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Axios / Rebecca Zisser

China announced Friday that it's investigating its own tech companies, like Tencent and Baidu, for giving users an avenue to spread violence and terror. The announcement follows government campaigns earlier this year in the UK, France and Germany that intend to place legal liability on tech companies for failing to control the presence of terrorist-related content on their platforms.

  • Why it matters in general: U.S. regulators have largely remained silent when it comes to policing the role of tech giants in distributing terrorist content, leaving the companies to police themselves in accordance to their own standards.
  • Why it matters now: In the past, tech companies have reacted to crises in a uniform fashion, but the attack in Charlottesville shows a a split. Some sites, like Google and GoDaddy, announced Monday that they would cut ties to a white nationalist website, while others have yet to comment. Neither Facebook nor Twitter updated their policies in response to the attack, although both groups do already have policies about violence.

The Facebook issue: Critics argue that Facebook didn't do enough to prevent the attack, as the marches had apparently been organized through Facebook (see the image below). In a statement, Facebook tells Axios it "does not allow hate speech or praise of terrorist acts or hate crimes, and [it's] actively removing any posts that glorify the horrendous act committed in Charlottesville."

Sound smart: Facebook's business model is built around scale. It's corporate vision is based on inclusivity of all voices and perspectives. These goals are directly challenged when the company filters out content or restricts user privileges.

Facebook says it uses both technology and people to determine whether users take advantage of that openness with posts that glorify violence, or otherwise violate their community standards. In this case, the tech company didn't find that the event that brought together the Charlottesville rally violated community standards until the weekend of the event. Posts related to the "Daily Stormer" website Google and GoDaddy have disassociated with have mostly been removed by Facebook.

Go deeper

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.

Far-right figure "Baked Alaska" arrested for involvement in Capitol siege

Photo: Shay Horse/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The FBI arrested far-right media figure Tim Gionet, known as "Baked Alaska," on Saturday for his involvement in last week's Capitol riot, according to a statement of facts filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

The state of play: Gionet was arrested in Houston on charges related to disorderly or disruptive conduct on the Capitol grounds or in any of the Capitol buildings with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of a session, per AP.

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