Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Screenshot from ChangeTheTerms.org

Although hate continues to flourish on social media, experts say the situation is not hopeless. Among the recommendations are allowing broader reporting of hate speech, offering a similar reporting system across different social networks, and putting content moderation on par with finding bugs in code.

What they're saying: "It’s common for a bounty to be paid for reporting code issues to a company — companies should do the same with content moderation," Newhouse School of Public Communications professor Jennifer Grygiel tells Axios. "The public, researchers, experts etc. should be paid for reporting content that violates Twitter’s community guidelines."

Driving the news: After finding a number of years-old anti-Semitic posts on Twitter, Grygiel spent the weekend reporting them to Twitter.

"I logged on to Twitter to monitor hate speech after the word “jews” trended on Twitter — I was concerned that Twitter was not prepared to address this issue. I was expecting new threats to come in — I was not expecting to find violent threats that were years old. Twitter touts AI and machine learning, yet they have not found the most basic of violent threats and hate speech that have been on the platform for years."

A report last week offered some additional recommendations for how internet companies should change their terms of service to deal with hate speech.

  • The recommendations, made by a coalition of civil rights groups, offered model terms of service that also include mechanisms for transparency, training, and enforcement as well as a right to appeal any punitive measures taken.
  • Specifically, the coalition recommends sites prohibit “hateful activity,” which it defines as “activities that incite or engage in violence, intimidation, harassment, threats, or defamation targeting an individual or group based on their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.”

Our thought bubble: Tightening the standards is one piece of the puzzle. But just as important is the fact that social media companies need to develop the capacity to actually enforce such policies.

  • Though Twitter is often criticized for failing to enforce its terms of service, it isn't alone. A New York Times piece yesterday noted how Instagram, too, is allowing hate-filled hashtags to spread.

The bottom line: Tech companies show an incredible ability to adapt their algorithms to boost engagement and profits. They need to devote similar energy to creating algorithms that minimize hate and harassment — for their sake and for society's.

  • And if any companies need more help, they might want to look to Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson. Lawson wrote a powerful essay on what it means to be a leader in the current moment.
  • He wrote, "Even though we should cherish tolerance, we must reject and shun those ideas that violate our most basic principles."
  • Rather than throw up his hands, Lawson makes the case that it's all the more important for business leaders to stand up for American values at a time when they are under siege. The whole post is a must-read.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”