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Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) Photo: Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images

A group of Democratic senators says Facebook needs to better enforce its hate speech policies on anti-Muslim posts.

Why it matters: Facebook is under pressure from a range of groups and politicians on both the left and right who feel mistreated by the social network.

The group, led by Sen. Chris Coons, plans to send a six-page letter to Facebook today expressing "deep concern" and asking the social network to commit to better auditing and internal monitoring of its practices.

Driving the news: The letter, seen by Axios, cites some progress from Facebook, including a recently completed civil rights audit, but notes that the company "has not yet publicly studied or acknowledged the particular ways anti-Muslim bigotry manifests on its platform."

  • The letter has more than a dozen signatories, including Coons, Richard Blumenthal, Dick Durbin, Mark Warner, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren.

Go deeper

Nov 19, 2020 - Technology

Facebook says very few people actually see hate speech on its platform

Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook said it took action on 22.1 million pieces of hate speech content to its platform globally last quarter and about 6.5 million pieces of hate speech content on Instagram. On both platforms, it says about 95% of that hate speech was proactively identified and stopped by artificial intelligence.

Details: In total, the company says that there are 10–11 views of hate speech for every 10,000 views of content uploaded to the site globally — or .1%. It calls this metric — how much problematic content it doesn't catch compared to how much is reported and removed — "prevalence."

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

New deals in the COVID economy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 is the macro horror of our lifetimes, and has destroyed or severely damaged countless businesses. But, like with most horribles, it also has created some opportunities.

Driving the news: Merck this morning announced an agreement to buy OncoImmune, a Maryland-based biotech that showed promising late-stage clinical results for a therapy that treats severe and critical coronavirus cases.

3 hours ago - Technology

Biden's openings for tech progress

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images 

Item No. 1 on President-elect Joe Biden's day-one tech agenda, controlling the flood of misinformation online, offers no fast fixes — but other tech issues facing the new administration hold out opportunities for quick action and concrete progress.

What to watch: Closing the digital divide will be a high priority, as the pandemic has exposed how many Americans still lack reliable in-home internet connections and the devices needed to work and learn remotely.