Platforms including Reddit, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have been playing host to a baseless conspiracy theory that picked up steam over the weekend claiming that furniture e-tailer Wayfair is a front for human trafficking.
Why it matters: The claims caught fire among QAnon, the online group that believes President Trump is fighting a secret war against deep-state pedophiles. Since beginning in 2017, QAnon has moved slowly toward mainstream notice, and a number of supporters of the fringe belief system are now running for Congress.
Facebook announced Wednesday it removed nearly 100 social media accounts and pages with links to Trump associate Roger Stone and the Proud Boys, a far-right group, for posting misinformation.
Why it matters: Facebook began looking into the accounts as part of an investigation into the Proud Boys' attempt to return to Facebook following a 2018 ban. The accounts posed as Florida residents and shared misinformation about local politics, land and water resource bills as well as misinformation about Stone's trial, books and media appearances.
Prominent environmentalists and Democratic activists say Facebook is "allowing the spread of climate misinformation to flourish, unchecked" and urging the company's external oversight board to intervene.
Driving the news: A new open letter with signatories including Stacey Abrams, John Podesta and Tom Steyer takes aim at distribution of content from a group called the CO2 Coalition without warning labels or restrictions.
Microsoft suspended its advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the U.S. in May and recently expanded that to a global pause, according to an internal chat transcript seen by Axios.
Between the lines: Unlike the many advertisers who recently joined a Facebook boycott, Microsoft is concerned about where its ads are shown, not Facebook's policies. But the move still means yet another big advertiser is not spending on Facebook right now.
Twitter labeled a video posted by President Trump of a black toddler and a white toddler — edited with a fake chyron that read "terrified todler runs from racist baby" — as "manipulated media" on Thursday night.
Why it matters, via Axios' Ina Fried: Although Twitter's label on the tweet is weaker than two other recent moves, it is sure to irk the president, who has already criticized Twitter and issued an executive order seeking to limit the legal shield protecting social media companies.
Facebook has taken down an ad from the Trump campaign that went after antifa and leftist groups with a prominent display of an inverted red triangle in a black outline, a symbol the Nazis used for political dissenters.
Why it matters: Facebook has given politicians and campaigns wide latitude in what they say on its platform, but this appears to have been a step too far.
Ahead of a House Intelligence Committee virtual hearing with Facebook, Google and Twitter on Thursday, committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) tells Axios that he worries the president's attacks on Twitter and other tech companies could complicate Congress' and the intelligence community's efforts to learn more about election interference.
Driving the news: Schiff says the president's criticism "certainly heightens the concerns of the social media companies and how they interact with the Congress and with the Administration which threaten to make it more difficult to get information from them. I hope it won't have that impact."
The fast-moving world of Twitter has become the nerve center of the American news cycle — as evidenced by record-breaking downloads and engagement for the service last week.
Why it matters: Twitter is our mediaverse's grand interface between journalism and social media. While news organizations play a central role in sharing links to their coverage on Twitter, much of the visual content shared in real time during breaking news events like protests is shared by everyday users.
A new ad campaign is using CEO Mark Zuckerberg's own words to encourage Facebook employees to push their company to do a better job of keeping harmful content off its platforms.
What's happening: The targeted ads went live today on Facebook and come from newly launched Accountable Tech, which is spending "five figures" on the effort, Axios has learned. The campaign follows yesterday's employee walkout and rising internal dissent over Facebook's handling of President Trump's tweets.