Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Twitter and Facebook announced Monday the takedown of coordinated misinformation campaigns from the Chinese government, the latest in a list of global regimes caught using social media to exploit their own people, spread propaganda or retain power.

Why it matters: While mostly Western leaders around the globe push to hold social media companies accountable for large-scale misinformation campaigns, autocratic regimes have become increasingly reliant on social media technologies.

  • Russia: Facebook found 2 Russian-backed misinformation campaigns earlier this year targeted at users in Eastern Europe, including Russia, along with Central Asia.
  • Myanmar: Facebook admitted last year that its platform was used by Myanmar military officials to systemically target a mostly Muslim Rohingya minority.

The big picture: There was a longtime narrative that social media and cyber manipulation was caused by everyday hackers who sought to disrupt society, but increasingly, tech companies and law enforcement are finding that there are more abuse cases by governments than rogue actors.

What's next: After uncovering the Chinese efforts Monday, Twitter said it will no longer accept advertising from from "state-controlled news media entities."

Flashback: Last year, Jennifer Grygiel, an assistant professor at the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse, found that U.S. government-backed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which typically broadcasts abroad, bought ads on Facebook targeted at users in the US.

Go deeper: How online propaganda weaponized social media

Go deeper

21 mins ago - World

Scoop: Secret Israel-Sudan contacts paved the way for deal sealed by Trump

Trump on the phone with the leaders of Sudan and Israel. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty

While the U.S. officially brokered the Israel-Sudan normalization deal, it was Israel that facilitated talks between the U.S. and Sudan on the broader deal that included Sudan’s removal from America’s state sponsors of terrorism list.

Why it matters: Israel’s secret contacts with Sudanese officials paved the way for a deal that was nearly a year in the making.

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests, Trump's testing czar saysMask mandates help control the rise in hospitalizations.
  3. Business: Surge is sinking consumer confidence Testing is a windfall.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. World: Putin mandates face masks.
45 mins ago - Health

Trump's testing czar: COVID surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests

Assistant Secretary of Health Adm. Brett Giroir, who leads the federal government's coronavirus testing response, pushed back on Wednesday against President Trump's continued claims that rising coronavirus cases are a product of increased testing.

The big picture: Every available piece of data shows that the pandemic is getting worse again across the country. Hospitalizations are on the rise — and some hospitals are warning that they could soon be overwhelmed — while 13 states set new highs last week for coronavirus infections recorded in a single day.