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Twitter removes tweet from Trump's COVID adviser claiming masks do not work

Twitter took down a tweet from one of President Trump's most visible coronavirus task force members, Scott Atlas, that claimed that widespread use of face masks do not help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Why it matters: Atlas — who is a radiologist, not an epidemiologist — has become of the president's favorite coronavirus advisers, despite his controversial views. Atlas has falsely claimed that "herd immunity" can be achieved with 20% to 25% of the population infected, and suggested that calls for widespread testing and tracing are "grossly misguided.”


The big picture: Atlas' tweet marks yet another example of the Trump administration sharing false or misleading information about COVID-19 as cases continue to spike across the country. Twitter told CNN the tweet was in violation of the company's misleading information policy around COVID-19 that could lead to harm.

  • The company has flagged and limited the sharing of several of Trump's misleading tweets around the coronavirus.
  • Atlas linked to an article from the American Enterprise Institute that questioned the effectiveness of masks.

The bottom line: Ten statesreported their highest number of coronavirus cases on Friday, and the country as a whole reported 70,000 new infections for the first time since July.

Go deeper: Check out Axios' coronavirus dashboard.

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Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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