Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Representatives from eight leading tech companies met last month with federal officials at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park to discuss ways to protect November's midterm elections, according to a New York Times report.

Why it matters: The companies at the meeting were a roster of industry power, including Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Two of them, Facebook and Twitter, have faced particularly strong criticism for failing to limit the spread of misinformation on their platforms during the 2016 presidential election.

What happened: According to the Times story, the meeting was "tense," the companies did not receive much guidance or information from the government officials, and one company representative felt the industry was being left "on their own to counter election interference."

Correction: The second paragraph has been rewritten to distinguish which companies have been criticized for not policing misinformation on their platforms.

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The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Federal judge rules Trump administration can't end census early

Census workers outside Lincoln Center in New York. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled late Thursday that the Trump administration could not end the 2020 census a month early.

Why it matters: The decision states that an early end — on Sept. 30, instead of Oct. 31 — would likely produce inaccuracies and thus impact political representation and government funding around the country.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

Where bringing students back to school is most risky

Data: Coders Against COVID; Note: Rhode Island and Puerto Rico did not meet minimum testing thresholds for analysis. Values may not add to 100% due to rounding; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Schools in Southern and Midwestern states are most at risk of coronavirus transmission, according to an analysis by Coders Against COVID that uses risk indicators developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Thankfully, schools have not yet become coronavirus hotspots, the Washington Post reported this week, and rates of infection are lower than in the surrounding communities. But that doesn't mean schools are in the clear, especially heading into winter.

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