May 4, 2019

Trump retweets far-right extremist banned from Facebook, Instagram

Trump at the 2019 National Day of Prayer. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Trump retweeted far-right internet personality Paul Joseph Watson on Saturday, who was banned from Instagram and Facebook this week for spreading "dangerous" extremist rhetoric and violating hate speech policies.

Why it matters: Real-world hate crimes are putting pressure on Facebook and other platforms to crack down on pages and accounts that have repeatedly shared false information or hate speech. The president is expressing support for one of these extremist internet personalities through retweets.

What we're watching: On Friday, Trump announced he would continue to "monitor the censorship of American citizens on social media platforms," 1 day after Facebook and Instagram banned some extremist personalities.

Details: Trump also retweeted a video from a conspiracy Twitter account on Saturday that shows an interview clip of a man saying "conquering America" is part of the Muslim faith.

  • Recent instances of online hate speech frequently involve Islamophobia.
  • The Trump administration is working to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization, a move some experts say would put increased pressure on Muslims in the U.S. According to Ned Price, a former CIA officer and former National Security Council official: "The 'vast majority' of branches of the Muslim Brotherhood — which was founded in 1928 in Egypt and now operates in many countries — do not espouse violence," NBC News reports.

Go deeper: Trump retweets anti-Islam videos from far-right British politician

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Data: NHL; Table: Axios Visuals

The NHL unveiled its return-to-play plan on Tuesday, formally announcing that 24 of its 31 teams will return for a playoff tournament in two hub cities, if and when medically cleared.

Why it matters: Hockey is the first major North American sports league to sketch out its plans to return from a coronavirus-driven hiatus in such detail, and it's also the first one to officially pull the plug on its regular season, which will trigger ticket refunds.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Americans are behaving very differently than they have in previous recessions — convinced that the coronavirus pandemic will soon pass, many continue to spend money as if nothing has changed.

Driving the news: The latest example of this trend is the Commerce Department's new home sales report, which showed home sales increased in April despite nationwide lockdowns that banned real estate agents in some states from even showing listed houses.

"Close them down": Trump threatens action against social media platforms

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump threatened to shut down or regulate social media platforms due to anti-conservative bias in a pair of Wednesday tweets — the day after Twitter's first fact-check against the president's claims on its platform.

Reality check: While his claim that social media companies target conservatives isn't new, an Axios analysis last year found that stories about the 2020 presidential election that drove the most engagement online often came from right-wing media outlets.