffs in the case, filed in California state court, are making negligence, trafficking and conspiracy claims against the enterprise software giant, citing services Salesforce allegedly provided to Backpage.

  • “In public, including on Twitter, Salesforce boasted about fighting human trafficking using its data tools,” the lawsuit says. “But behind close doors, Salesforce’s data tools were actually providing the backbone of Backpage’s exponential growth.”
  • The suit was filed on behalf of 50 anonymous women who, the suit alleges, were "sexually exploited through the use of Backpage.”

What they're saying: "We are deeply committed to the ethical and humane use of our products and take these allegations seriously; however we don’t comment on pending litigation," said Salesforce in a statement.

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Amy Harder, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes. A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.

Biden to Trump: "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life"

Former VP Joe Biden pushed back Thursday against allegations from President Trump, saying he had never profited from foreign sources. "Nothing was unethical," Biden told debate moderator Kristen Welker about his son Hunter's work in Ukraine while he was vice president.

Why it matters: Earlier on Thursday, Hunter Biden's former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, released a statement saying Joe Biden's claims that he never discussed overseas business dealings with his son were "false."